Case studies

Leadership Coaching

Leadership Coaching

1.    My client

Mo, age 35, living in Surrey, working as a Service Manager with direct responsibility for three managers and overall responsibility for 75 staff, 100% of whom moved to remote working at the start of COVID-19 lockdown.  The client name has been changed to maintain coach/client confidentiality.

2.    The challenge my client was facing

As all staff were now remote working Mo wanted to make sure that everyone felt healthy, supported, connected and involved, whilst being more creative and productive than previously.  Mo had been given a clear directive from the organisation to increase output and find new streamlined ways of working and recognised that balancing the expectations of the organisation whilst being a compassionate leader would be challenging.

Mo’s manager had noticed that they were quiet in recent management meetings and had not met some project deadlines.  During a conversation in a one-to-one session, Mo admitted to feeling under pressure, and anxious about the mental health and wellbeing of the whole team. The manager suggested Leadership Coaching, directing them to the Human Resources Manager to make the arrangements.

3.    What we did

We had an initial 30-minute Starter Session online, during which Mo told me that they were unsure where to focus their energy to get the best results and make sure everyone was fully supported.

At the start of the first coaching session we discussed what being a compassionate leader meant to Mo, which naturally led to the challenges of managing remote teams. This helped us to identify an overall goal for the coaching and gave us our headline topics to work on.

We started by identifying what personal values were important to Mo by recognising what gets their attention, energises them and gets their commitment.  Using the results from that exercise, we considered the elements of compassionate leadership and how those relate to Mo’s values and where Mo saw areas for development.  Once we had identified Mo’s strengths as a leader, we mapped them against the organisation’s leadership framework, noting positive achievements and areas for improvement.

We then went on to identify the challenges of remote working. These challenges can include being productive, feeling connected to co-workers, health and wellbeing, finance, lost support networks (formal and informal), balancing home responsibilities (child care, home schooling, caring for elderly relatives), technology and confidence to use it, home arrangements and physical environment, individual needs and accessibility, induction, training,  mentoring and coaching.

Mo produced and updated an action plan for the challenges between each session and discussed the proposals with the three managers reporting to them to check viability and agree actions to encourage a culture of compassion.  Mo’s action plan included acknowledgement of their own stress triggers and emotional intelligence and plans to build resilience.

Mo and I worked over four 90 minute online coaching sessions, which were agreed by the Human Resources Manager, with flexibility up to six sessions if required.  I provided a 30-minute telephone support call between each session to support Mo with the actions they wanted to take.

4.    The results

By the end of the final session Mo had a view of leadership styles and how these fit with their own values and identity.  Mo and their management team had a clear, realistic action plan for working with the challenges of remote working, whilst being compassionate leaders.  They went on to use this to develop the service plan which included increasing output and finding new streamlined ways of working.

5.    What it meant to the client

Mo said: 

‘I think this is an excellent offer that everyone should take up’. ‘Really thoughtful style, engaged and excellent listener and able to very quickly pick up issues’.  ‘I’m more willing to try different approaches to my work and I’m delegating more instead of trying to do it all myself’

Find out more about leadership coaching – click here. 

Career Coaching

Career Coaching

1.    My client

Sam, age 43, living in East Sussex with her partner and two teenaged children, with 20 years of experience as a Customer Services Manager, currently working in contract roles as a Head of Customer Services.  The client name has been changed to maintain coach/client confidentiality.

2.    The challenge my client was facing

Sam approached me as her short-term contract was coming to an end and she was unsure whether to look for the same type of job again or to try a new direction.  She had been feeling incredibly stressed and out of control in her current contract, which had made her feel less confident about her abilities, which was making her quote lower rates for her work, despite being a very experienced manager with a successful track record.

3.    What we did

We had an initial 30 minute Starter Session on Skype, during which Sam told me how she felt stuck and wasn’t sure what direction to take and was worried about taking another role that wouldn’t give her time to enjoy with her friends and family.  I shared the benefits of Career Coaching with Sam, which include identifying what is important in life as well as in work, overcoming negative self-beliefs, identifying strengths and exploring career options for wellbeing and a good work-life balance.

At the start of the first coaching session we agreed a goal for the coaching, which gave us something to work towards.  We started with an exercise which helped Sam to describe what was important in her life and how she wanted her life to look in the future. I asked questions, based on what Sam was saying, to help her to clarify her thoughts and evaluate options.  We used guided conversation and practical tools to work through barriers and move Sam to a positive mindset, which meant that she was then able to identify her strengths and plan to build on them for the future.

Sam and I worked over five one-hour coaching sessions.  We initially agreed to three sessions, however after the second session Sam felt that it would be beneficial for her to be able to spend some time working through some of the things that were impacting negatively on her confidence, so we added a further two sessions to the total.  I provided a 30-minute telephone support call between each session to support Sam with the actions she wanted to take.

4.    The results

Once Sam was clear about her new direction and felt confident to go for it, she started to search for more senior roles in the same sector.  Sam took a short-term role to see how it worked with her home life and continues to work on short to medium term contracts that suit her improved wellbeing and work-life balance but also meet her financial needs.

5.    What it meant to the client

Sam said: 

‘I found being able to question my own thought process most useful.  I have so much more time, I’ve also felt the benefit in my home life’

Find out more about career coaching – click here

Life Coaching

Life Coaching

1.    My client

James, age 26, living in Brighton newly promoted to a Team Leader role with direct responsibility for six staff members.   The client name has been changed to maintain coach/client confidentiality.

2.    The challenge my client was facing

James was feeling stressed and unable to manage his new workload, he never had enough time.  He was working very long hours, felt anxious all the time and didn’t feel like having a social life.

3.    What we did

We had an initial 30 minute Starter Session on Zoom, during which James told me that he was feeling very stressed, was not finding time to see his friends and was worried about what the rest of the management team thought about him.  I reassured James that our sessions were a confidential, non-judgemental space where he could safely discuss diversity issues and any area of his life, for example mental health, relationships, family, money, work and identity.  James agreed to be open to trying new ways of thinking and prepared to take follow up action to make things happen between sessions.

At the start of the first coaching session I asked James to tell me more about his situation and the impact on him.  Together we identified an overall goal for coaching and some key topics James wanted to work on to enable him to reach that goal. For each topic I listened to James and asked questions based on what he was saying, which helped him to clarify the issue, break free from negative self-beliefs and focus his energy on positive strategies for managing anxiety and leading his team, including delegating, motivating and time management. James put his plans into action between coaching sessions and we discussed how it went at the following session, celebrating successes to boost positive self-belief. We used practical tools and action plans, which James was able to take away and revisit in the future.

James and I worked over three one-hour coaching sessions. I provided a 30-minute telephone support call between each session to support James with the actions he wanted to take.

4.    The results

Whilst reflecting on the practical application of his learning between sessions, James demonstrated much improved confidence in his personal and leadership identity and was starting to adapt leadership styles appropriately to work situations. James shared the practical stress and time management tools with his team so they could build resilience together.

5.    What it meant to the client

James said: 

‘I can be proud of who I am and face stressful situations a lot better.  Attitude (towards myself) has been the biggest influence on improvements’

Find out more about life coaching – click here