When a client sits down with me for our first coaching session I usually ask them what they are expecting. The answer is often the same “I’m not sure really, I’m hoping you can help me with . . .”
It can be a daunting experience starting a coaching journey, with someone you don’t know, when you’re not sure of the final destination, nor any of the stops on the way. There’s no guarantee that you’re going to get there, plus there’s sometimes that thought at the back of your head that goes ‘couldn’t I actually be getting on with some work? You know, real work.’
Hopefully these case studies will show you the sort of things we might tackle together and the huge benefits coaching can bring. Confidentiality is integral to our sessions so where appropriate I’ve changed the names in the examples below.
Case Study #1
Mike Jeffries, a Headteacher in Lancashire, wanted to improve his relationship with a governor. He found it very difficult to engage meaningfully as the governor always seemed to be a ‘closed shop’ and refused to interact. This negative relationship was beginning to sour meetings and reduce the effectiveness of the governing board.
We took the time to explore this relationship through a number of different perspectives. Through our work Mike had a moment of realisation; it became apparent to him that this governor was acting in an abrasive manner because he was actually afraid of the head. Mike suddenly realised that the governor felt intellectually challenged and so reacted defensively. This understanding was a revelation to Mike and explained why the governor would put up his barriers.
With this new found perspective I then coached Mike further, focusing on this. We searched for new opportunities to re-establish the relationship using methods that were under my client’s control. During this final part of the session I shared some rapport building techniques with Mike and ways to manage his emotions.
Three weeks later Mike called me with some great news. He explained that with a few simple changes in his own approach towards the governor, things had turned around, quickly and easily. With a new and insightful perspective and a minimum amount of effort, their relationship was now strong and productive. Mike said it was as if they had been working well together for years.
Case Study #2
Jane Spears is an assistant head at a Primary School in Kent. In her role she needed to represent the school and speak at an increasing number of public events. The problem was she was absolutely terrified of public speaking and felt physically sick in the days leading up to an event. The worry she felt leading up to an event was taking its toll and starting to affect her health.
In our coaching sessions we worked on a number of aspects together. We looked at how she interpreted speaking events and what she had decided they meant to her. We considered her physical approach to public speaking and whether that hindered or helped. We explored how she was able to ‘present’ to a class of thirty children, with not even a minor concern, but felt that she fell to pieces when delivering to her peers.
Using information she’d given to me I was able to share with Jane a number of different strategies that she could implement to improve her approach, delivery and post event response. The techniques ranged from positive psychology, NLP and straightforward presenting tips, and using them together Jane was able to change how she felt about public speaking completely. Jane no longer suffers from the nervous anxiety and health sapping worries that used to precede every speaking event.
A year after we worked together I received this testimonial from Jane; “One of my areas of difficulty was public speaking and through Iain’s coaching he has given me confidence. I am now leading INSET days at school. I gave a presentation to other colleagues about my role as SENCo and the way I work with recording the children’s interventions. You wouldn’t believe it but this year I was the key note speaker in Cyprus speaking on visual support in school!”
From quaking in her boots to confident international keynote speaker in the space of one year!
Case Study #3
Matthew Constable is a fast moving and driven principal of a large academy in North London. He is a whirlwind character, thinking and acting quickly. This is his style of working and it suits him just fine but he was beginning to feel that he could never turn off. Aware of potential stress issues he came to me to find a way to ‘switch off’ that would not negatively impact his work at school.
During our session it transpired that Matthew was a keen artist but that he’d laid down his brushes in order to focus on his career. He felt that taking time to paint again could be just the thing to help him ‘step back’ and clear his head, but he also felt there was no way he could justify taking the time to do it.
In our session we spent time looking at the problem from different angles. What would taking up painting again do for Matthew? Who else might it affect? What were the benefits? What were the disadvantages?
Spending time to unpick the different elements helped Matthew to re-evaluate the benefits and put the disadvantages into context. He came to the conclusion that being able to find the time to paint would make him more relaxed and centred. This would have a beneficial impact that he had not fully considered, an impact that could ripple far and wide.
He recognised that by making the time to paint he would become, in his words "a better person", in a number of different ways; for his family, his students, his staff and his friends. We also considered what he might become if he continued to avoid it and Matthew felt that he could easily become resentful, frustrated and unfulfilled.
In order to help others most effectively Matthew came to the conclusion that he actually had a duty to paint. This was a revelation – a lightbulb moment. By picking up his paintbrushes and easel he would be a better principal.
We then spent time working out how he could best achieve that goal and now once a week at 6pm Matthew heads down to the art department and spends two hours painting – sometimes on the roof of the school!
Meeting with me, once a month as part of an ongoing programme, allows him to ensure he stays on track with his aims and that his actions are aligned with his values.
Ready To Book Your Coaching Sessions?
To book your coaching sessions or to find out more call Iain on 07515 985935 or email me here. Time allocated for coaching is limited so call now to ensure availability.