Russian HSE Advisor specialising in Site Transport Safety on a large construction site in south west Russia.
The Senior H&S Manager for the site came with a problem regarding one of his H&S Advisors. The Advisor in question was a highly experienced road safety expert. The problem described was that the Advisor continually overstepped his authority in the performance of his role, often hijacking work teams from other jobs in order to complete the tasks he considered to be higher priority without communicating or seeking prior permission. His behaviours were causing serious concern and negative reaction from the Site Construction Manager and the Principal Contactors to the extent that they wanted him removed from his position immediately. In an attempt to prevent his expulsion from the site, his superior, the Senior H&S Manager for the site, suggested coaching as a last resort before firing him to see if anything could be done (the Senior H&S Manager for the site had considerable respect for the Advisor and his abilities, considered him a valuable member of the team and did not want him removed despite the pressure being applied). A coaching session was duly arranged.
During the coaching session the HSE Advisor was able to identify the source of the problem for himself. He identified a serious personal dilemma that his own sen
Lawyer at nationally recognised law firm.
se of responsibility resulted in personal expectations of himself that far exceeded his superiors’ expectations. i.e. if he satisfies his superiors he himself feels dissatisfied and frustrated, if he satisfies himself he gets into trouble with his superiors. The HSE Advisor was used to taking direct action when he identified issues on his previous projects, something his superiors on those projects encouraged. However, on this project he was merely expected to advise and allow others to act. When they did not act the HSE Advisor’s natural instinct was to take the initiative and this led to the difficulties described above.
Next, solutions were discussed. Again, the coaching encouraged the Advisor to generate his own possibilities and solutions. After much discussion the Advisor felt the best approach would be to explain the dilemma to his superiors, including his direct Line Manager, the Site Construction Manager and Principal Contactor Management. Then, to request a small dedicated team from the Principal Contractors along with appropriate equipment that he could direct and that would allow him to resolve road safety issues on the site without hijacking important resources from other tasks on the site.
These actions were taken immediately after the meeting. The result was that the HSE Advisor remained in his position until the completion of the project and road safety on the site improved.
At the start of coaching the Lawyer described three issues he would like to be coached on, briefly summarised below
- Improvement in his time recording.
- An unpopular project he had been assigned to regarding ‘sales’ at the law firm he worked for.
- His desire to start his own business in an area of expertise that he specialises in.
His first instinct was to be coached on the time recording issue as he thought this would be easiest. However, when asked which topic he would be most interested in discussing he suggested his desire to start his own business was the most interesting topic, although he considered it to be the most difficult to take on.
The first coaching session concentrated on describing the business opportunity in general terms and identifying potential obstacles such as the need for the Lawyer to leave his current position at the nationally recognised law firm and also finding resources to perform research for him that would provide his new business with a sound basis from which to operate.
The second session provided a clear breakthrough. A simple question was asked at the start of the session i.e. ‘what thoughts have you had about the topic since our last session?’ The Lawyer then spent the next 45 minutes outlining his business plan at the end of which the coach asked ‘so what’s stopping you?’ The lawyer responded that he couldn’t think of anything stopping him so the coach asked ‘well, when will you start?’ and the lawyer responded ‘tomorrow’.
Subsequently the lawyer started up his own business and it was so successful that he has since started up two further successful businesses. When asked what difference the coaching had made for him he said ‘it allowed me to talk myself into what I needed to do and have the courage to do it’.
Project Co-ordinator dissatisfied with her current role at medium sized global consultancy.
Initially the topic and goals proved quite difficult to define. The project co-ordinator felt she was not filling her potential in the role she was currently performing but could not see a way forward in the role to do so. In addition, she was finding it difficult to define what she really wanted to do.
The first couple of coaching sessions explored these issues more deeply and helped the project co-ordinator become clearer on what she felt her full potential and her dream job would look like. It also helped her define such things as timings, how it would fit in with her plans for her personal life and ensure she made good decisions about her future career.
The next session explored whether she could achieve her vision within the organisation she currently worked for. Although some short term measures were agreed that stretched her sufficiently to satisfy her need to further fulfil her potential it was clear that the current organisation did not have the flexibility or possibilities to satisfy her needs longer term.
The final sessions really concentrated on the project co-ordinator creating a more detailed specification for the job role that would truly satisfy her, identifying what sort of companies would provide the opportunities she was looking for and creating a strategy to make her vision a reality.
Subsequent to the coaching, the project co-ordinator was offered and accepted a role as a project manager at a high profile organisation in the aviation industry. Her career there over the last 4 years has progressed with her gaining several promotions and she feels she is now living up to her true potential. She has also since got married.
An independent Communications Specialist working in the engineering industry with a desire to grow her business.
The Communications Specialist had recently become independent, having worked for several high profile media businesses as both a journalist and reporter. Her business so far had performed quite well and she had a good volume of work providing communications for a number of large engineering companies.
However, she felt she had plateaued and wanted to find a way to increase the revenue generated by her business.
The initial coaching sessions identified six areas of interest that the Communications Specialist felt were the vital aspects of her business, namely:
- Positioning —–>Her services have a demand
- Perception of good
When the coach asked the Communications Specialist which particular aspect she was most interested in discussing she chose ‘positioning’ as she felt this particular subject was the one she was most stuck on and didn’t feel she could move forward until she understood more about it.
The Communications Specialist went on to describe what she meant by positioning. She was struggling to give her business an identity which would allow potential clients to understand what she offered. She wanted to create herself a ‘position’ in her market that would generate new and more lucrative business and utilise all her skills as a communications specialist.
In order to help the Communications Specialist to better define what services she actually supplies to her clients the coach asked her ‘what do you actually do for you clients’. Her answer provided a light bulb moment, she replied ‘I help my clients position themselves in their markets’. She immediately realised that the main service she provides for her clients is exactly what she was asking for herself.
The subsequent coaching sessions built on this revelation, allowed her to create an identity for her business and generate marketing literature that clearly identified what her business offered potential clients. It also helped define strategies to address each of the other five important drivers in her business (mentioned above).
Over the last three years her business has grown on average 30% a year.
A Business Coach wishing to extend her reach, improve her own performance as a coach and create a more professional business model.
This Business Coach was already working with a number of clients successfully. However, several of the clients were proving to be troublesome, particularly around payments for services and also expecting free coaching over the phone at regular and often inconvenient times.
At the first coaching session, after an initial discussion about the general topic, an underlying issue came to light. At the time the Business Coach was also training to be a psychotherapist. This was the second time she had undertaken the training. She had given up the first time as she had not enjoyed the course and had not got on with the tutors or other course participants and it had generated a degree of stress for her.
As a result she had decided to train as a business coach. She enjoyed and successfully completed the training, becoming qualified and starting her practice.
She then decided she would try to start her psychotherapy course again. However she was, as previously, not enjoying it and the experience was starting to create significant stress. The coach asked whether this was having any impact on the Business Coach’s coaching practice. After some reflection the Business Coach admitted that the stress was not only causing her to lose focus on her business coaching practice but was also causing some personal problems at home. The coach asked whether she really wanted to become a psychotherapist. The Business Coach admitted that she did not and was trying to complete the psychotherapy course because she hated giving up on ventures she had started.
The coach challenged the Business Coach to reflect on her decision to attempt a second time to become a psychotherapist when she so clearly didn’t want to be a psychotherapist and the training was causing stress and affecting both her home life and her business.
This cleared the way for the Business Coach to cease her psychotherapist training and focus on her business coaching practice. The stress levels reduced immediately the decision was made.
Longer term she was able to focus more on creating a professional coaching contracting process that eliminated the problems she had experienced previously with clients. It also allowed her to put her developmental efforts into enhancing her skills further as a coach.