Here you’ll see stories about the challenges some my clients faced, and how coaching helped resolve them.
As people advance in their work, their existing skills need to become more nuanced and they need new skills as well. Many of my clients use coaching to assist them in this learning process.
A fee-for-service financial adviser felt taken advantage of by clients who cancelled appointments at the last minute, came late and expected him to extend the length of the meeting, or presented him with urgent needs and expected him to provide intensive service on demand. He felt drained and resentful.
Part of his coaching work focused on developing more effective boundary-setting and boundary-strengthening behaviors. He learned to set clear and strong practices with clients from the start: about keeping appointments, being on time, about his availability, and so on. He made it clear what he expected of them and what they could and could not expect from him.
I helped him find the right language to do all this: clear, neutral, business-like language that didn’t make anyone wrong. He came to understand that feeling guilty here was not a sign of wrongdoing, and that he could “feel the guilt and do it anyway.” His clients responded well, the “bad behavior” largely disappeared, and he began to strengthen his boundaries in other parts of his life as well.
When people take on a greater scope of work, they must modify how they work and increase their efficiency. Coaching is a safe place to unpack the more challenging new demands, devise strategies for meeting those demands, and monitor new behaviors and progress.
A mission-driven pediatric oncologist doing clinical research was starting a new job at a prestigious hospital and medical school. As she stepped into the new role, she worried about getting up to speed quickly. She hired me to help her learn new skills quickly and replace her old “bad” work habits with better ones.
Her new role required her to be more assertive and visible, which she wanted to do “without being a jerk,” as she put it. She also needed to delegate more strategically and successfully, lead a larger and more diverse team than she’d worked with before, and figure out how to “lead and not just manage.” We worked on all of these.
Also, since her already complex work with many moving parts was about to get more complex, she needed an efficiency upgrade. We looked at the inefficiencies in her work habits. She addressed ineffective personal work patterns such as spending too much time making things perfect (obsessively word-smithing emails, for example), trying to please everyone, spinning her wheels, taking too long making decisions, and not having a clear strategic plan or simple, clear priorities.
She also used coaching meetings to talk through and solve some bottlenecks and redundancies in her research design and operation. This included realizing that she needed a short list of peers she could talk things through with as they came up. She identified colleagues for this role, approached them, and enlisted their support.
Once she felt on top of the new job she continued working with me once a month for about 2 years. She used me to talk things through with, get support with challenges, get perspective, help her regularly get to 80,000 feet, acknowledge gains, and occasionally to vent.
A high-level technical person in her third year at a fast-growing startup had consistently taken on more and more responsibility without getting help, a promotion, or substantial raises. By the time she came to me for coaching, she was overwhelmed, exhausted, unable to manage her now-impossible job, and her self-esteem had tanked as a result.
Part of the reality check she got from me was that her once-manageable job had grown into a job that was unmanageable for any one person: it was not that she had become ineffective (which is what she had concluded).
I helped her document her responsibilities, make a business case for hiring more help in her area, and present it to her manager. Two people were hired to take over some of her work, she got a raise, a promotion, a more livable job, and her self-confidence back.
She came to see that she was a natural problem-solver who was capable of seeing the big picture and the micro picture, making her a valuable corporate resource. She saw for the first time that she had the potential to become a Chief Technical Officer at some point in her future.
Come clients use coaching to support them in finishing a stalled project or getting themselves out of paralysis and into consistent action on a priority. Here’s an example.
A professor hired me to help her get her book manuscript finished and out the door to an agent. The manuscript had languished for years and was a constant admonishment to her. She reached a point where she had to either finish it or forget about it. She finished it over the course of 6 months.
What made a difference for her and enabled her to finish? Many elements, including:
She came away not only with a manuscript out the door, but also increased self-awareness about what would support her the next time she wants to achieve a big goal
A mortgage broker worked with me to help her streamline her business and get enough help so that she could spend more time with her terminally ill mother. She was absolutely clear about her priorities at this time. We did exactly what she wanted: she hired another member of her team, she did some fine-tuning with the business flow to make it more efficient, and she cut back her hours.
She was able to spend a lot of high quality, non-stressed, very present time with her mother, who died about 6 months after we finished our work. She was grateful for the time she had with her.
A management consultant at a boutique firm longed to have more flexibility and time to spend with her adolescent children. She was tempted to start her own business, yet she had been with the company for a long time and had helped it grow and be successful.
It was a long and difficult decision for her, but in her own time and in her own way, she decided to leave the organization and start consulting on her own. This proved to be a good decision for her. Yes, at first she missed the steady paycheck, but she learned to ride the ups and downs of the business and became grateful to be her own boss.
If so, please consider giving me a call. During our initial no-charge 30-minute consultation, you'll get a sense of what it's like to work with me and figure out if you want to hire me or not.