Example Case Stories by Sue Mitchell
I was at a friend’s 60th birthday party recently, when another guest said to me “Why would anyone see a coach? You know, I can never really get what it is a coach does….” When we switched to talking about stories of why some of my clients had come to see me, and what they’d done as a result, she suddenly got it. It turned out she’d even had coaching herself, though it wasn’t called coaching. When her company made a lot of people redundant, a consultant gave them career support, with psychometric profiling and exploring what they wanted to do next. “Wow” she said. “That’s coaching? That completely changed my life.” Yes, coaching CAN change your life, if that’s the change you are looking for.
Who do I coach? Individuals from all walks of life, small business owners and managers, executives and leaders at various levels from first time in management to director, MD and CEO.
Type of business / sector they are in: Public Sector: Education (University/ College staff), Government, Prison Service, Scottish Enterprise, various councils, Forestry Commission; Private Sector: Corporate, SME, and micro-business in sectors including Telecoms, Retail, Finance, Aviation, Engineering, Technology, Life Sciences, Publishing, Property and others. Third sector: NGOs and charities.
Coaching programs are tailored to fit the needs of each person. We often start around raising self-awareness, particularly on values, motivation, beliefs and purpose. Raising your unconscious knowledge about “who I am and what is important to me” to conscious thought, creates clarity, authenticity and focus. This makes it easier to choose, decide and deal with the issues brought you to coaching in the first place. This approach is particularly useful for coaching around broader purposes such as leadership, career, a crossroads in life, better life : work balance and confidence, and a range of issues in work. With clients bringing a specific (often work) performance-related purpose, we focus on the changes and approaches needed to address that purpose specifically, with the option to bring in a broader values-based approach when it helps to implement changes sustainably over the long term.
I work a lot around shifting mindsets and supporting clients and organisations to develop a growth mindset. Coaching is mostly about making effective change, which requires you to change twice: not only changing the things you do or things in the outside world, but, vitally, also changing your perspective and the way you think about it.
1. Confidence and self belief
My private client came to me for personal coaching around building confidence as she was not enjoying her life, felt miserable and had little social life. She felt she’d lost contact with her friends and work was taking over her life. She felt she was putting on a good front at work and was now managing one direct report and she wanted to apply for a promotion in an upcoming job transfer. Everyone thought she was very competent and confident at work, but inside she didn’t feel that way, and she felt frustrated by her manager’s behaviour which she found domineering. During our sessions we explored how to shift her mindset, with the result she transformed her self-confidence and self-belief, with grounded evidence to ensure she was not being delusional. She changed how she communicated with her boss, her direct report and peers, and her friends, with the result she was much more confident, happier, enjoyed a more active social life AND achieved her promotion.
2. Team Engagement and productivity.
A new manager needed to convert hostility from the team following their previous manager’s replacement to engagement with a project that was behind schedule and had a deadline to complete delivery within 2 weeks. Our coaching sessions helped her to change the way she managed meetings to include specifically scheduled time to listen and invite input, change the way she communicated with the team, and change her visibility and availability for informal access. Within a week she turned hostility into collective and positive action as a team.
3. First time in Management
My client had no training in management so our sessions included direction on where to find relevant knowledge as she required it, as well as exploring how to lead and manage a team primarily consisting of her friends and previous peers. Coaching was around building her confidence and decision making as a manager. She successfully delivered her first project and created a strong team with good relationships.
4. Leadership development
My client was an engineer in first level management in a telecoms company receiving coaching as part of an emerging leaders programme. During the 6 month period we worked together he achieved his 2 year personal development plan goals at work (and also aspirations outside of work too!) as he gained the self-belief and confidence to put himself forward, and absorb the positive feedback he was being given but previously ignored!
This is what he said to me as we closed our last session:
“I didn’t see how coaching was going to work, especially by telephone. But I was sitting on my sofa, talking with you in a way I don’t normally do, about things I don’t normally think about. As a person I’ve found this hugely eye-opening and it’s helped me achieve a lot. I think differently about myself and where I am now and what I have achieved in the past. I feel where I am now is phenomenal. At the end of this month I will fulfil a personal dream I never before imagined I could.
“I didn’t think it would make such a difference. I feel much more confident and now when I walk into a room I feel I can hold my head high and go up to someone and say hello, even if I don’t know them. Before, I was the guy with their head down, no eye contact, wanting to make myself small and disappear into the background. My wife says the whole way I conduct myself now is different and more confident. Thank you.”
5. Recently promoted Director
My client was another engineer in a specialised technology company, who had been relatively rapidly promoted within the company from engineer to project manager and now Director. He was stressed by deadlines and the sheer volume of work to support his team and deliver results. Our coaching sessions focused on
1) How to manage time and better support his team by completing the leadership transition in mindset. He changed his thinking about how he felt value in his work and how he should be supporting the team, in ways that inspired them and freed him to focus on strategic development for his department.
2) How he could raise his profile, within the local and international departments of the company and also in the wider field. He wanted, and succeeded, to change his own and other’s perspective to see him as a peer and Director, and to be more active in shaping future direction and strategy for the company.
6. CEO: Working more strategically and considering legacy.
Our sessions focused on raising fulfilment in all four key areas of her life: work, home life, community/social and self, with the aim of raising her effectiveness and productivity at work and also maintaining work/life balance despite the vastly increased level of responsibility and calls on her time at work! Some of the greatest value of coaching for a CEO is having the space and accountability to reflect, bounce ideas, and have someone to probe deeper and ask the questions that your direct team typically don’t.
7. Testimonial from a business owner
I coached her around improving her effectiveness in running her business and work : life balance.
“I am the managing director of a small consultancy company. I have a tendency to take on too much, not delegate well and also have a young son so a business and family to juggle. Sue has helped me focus a lot on what I need to do to make my company more successful and my work life balance better.
Sue has provided a great deal of help and we spent several sessions talking about my management style, the structure of the business, the way I manage and motivate staff and my work life balance. I have implemented a lot of the things we discussed. Some have been implemented and slipped a little, so I need to get back on track. Overall, since I started with Sue I have taken on one extra member of the team and have successfully been awarded a grant of £60k for the creation of 6 new jobs over the next two years. We have also doubled our income. Sue’s input into this has been to take me out of the frantic daily schedule and take stock of what I needed to do to achieve this.
Sue’s been a great coach. She did not direct me but forced me to face up to all the issues head on and devise my own solutions which I knew but needed a bit of time out to face up to and commit to. I had sessions with Sue by phone and in person. Sue has been very diligent in following up with me and confirming everything I committed to do.”
Board Facilitation and Team Development
1) working with the board of a third sector organisation to clarify the vision, mission, purpose, values, behaviours, forward direction and strategy and developing appropriate communication to bring the management and staff on board.
2) Working with the partners of an international consultancy to develop their vision and strategy for growth through aligning personal and organisational values; getting to know each other better; clarifying their capabilities and team roles so they could maximise their strengths; and creating a solid sense of purpose and clarity.
Staff, Management and Leadership Development
Through training, facilitated workshops and coaching. Examples include
1) One-day workshops with a senior management team to improve organisational performance and staff engagement.
2) Skill development programmes for managers in a third sector organisation, including training on emotional intelligence, leadership styles and mental toughness and 1:1 coaching.
3) Emotional intelligence coaching, including profiling, for a manager in the prison service to improve her leadership and management performance.
4) Coaching Skills training programme for Criminal Justice Service staff to be more effective working with and supporting ex-offenders.
Contact Aeona today to see how our coaching or training will benefit you.
Start your journey now and call today in confidence for a no obligation chat:
Tel: 0845 6436 084
Mobile: 07738 290384