Real e-coaching session Part 1

The following is a dialogue of a real coaching session I conducted with a young mother we are calling Karen. This is a ‘warts and all’ dialogue which I have not cleaned up in the hope that it will illustrate some of the opportunities and difficulties in e-coaching.

It may be a bit basic for experienced coaches but it is intended for newer coaches to see how e-coaching can be used. I was using a fairly conventional version of the GROW model which was pre loaded into our coaching software CoachMaster®. This means that some questions could be slightly modified and sent quickly. So I was able to focus on what Karen was saying. In this blog I have only got as far as defining the goal and the session goal. In subsequent blogs I will publish the remainder of the session.

It is also an interesting example of the necessity of being flexible. I initially thought we would be working on a business issue. As you will see below the reality turned out to be quite different. I have given a commentary on my coaching in italics.

Karen: hello

Bob: Hi Karen, welcome. What would you like to work on this session?

Karen: hmmm…I think organisation. Particularly systems…and staying on track when plans are changed by external factors…

Karen: and staying calm and focused when that happens!

Bob: ok great

Bob: If you were more organised and stayed calm what would somebody watching the scene from outside actually be seeing and hearing that would indicate that you have succeeded?

Commentary in italics: I though initially we would be working on Karen’s time management and planning skills. So my first question was to move Karen into thinking about her success criteria. Interesting how a coaching session can turn in an unexpected way, as she started talking about her children.

Karen: I would arrive early and appear calm…also my children would be listening and attentive (don’t know if that last bit is a goal or evidence of a goal met though?)

Bob: ok no problem

I did not understand that Karen really wanted to work on her children and tried to focus her on the element that she most wanted to work on.

Bob: I think it would be useful to focus on the organisational stuff or the staying calm stuff. Which would you like to focus on first?

Karen: I think staying calm…as I have not looked at that as a separate factor before.

Bob: Great although a similar question. How could you confirm that you had achieved your goal of staying calm?

Karen: I would feel better…wouldn’t be shouting..heart beating fast…would be feeling happy on journey (thinking of school run for example)

Bob: So if we turned those into positives. You would be speaking more quietly, your heart would generally be steady and you would feel happy on journeys?

Karen: yes

It became clear that Karen had one specific time issue she wanted to talk about – the school run!

Bob: Ok great. Realistically by what date do you want to have achieved your goal(s)?

Bob: Karen: did you get that question?

As we were doing the session by text and there was a delay I checked in with Karen if she got one particular message. It is important for client and coach to maintain a sense of connection which can easily get lost when text coaching.

Karen: I did…just thinking

Bob: no problem take your time

Karen: it is quite a big one…

Karen: Ideally I would like to feel calmer from now!

Karen: But it ties in to so many other things!

Karen: I am starting to make changes to make it easier

So I moved into turning this into a timed goal without doing much more exploration at this stage. It is always a moot point as to how far you should go in defining a clear goal. What we have discovered in e-coaching is that it is better to get a clear enough goal and move on than to spend a lot of time getting a perfectly clear one.

Bob: Sure but we want to be realistic. I would go for a time that feels like it gives you time to change but not so long it feels too far in the future.

Karen: to feel calmer….eg I have applied to change my son’s school so that we can walk to school and not depend on a car journey which is affected by traffic….

Karen: I think maybe 2 weeks?

So at this point I had a good idea that the session was not going to be about general organisation but an issue that was still very important to Karen. I grabbed hold of that and tried to convert it into a goal which, fortunately, Karen agreed to.

Bob: So Karen, what would you like to gain from this session? A plan of how to achieve your goal or something else?

Karen: A plan sounds good but is there anything else you had in mind?

Bob: Not particularly but if you wanted advice or anything similar we could look at that

Karen: Can you combine both?

Bob: Sure

Karen: 🙂

Session Goal Statement updated – – A plan sounds good plus advice if possible

We then moved on to establishing a session goal for the session. A session goal is what the client will have in their hand by the end of the session. Some coaches don’t bother with it but I usually find it useful to clarify it.

To be continued in the next blog.

Bob: Sure

Karen: 🙂

Session Goal Statement updated – – A plan sounds good plus advice if possible

We then moved on to establishing a session goal for the session. A session goal is what the client will have in their hand by the end of the session. Some coaches don’t bother with it but I usually find it useful to clarify it.

To be continued in the next blog.

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