Following a very stressful year in both her work and personal life, Lydia spotted an article on coaching in HSJ. Usually optimistic and open to new experiences, she realised that she was feeling rather low and downtrodden. Lydia was still preoccupied by financial negotiations over a less than pleasant divorce and the injustice of what was happening at work. She thought she would give coaching a go to see if it would give her motivation a kick-start.
A senior service improvement manager, Lydia had always been eager to take on the challenges of her job but suddenly felt neither acknowledged nor appreciated.
Her morale was low and she felt that people were not hearing her suggestions and recommendations. She had been offered a new position in another department but she was seriously concerned about whether she could do the new job properly. When life gets tough our confidence slips.
I always ask my clients to fill in a pre-coaching questionnaire that allows them to begin reflecting rather than worrying. The questions include:
What do you want from life, especially work?
What is holding you back?
What qualities do you value in others - and what insights do you have into your values?
What can I say to you when you are stuck?
I believe my clients hold most of their own answers and through our three coaching sessions Lydia was invited to take her own advice. She had said that when she was stuck, I should remind her of the fact that she had been through much worse!
Turning this into reviewing the most wonderfully successful times, times of sheer appreciation and acknowledgement from colleagues, and remembering the taste of success all helped to lift her energy and clear her thinking.
"This helped me remember some of the things I have achieved and how good it felt. Especially when some of the behaviours fall outside of what I consider my normal personality - outside my comfort zone I suppose," said Lydia.
"Thinking about these past events made me feel that I was reclaiming some of the power I had given away over the last year. Given away, not had taken away as some things were/are in my power to do something about."
Reclaiming personal power is one of the most exciting experiences for both coach and client. Translated into the mantra that I use in coaching this is: "If you are truly powerful you take responsibility to choose and instigate change."
Making things happen
Lydia seemed so much more aware and able to realise that she could continue to make things happen, with a new job and so many doors opening in her personal life and career. Often coaching offers reminders that we are indeed in control of our own thinking processes and that we can think we are stuck or instead reframe this into a picture of new possibilities and new adventures.
"Coaching has helped put me back on my path, the one where I feel I have more choice and the one that hopefully can make me feel joyous again," Lydia continued. "Coaching has been very interesting and I would like to carry this forward and use coaching in my new role to motivate and empower other staff."
By contacting her new boss after taking the required step of handing in her notice, Lydia has started her new relationship before stepping into her new position. What a wonderful way to build rapport, make her interests known and begin to get some of her questions about her new career answered.
As so often happens, after only three short sessions Lydia is now following the path into using coaching skills at work. She has enrolled in a coach training course and is making it known that this is what the NHS needs more of.