Alex was an early career researcher, when she came to me she was completing her PhD in a fascinating yet challenging workplace topic. Whilst most would view Alex as an expert in her field, she was lacking confidence and was starting to dread a presentation she was due to give at the key conference in her profession.
I tend to coach leaders in large organisations, so whilst Alex presented a different set of circumstances, the same principles applied comfortably. We started by discussing her challenges and why she thought coaching would help during a free “chemistry meeting”. Not only did this give me a chance to understand what Alex really wanted to get out of coaching, but all importantly, it gave her a chance to decide whether I would be a good fit for her as a coach.
It was evident to me from that initial meeting that Alex had tons of potential, and I was delighted when she asked me to be her coach. We started by profiling her confidence at work. The findings from this exercise helped shape our mindmapping exercise – a process that built the foundations for the rest of our work together. My coachees consistently report how insightful they find this process. It gives people a chance they rarely give themselves to reflect upon where they’re at, where they want to be and the barriers they need to overcome.
Alex and I met frequently on Zoom, allowing us to be flexible with the timings, and share screens when necessary. Each session we addressed issues that were arising for her, as well as what we had planned from the start. Taking this flexible yet structured approach meant we covered a lot of ground. Alex was a great coachee because she really embraced the work we did together and put a lot of effort into the action points she set herself to do in between session. With my guidance and her hard work, Alex learned how mindfulness and compassion can help her tame her inner dialogue that was consistently undermining her confidence. We also reshaped her mindset so what she learned would become embedded behaviours. Using the online resource available to our coachees, some practical skills were also developed, such as improving vocal strength and range for confidence in speaking. As with many things, the more you put into coaching, the more you get out of it!
The progress Alex made was substantial and she noticed improvements in her confidence beyond her conference presentation. In an email to me one day Alex said “I just wanted to thank you again as my meeting last week was so different to how it would have been a few months ago. I felt nervous/excited before rather than super nervous and not wanting to do it. I actually rather enjoyed it! They’ve asked me back to present again and seemed to like the content. I feel like coaching has brought big changes!”