Leadership Learning Log Case Study 1 ‘Most Challenging’ Session: Jerry Chen & Jennifer Yao, Shanghai

The Leadership Learning Log is a great tool to help Coaches critically and objectively reflect on recent coaching sessions.

The Leadership Learning Log is a journal which evidences learning and skills development. It is not just a diary or record of ‘what you have done’, but more to the point it is a record of what you have learnt, tried and critically reflected upon.

I use the Leadership Learning Log in my Coaching Master Class (CMC) programme as a tool to follow up the training. I call this ‘Activity 1: Looking Back’. At the end the training I challenge participants to run up to five substantial pre-planned coaching sessions over the following six week period. I ask them to select two of these sessions for self-assessment – the ‘Best’ and the ‘Most Challenging’ – and answer the questions in the Leadership Learning Log for each session. This is their preparation for our first on-to-one coach-the-coach session.

For this article we go back to my friend Allen Tu in Shanghai. Allen is KCGFF Sales Team Leader for Maersk (China) Shipping Co and he attended my Coaching Master Class (CMMC) programme in 2011. Using my material he kicked off his ‘Buddy’ Coaching programme in 2016 for his direct report sales managers. One of those managers is Jerry Chen who is the senior manager focussing on Electronic key clients. And Jennifer Yao is an account manager reporting in to Jerry.

In this first article about their coaching experience, we look at how Jerry used the Leadership Learning Log self-assessment questions to reflect on his ‘Most Challenging’ coaching session with Jennifer.

Most Challenging Coaching Case


Question 1. What did I do?

Jerry. Shared my experience on how to dig client’s pain and win more tender nominations.

Question 2. How do I think/feel about this?

Jerry. Helped Jennifer find the way to know NEW clients more quickly.

Question 3. What did I plan to do but did not do (leadership actions)?

Jerry. Prepared a lot for product introduction, but I only asked a few OPEN questions.

Question 4. What additional leadership actions should I have taken?

Jerry. Ask more open questions to lead Jennifer to think her own way on how to drive client’s real needs.

Question 5. How well (or badly) did it go?

Jerry. Jennifer has a lot of concerns about how to influence tender result at local side. I should follow these challenges more and deep dive the reasons and solutions. I shouldn’t just share my experience directly.

Question 6. What did I learn?

Jerry. Analyse her client’s background together instead of use my own clients as examples.

Question 7. What will I do differently next time (stop, start, continue)?

Jerry. Stop sharing my experience directly, start to ask Jennifer to share her own ideas about the cases, continue follow the GROW flow.

Question 8. How will I do it differently next time?

Jerry. Use well prepared questions and ask questions to lead the conversation.

Question 9. What have I achieved – business results?

Jerry. Jennifer prepared different kinds of questions to lead the client meeting. Then she knew client’s key pain finally. Local shipper’s needs helped global account owner won the 50% SOW of the new business.

Question 10. What have I achieved – my leadership development?

Jerry. Active listening, exchange ideas. The right question can make the right result

Question 11. What have I learn about myself as a leader?

Jerry. Already earn coachee’s trust, she is willing to share her real thoughts, easy to expand the topics.

Question 12. How have I put theory into practice?

Jerry. Keep the GROW model in mind and follow the steps to ask questions and use deep listening. Use outcomes to real client meeting as much as possible.

Question 13. How does what I have been doing lead to me becoming better at a particular leadership skill?

Jerry. Communicated well with Coachee about this coach session purpose, agreed on topics, deep dive to the development area, follow GROW. Agreed with Coachee for the next step.

Question 14. How can I use this to plan for the future?

Jerry. Next coaching session will follow this topic, to check if any new ideas come out and any space to improve.

Question 15. How can I use this to plan new learning experiences?

Jerry. Following the topic: I will prepare more purposeful questions, ask more questions to lead the conversation, thus improve my questioning skill.

Question 16. How should I use this experience in the next session with my leadership coach?

Jerry. I will check if Coachee’s concerns has been solved, ask Coachee to share a successful case and ask what else I can help with on this topic.


Further reading:

Coaches Toolkit Look for the Leadership Learning Log, GROW Summary, Building Trust and Rapport, Coaching Preparation, Levels of Listening and Purposeful Questions.

Leadership Interview & Coaching Case Study 2: Samson Zhou, Sales Manager Shanghai

Leadership Interview & Coaching Case Study: Samson Zhou, Sales Manager Shanghai

Leadership Interview: Tracy Zhi ‘My Experience as a Coachee’

Coaching is Blooming in Shanghai


Author: Trevor Sherman

Trevor Sherman: Author, Blogger and Coach. What do I do? I develop leadership training material and personal learning modules. I am the owner and operator of this Blog. I coach senior executives for their development and role transition. I am based in Northamptonshire UK and operate globally - in person and through technology.

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