VOX-POP SERIES – Coaching Case Studies #3

A Coaching Case Study as reported by a leadership participant in my 2018 UK Coaching Master Class programme.

Coaching Case Studies
Coaching Case Study

Happy New Year. Welcome to the first Blog article of 2022. This is the third article in the ‘Coaching Case Study‘ series.

Vox-Pop is from the Latin vox populi and refers to popular sentiment or opinion on a subject – in other words, the voice of the people.

In this series of Blog Posts I explore the sentiments and opinions of leadership participants in my Coaching Master Class (CMC) programme. What do they think about the main coaching topics we explore together in this programme?

I look at STAR Coaching Case Study reported by a Leaders of Leaders participating in a UK programme in 2018. By this time my CMC programme had evolved to version 3 and I was using a much more comprehensive STAR template for coaching case study feedback. I look at how the Leader used the GROW Coaching Model and the Coaching Tools taught in the CMC Workshop, and the outcomes they achieved with coaching.

The Coaching Master Class program runs over a 12-18 week period. We kick off with a full day workshop for Leaders of Leaders and Functional Leaders who work in the same team and report in to the same boss. I then complete a series of follow up coach-the-coach sessions according to the ARCH Model (Activity, Results, Capability & Handover). There is more on this in my 2016 article ‘Coaching the Coach – Who, Why, When & What?

The notes I take during these coach-the-coach session give me valuable insights into how programme participants are taking on board and applying the learning from the workshop.

Here is a Coaching Case Study as reported by a participant in a programme I ran for a division of Maersk in the UK 2018. It is formatted according to the STAR model – what was the Situation or Task, what Action did you take, what Result did you achieve including your own personal learning?

Leader of Leaders Case Study

What was the Situation / Task?

Improving performance management reviews and agreeing actions to address underperforming Manager Reports.

How did you clarify current performance?

Set aside time in the monthly 1-1 sessions to focus on a specific performance topic and how we could jointly create an improvement plan per direct report Manager. A clear purpose was established to increase performance in the coming month. Asked the coachee to review of monthly dashboards in 1-1 meeting on low performing staff and prepare proposed improvement plan in advance of the meeting.

How did you create opportunities for the coaching?

Advised coachee that we would be increasing the 1-1 session by 30 mins to specifically focus on this topic with the end goal clearly outlined.

How did you set the scene (trust & rapport)?

The scene was set by discussing the current business results and the need to accelerate performance by sharing and discussing the overall P&L.

Goal. How did you engage the individual in the Goal for the coaching relating to business priorities?

Assessing the situation was quite easy as the numbers are created centrally and circulated on a weekly basis.

Reality. How did you encourage the Coachee to assess the current situation?

Reality was a bit more challenging as the low performance was coming from some longer term team members with the need for some ‘tough’ discussions on performance improvements. The key was that discussions about past good performance does not excluded the need to improve current performance.

Options & Way-forward. What Options were considered, how were they evaluated? How did you and the Coachee agree on the Way-forward?

Options discussed included:

  • Introducing a more formal Performance Improvement Plan (PIP)
  • More regular joint customer visits to observe and help coach for improvement.
  • Deep dive on the pipeline and brainstorm on quality of opportunities and how we can introduce new opportunities.
  • Review of Personal Development Plan (PDP) and possible training gaps.
  • Options for other people to join sales calls; Writer, product managers, Trade Lane Managers.
  • Possible buddy system with better performing Managers.

Way forward was agreed based on above options for the 3 underperforming Managers. With an agreement that we would review progress after 2 weeks on a phone call as a mid-way point before the next monthly 1-1 session.

Tools. How did you apply the core coaches’ toolkit: purposeful questions, levels of listening, challenging perceptions & feedback in coaching?

The core techniques applied during the session were purposeful questions e.g. ‘What do you think is causing John not to deliver?’ and ‘Why is his call rate lower than the agreed 8 calls per week?’ Etc. Active listening and challenging perceptions were also used e.g. ‘John has performed well in the past but is now not achieving the agreed targets, how are you planning to change that?’

How would you evaluate and describe the success in this case – yours as the Coach, the Coachee’s and for the business?

I think it was a good session for both the coachee and myself to make sure we have a clear and agreed action plan to improve specific underperformance as well as a follow up plan. The next session will be key to review progress and improvement.

Metrics. Please be specific and quantify the business/KPI/MWB outcomes of the actions

Improves sales wins for underperforming Managers:

  • USD wins
  • Number of sales visits per week
  • Quality of pipeline (size of opportunities and stages)

Must Win Battles (MWB): Improve commercial effectiveness.

Explain how and why a coaching approach to this situation/task was successful.

From a qualitative perspective I think the coachee has more confidence in terms of tackling the underperformance with more senior Managers as there is a clear agreed plan and which has been jointly agreed with his manager. The next step is for him to increase coaching of the Managers. I think the coaching approach was good as the coachee was aware of the challenge and was open to a dialogue on the best approach to improve the performance. This also led to quick action rather than further delaying the issues.

Further Reading

Explore the Coaches Toolkit on this Blog for more information on the Tools and Techniques mentioned above.

Search ‘Leadership Interview’ on this Blog for more insights from leaders on how they applying coaching in their day to day work.

Read more about my Coaching Master Class program.

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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