Coaching conversation samples

CASE STUDY : MICHAEL ’S STORY, PART 1.

To exemplify the process of offering and receiving feedback from client let’s take a look at the first part of a coaching conversation with Michae , a business development manager of an automobile company.

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Coach Hi, Michael . I’m really glad that you are able to make it today.How are things going with you?
Michael Life seems to get more and more stressful, and I wish my team could accomplish more in a shorter time.
Coach Is that something you would like to work on? Do you also have any other objectives?
Michael I really want to work on this. I suppose the other main thing that I have stated in my coaching objective is to be a more effective leader.
Coach Yes, we can certainly do that. What connection do you see between your stress level, the performance of your team, and being a more effective leader?
Michael If I can better manage my stress level, I can focus on finding more ways to help my team deliver better results. That would enable me to be a more effective leader.
Coach Sounds good. Which of the three related areas would you like to start working on first?
Michael I guess the biggest immediate payoff is to get better results from my team. The sales volume of my team has been on a decline, and we have been way below our target for three straight quarters. My job could be at stake.
Coach Agreed. What do you think is the main thing preventing you and your team from achieving the targets?
Michael I believe it has a lot to do with my team members. There are eleven of them, and I wish I could have them all replaced with better team members.
Coach I’m curious. Can you say more about that?
Michael Whenever I tell them what to do, initially they follow but then later they keep making more and more mistakes. It never seems to end.
Coach Please tell me more
Michael What good can I be as a manager when every time I correct people, they just keep making more mistakes. It makes me feel like a fool and gets me really frustrated.
Coach Can you give some specific examples?
Michael One of my sales executives has a habit of making promises to clients to secure sales, and when we are not able to deliver the vehicles on time, customers get furious, and many just cancel their orders. The last time this happened I could not hold my frustration. I shouted at my staff and called him a dishonest, irresponsible phony. I felt better after I released my emotions, and I think I did the right thing to correct him.
Coach What other critical incidents of this nature can you recall?
Michael There so many incidents. These sales people seem to be problem creators. One of the girls resorted to going out on dates with clients to win sales. This created a disaster when a client stormed into our office to demand that he be allowed to see more of her. I was furious and scolded her at one of our team meetings just to warn her and others not to repeat such behavior. Another staff member promised to do thirty sales calls and eight customers visits each week but only did 60% of what she committed to. I had to tell her off and emphasized that I cannot accept lazy, good-for-nothing staff members who fail to keep their commitments.
Coach How do you feel before and after things like that happen?
Michael When things don’t go the way I want, I get very unhappy and stressed. When I do the right thing to reprimand them, my feeling of frustration is released and I feel better. But the issue is that I don’t see improvements, and people just keep making more mistakes.
Coach Can I have your permission to offer you some feedback?
Michael Please do; that’s why I hired you.
Coach I might be wrong, but I notice a consistent pattern in your reaction to your team members in the way you have just described.
Michael I think you’re right but I have been doing the best I can. That’s why I need a coach like you to help me.
Coach My honest feedback is that, you have good intentions of solving problems but the methods you use seem to focus on punishing people and faulting their characters rather that motivating them to change.
Michael What do you mean? Are you saying I’m a bad manager?
Coach I didn’t mean that, and I’m sorry if I gave you that impression. I’m totally on your side to support your objectives.
Michael So, what should I do?
Coach Have you asked for feedback from your team on how they feel and how you can help them improve?
Michael I can’t see the value of asking for feedback from the people who keep creating problems. What are you thinking?
Coach My sincere feedback is that the people who create the problem … they also have the answers to them. What are your thoughts about asking them?
Michael I will try and talk to them when the time is right.
Coach I have a request that I believe will help you find solutions.
Michael Please, I need solutions fast. I don’t want to be out of a job.
Coach Would you consider getting anonymous written feedback from your team about their problem and how you can help them solve them?
Michael I could get help from my HR to do that.
Coach Is that something that you would be willing to commit to?
Michael Yes, I will commit to getting this done before our next meeting. After all, I want to solve this problem.
Coach Is there anything else you’d like to do before our next meeting?
Michael I want to reflect more on the feedback you gave me, especially on my consistent pattern and how it is affecting my results.
Coach That would be great, before we go, can you offer me some feedback on how the coaching session went to day?
Michael Sure, to be honest I expected more concrete ideas and suggestions from this session; I need all the encouragement and motivation that i can get to be on top of this problem.
Coach I appreciate your open feedback. One of the leadership gurus that I admire most is Ken Blanchard. He said: “Feedback is the breakfast of champions”. I love this phrase and I love feedback, since I know it can help me serve you better.
Michael Thanks for sharing this. I have Ken Blanchard’s book. They are fantastic.
Coach Is there any other way I can add more value to you?
Michael Please help me find solutions faster so I can produce better results
Coach Point taken. I will work on it tirelessly and together we will handle this.
Michael Thanks, coach.

CASE STUDY : MICHAEL ’S STORY, PART 2.

To bring life to the coaching process that helps create awareness and acceptance that propels change, let’s take a look at another coaching conversation with Michael.

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Coach Hello, Michael. How have things been going since we met two weeks ago?
Michael Not too bad, I think I’m beginning to get a much better idea about my pattern of behavior that is limiting my progress.
Coach That sounds great. I’m so eager to hear that, but just before we go there, can we revisit your action step from our last conversation?
Michael Yes, I did send out the anonymous feedback forms to all my staff, and the response rate was close to 90%
Coach Well, congratulations on your success with this significant step. How do you feel about it?
Michael At the beginning, I was sensitive about what many of them said about me, but since I was the one who asked for feedback, and since I have now adopted the phrase “Feedback is the breakfast for champions”, I swallowed the pill. Now I feel better and am more prepared to face change, since I’m no longer in a state of denial.
Coach Wonderful. I’m intrigued by what you just said about your pattern of behavior that is limiting your progress. Would you tell me about that?
Michael It seems like every time things don’t go the way I want, it makes me feel depressed. That triggers a pattern of criticizing and scolding people and attacking their behavior. This was also the essence of the feedback I got from my staff. I seem trapped in this behavior and I don’t know why it just seems to happen automatically.
Coach:   Tell me more about what impact this “trap” has on you?
Michael : Well, the feedback tells me that people are very unhappy working with me. They say it stresses them to the point that it badly affects their performance and their confidence.
Coach Think deeper, is there any other way that this trap is affecting your life?
Michael My 17 years old daughter seems to be having frequent outbursts and she avoids talking to me. I think it just part of the “growing pains”, you know, that “teenager thing” Hang on there.! As I’m talking to you, it just struck me that I have been using this same pattern of behavior when communicating with her. Oh my god!… You know I would rather hurt myself than hurt my darling girl, Erika. This really breaks my heart…. Sorry, I just can’t hold back my tears. This is getting too emotional for me.
Coach: I understand how you feel. Can we stay on this for a while more so we can get through this together? I believe you can create something good from here.
Michael You know, I come from a tough family. I shouldn’t cry like this. All right, let me just clear my eyes and nose.
Coach I can relate with how you feel. Just imagine if you continued with this pattern for years to come. What could be the worst case scenario?
Michael I imagine being lonely, not progressing in my career, getting a demotion, and being the first laid off when tough times come. I have seen that happen to others. Erika’s future would be jeopardized. I would be hurting my family and the pain would be too much to bear.
Coach What are your thoughts about change?
Michael I’m fully aware now that I must change! I need help.
Coach I’m with you all the way. What would you rather have?
Michael   I would rather feel good about myself and others while having others feel good about themselves and about me too. Life would be much happier.
Coach I agree. Could there be some need that you are fulfilling that sustains this pattern?
Michael I don’t know, but I want to kill this pattern before it drives me crazy.
Coach All right, let’s kill it. Let’s search deeper. Who is the wisest person you know of?
Michael Ben Franklin. I’ve studied his life. Plus he comes from a town not that far from where i grew up.
Coach Yes, I understand. Now fix and image of Ben Franklin in your mind. Remember some of your favorite quotes from his writings. And now visualize him bestowing his wisdom on you. If you were to think like Ben Franklin, what would you be saying?
Michael Let me think about this
Coach Just keep articulating; the answer will come to you.
Michael The Ben Franklin in me is saying that when I put others down and attack them. It seems to make me feel bigger, smarter and more powerful in comparison to others. I feel good initially; it fills my ego needs but leaves a terrible effect on people that creates even more problems for everyone.
Coach Great. That’s an insightful observation. Is there anyone you know who has this similar pattern?
Michael Wow, I just remembered now. My mom had this behavior. She used to scold me nonstop and put me down in front of others to tame my “wild” behavior. That made me feel really small and embarrassed, and later I would hide in the attic.
Coach Thanks for sharing that. What was the good side of your mom?
Michael She fought hard to keep our family alive. She’s a very tough woman who had to raise 4 kids single-handedly after my dad died in a plane crash. I was proud of my dad. He was one of the best pilots in the navy flying the F/A-18 Hornet fighter plane. I know my mom loved her family immensely and I don’t blame her. She had a very tough life, and she did not realize her way would negatively impact me. Furthermore, she didn’t have a coach.
Coach What an interesting observation. Shall we work on creating a brighter future?
Michael Definitely, I’m fully aware of my problem and I accept that I have to do something about it. I’m ready and determined to exterminate this nasty “bug” in my head.

CASE STUDY : MICHAEL ’S STORY, PART 3

To illustrate how a coach brings out the solutions from within the client, gives suggestions only when it’s necessary to help the client, and minimizes making suggestions, let’s take a look at the third part of the coaching conversation with Michael .

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Michael As my coach, what’s your advice on how I can solve this problem immediately?
Coach It could take some time to install a new habit. What are your thoughts?
Michael I think you already have the answer so we can get right to it and kill the bug in my head right away.
Coach You know, I was not trained as a magician. In reality, the best way I can serve you is to help you find your own solutions. That would be better than magic.
Michael Please help me, I need your magic.
Coach I will do my very best, but please keep in mind that the best answers are going to come from you rather than me.
Michael I thought as a coach you would have the best answers and that you would advise me.
Coach Remember, before we started coaching. I ran down with you what good coaches do. We ask powerful questions, listen deeply, and use our curiosity and intuition to draw out the best solutions from you. I explained to you that you know your life and your circumstances much better than I do. The answers you need are within you.
Michael I remember, so please start with your questions and help me get out of this rut
Coach If someone were to ask you to give this self-defeating pattern of yours a name, what would it be?
Michael Well, my movie hero is John Wayne. Let’s see; who a famous movie villain? Could this be the Peter Lorre pattern? No, I’m just kidding. I might call it the cruel, heartless, sadistic, and vindictive pattern.
Coach Can I suggest that you give it a short, clear, and simple name so you remember instantly and can spot it every time it’s about to manifest itself?
Michael Good point. I’ll just call this the “sadistic pattern” It’s killing me. It’s worse than cancer
Coach I believe you. How will you know the next time this ”sadistic pattern” is emerging?
Michael I’m very aware of this feeling now. Whenever I feel really down and things don’t go the way I want, this sadistic pattern starts creeping out
Coach What could you do to interrupt this pattern and stop it from emerging?
Michael I really have no idea so far. Well, I guess I could use my willpower to fight it off. Just stop myself, count from 1 to 10, leave the room, or go kick a punching bad instead. What do you think?
Coach What is something positive and fun or humorous that you could do?
Michael That’s a great question. I never thought of it this way
Coach Go ahead and see what you can come up with.
Michael All right. I could do something physical and funny like spin three rounds quickly and put my hands up like superman flying up to the sky and then laugh out loud and say, “I’m free”. That would be funny enough for me. It would make me feel like a kid again and ready to install a new pattern, I could call this the “humor pattern”
Coach I like this ”humor pattern” That’s a great way you just invented to interrupt the sadistic pattern. Can I suggest that you see if you can find a replacement for the sadistic pattern that also fulfills your ego needs so you also feel bigger and better?
Michael Good idea, but what would you suggest?
Coach You’re capable of thinking of a solution.
Michael All right, I’m beginning to get the hang of your coaching approach. Go ahead ask me some more questions.
Coach What do you love most about yourself, and what gives you the strongest feeling of love?
Michael All these years my ability to make powerful presentations has been what I love most about myself. It’s what most people at work appreciate about me. When I think about that, it makes me feel really great. About the strongest feeling of love, it comes from my wife Edith. Her warm embrace, her patience, her understanding and her loving personality make my life worth living.
Coach Wonderful. What name could you give this pattern?
Michael I could simply call it the “love pattern”
Coach I suggest that after you do your “humor pattern” you visualize this “love pattern” and anchor its feeling in your heart. I might be wrong, but I believe you can use this to replace the sadistic pattern and over time to become your default pattern
Michael I’d like that very much. I love your suggestion. I will definitely work on it
Coach Anything else that you would like to do?
Michael Yes- a lot of good ideas seem to be flowing from inside me. I like visualizing and feeling the love pattern. I can also work on making powerful presentations as often as it is practical, and I can call my wife to listen to her voice whenever I need to feel better.
Coach That’s a good move. Keep taping into the wisdom that is within you. What else you would do to interact with your team?
Michael The Ben Franklin hero in me says that I would talk to my staff individually to thank them for their feedback and let them know that I‘ve become aware of this pattern and seek their support to help me change.
Coach Great. Tell me more
Michael I can also talk to them about how I can help them improve their performance. I’d like to get everyone to work together in a team to focus on their strengths and also focus on mutually coming up with solutions rather than just focusing on problems and mistakes.
Coach That sounds wonderful. Anything else?
Michael Yes; earlier you mentioned that it takes time to establish a new habit. I could make it a routine every week, when I review my staff performance, to get feedback from them about how I can lead them better, what they would like to do to improve their performance, and how we can all support each other to take the necessary actions and keep improving. I know you’re going to ask me, so I will name these behaviors : nurturing pattern”
Coach These are excellent plans. Michael , and I believe you’re going to see significant improvements
Michael Thanks for believing in me and for helping me come up with these solutions.
Coach You’re most welcome. I’m glad to see you solving your own problems
Michael You remind me of a well-known magician
Coach Your solutions are better than Houdini’s illusion of breaking free from the chains; these chains of yours are real, and breaking them will make a huge difference in your life
Michael Agreed, I was able to access the wisdom of Ben Franklin and not Houdini within me. And thank God I Have a great coach who is not a magician

CASE STUDY: MICHAEL ’S STORY, PART 4

In part 4 of the coaching conversation with Michael, the coach works with him to clarify his goals and ensure that they are well formulated. The Coach also helps to confirm that Michael has strong ownership for the goals and is committed to accomplish them.

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Coach Now that you have identified what I believe to be some good solutions, how do you feel about it?
Michael I feel excited and really empowered since you enabled me to find my own direction- in spite of the fact that I kept pushing you every now and then to give me the answers
Coach I’m happy for you. Think about the goals that you decided on since we first started our coaching sessions; do you feel that you have ownership over the goals and the solutions that come with them?
Michael Absolutely. I was the one who decided to work on getting a better performance with my team first, and I created the solutions myself with some help from you. The goals and solutions feel like my babies since I gave birth to them.
Coach Do you think that getting better performance from your staff will help you achieve your other goals?
Michael Yes. Come to think of it, the main source of my stress has been from the nonperformance of my team, so when I achieve this goal, my stress level should be greatly reduced. I’m confident that when this issue is resolved, I will have become a better leader of my team.
Coach It’s good to know that. Do you think you could benefit from making your goal more specific and measurable?
Michael Sure. Goals that are specific and measurable would make me more clearly accountable. Better performance from my sales team would be to meet the target of at least 30 million in sales for this year. Last year we only did 20 Million
Coach Do you think that 30 million is achievable and within the capability of your team under your leadership?
Michael With a strong team we can easily reach the target. Our company has 20 sales teams of similar size under different leaders and 15 teams exceeded the 30 million mark, with the top team achieving 50 million.
Coach What would you consider a breakthrough goal that would be achievable and yet would stretch you and your team in the process of achieving it and result in a quantum leap in your success?
Michael A breakthrough goal would be 40 million. It’s possible but it would require tremendous effort and improvement from everyone in our team.
Coach True. But how do you feel about setting this as your breakthrough goal?
Michael I’d like to take on the challenge to make it happen. I believe this coaching process has made a big difference for me and that we can do it.
Coach Wonderful. How will you engage your team to work together to achieve this breakthrough goal?
Michael I plan to use the same coaching process that you are providing to me. I’ll ask good questions, listen to the answers, and draw out the best from the team members. I’ll ask them to visualize the benefits of improved performance and a high-performance work culture. I’ll also get everyone involved in creating the goal and then let them commit themselves willingly to our breakthrough goal. Once they fully buy into the target, then I’ll work with them on more detailed goals and the roles for each team member.
Coach That’s very good. I guess you already can foresee my next question: imagine that your breakthrough goal is already realized. How will you feel, what will you be doing, and what benefits will you be enjoying? Go ahead and just relax and visualize that
Michael Okay. Let me relax and close my eyes and begin to visualize. Yes, I can see my daughter Erica laughing with me and living a happy life. My wife Edith embracing me and congratulating me as we celebrate together in Paris. My team members grow and develop into effective sales professionals; they reap hand-some rewards and look up to me as a good leader who made a difference for them. I receive a promotion and a hefty profit sharing from the great performance. I celebrate together with my CEO at the coming New Year’s party. I look in the mirror and smile to myself, saying that I have been transformed and become a much better and happier person.
Coach Wow! That sounds exciting. What’s your level of motivation and commitment toward achieving this breakthrough goal?
Michael I believe you already know the answer, even though you are still not a magician
Coach I’d love to hear your answer
Michael My breakthrough goal is to improve the performance of my team and meet the 40 million mark in sales by 5PM on December 31 of this year. I’m fully motivated to achieve this goal, and I’m totally committed to do everything in my power to achieve it as I take this journey with a great coach who believes in me
Coach That’s fantastic. I can already feel your victory.

CASE STUDY: MICHAEL ’S STORY, PART 5

In this part of the coaching conversation, Michael and his coach work together to specify in greater detail the strategies and action steps for the accomplishment of his breakthrough goal

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Coach Shall we breakdown your goal into more detailed action steps and strategies to ensure your success?
Michael You bet! I’m ready to get into action.
Coach Would you like to list the things you would need to do to achieve your goal based on what you have identified so far?
Michael All right, let me do that part by part. Part one of my strategy to reach my breakthrough goal is to transform myself. So from now on, I’ll use the” humor pattern” to interrupt my terrible “sadistic pattern”. Part 2 of my strategies will be to replace the terrible pattern with the “love pattern” and then I will use the “ nurturing pattern” with my team and my daughter.
Coach For how long and how often will you do this?
Michael I’ll do it as often as the undesired pattern emerges, and I will do this from now on until my undesired habit is gone and the new habit is fully installed in me.
Coach Are there any further steps under part one or two of your strategy?
Michael Part one is clear and specific enough for me. For the “love pattern” in part 2, I will schedule powerful presentations to support my team and my customers at least two times each week for one hour, and I will call my wife to hear her kind words and warm voice every time I feel down
Coach And what about the “nurturing pattern” in part two?
Michael Yes, for this I’ll do the following:

  • Thank each of my team members for their feedback and let them know I’m aware of my limitations and that I’m committed to improve
  • Share my plan to improve and ask for their support to help me change
  • Ask them to discuss further how I can Help them to improve their performance
  • Identify and focus on the strengths of each team member.
  • Conduct weekly performance reviews and team meetings that are focused on solutions
  • Exchange weekly dialogue with individual team members on action steps for each person to deliver better results
  • Facilitate a planning session to get buy-in and ownership from all team members on the breakthrough goal.
  • Equip team members with the tools and methods for better results through training and mentoring
Coach Wonderful! Is there anything that could prevent you and your team from achieving the breakthrough goal?
Michael Let me think. Can I ask the Ben Franklin in me? I feel strongly that my team lacks effective selling skills and has some bad habits. That could be a roadblock. I’m glad you asked me this question because that got me to realize that I need to do something about this.
Coach If you had all the power in the world that you need to change this, what would you do?
Michael Ben, please help me! This is a tough question. Well, I do know that Zig Ziglar is one of the world’s best sales trainers. If only I can tap into his “magic”
Coach Well, I know that Ziglar’s company has a train the trainer certification program. Since you are very experienced in sales and you have powerful presentation skills, would you consider being certified to train for the Ziglar’s Sales System and Ziglar’s Presentation Skill programs?
Michael That’s a brilliant suggestion. This is something that would strongly motivate me. If I can be a great trainer for my team, this will also help me become a better leader for them. I’ll add this to my action list
Coach Anything else you would like to do?
Michael Yes, I’m beginning to love this coaching process. I would also like to learn how to coach my team members to help them establish new habits
Coach I’m so pleased to hear that. Yes, I can certainly help you find a way to get certified as a professional coach. How would you rank this action step in terms of priority compared to the other items you have stated in your list?
Michael I would say that this is a high-priority item in the mid-term and the other items on my list are of a higher priority in the immediate term, so I would focus on them first.
Coach Well, it looks like we have a plan. How do you feel?
Michael I feel clear about what my goal is and how I’m going to achieve it, and I believe that I have been able to come up with a very good plan with your help. Thank you very much
Coach You are most welcome.

CASE STUDY: MICHAEL ’S STORY, PART 6

In this part of the coaching conversation, Michael and his coach plan out a system that will help him to keep track of his progress and the completion of action steps that enable him to achieve his goals

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Coach How would you know how things are progressing with you and your team on the breakthrough goal and the sub goals?
Michael Well, I could devise a scorecard that will help me keep track of things
Coach Tell me more about the scorecard
Michael I would like to have three scorecards: One for the breakthrough goal that all team members can see clearly on our notice board in the office as well as on our intranet. I will have another scorecard for my own personal action items; I’ll keep it on my organizer and carry it with me all the time at work. The third one for each team member for them to keep score of their own action items related to our breakthrough goal
Coach What will the first scorecard look like?
Michael It will show our breakthrough goal, the latest score updated each week, the difference between the latest score and the breakthrough goal, and the time period indicated.
Coach That’s a good one. What would the other two scorecards look like?
Michael For my team members, they will each have their targets that align with the overall breakthrough goal and a list of action items updated weekly. One scorecard will show action steps pending and in progress, with a target date for all of them. Another scorecard will show items accomplished, with date of completion. I will review each team member’s scorecard and plan with them at the beginning of each week. I plan to practice the coaching method each week when I have meetings with individual team members.
Coach That would be great. What about your personal scorecard?
Michael For me, I will use the same format that I just described for my team members; I’ll update you during each coaching session on how I’m progressing.
Coach You’ll have a lot of items on your scorecard and action list. How will you know which tasks are of higher priority?
Michael Well. The target dates on each item will in a way indicate the priority since only important tasks will be included. In addition I can still add a column to indicate a 1 to 10 rating on each task, 10 indicating the highest level of importance
Coach That would be good. In fact, devising and implementing the scorecard that you have just described is in itself an action step for you.
Michael Yes, indeed, an important action step. I will add this to my list
Coach What value do you see from having the scorecard?
Michael I see tremendous value. All team members will be able to know clearly at any point in time where we are going, how we are going to get there, and where we are at any point in time. We would be able to continuously make adjustments and improvements to achieve more. I believe this can help us realize our dreams.
Coach Could you please email me a copy of your scorecards before our next coaching sessions so that I can review them before we meet?
Michael Certainly, I’ll send you the format first for your feedback. Then you’ll get my fully updated scorecard a day before each coaching session. I will add this as another one of my important action items

CASE STUDY: MICHAEL ’S STORY, PART 7

The ongoing coaching conversation between Michael and his coach every two weeks is in itself a very important form of continuous support. This part of their coaching conversation demonstrates other forms of continuous support that were put into place to enable Michael to achieve his desired results

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Coach Now that you have a clear and compelling breakthrough goal and a substantial list of action steps, what support structures do you think could help ensure that you get these things accomplished?
Michael That’s a fantastic question, but I’m not sure if I have an answer
Coach So far you have already proven that you are far more capable than you imagine at coming up with good ideas.
Michael Well, for one thing. I feel that your constant support, encouragement and belief in me are definitely helping me.
Coach Good, I’m happy to do this. And I’m glad it’s helping you.
Michael In regard to your question, can I try and think like another wise person? How about Tony Robbins?
Coach Please, whatever works for you
Michael Support structures? Let me go through my list of action steps again. All right, I know establishing new habits take time and can be quite challenging, so I will schedule the future action items into my weekly planner on my iPhone and schedule reminders to ensure that I get everything done on time.
Coach I get excited when you start thinking like Tony Robbins. Tell me more.
Michael I will send a progress report to you be email at the start of each week
Coach Great, would you like me to enter this into my calendar program? That way reminders will be automatically sent toy you and me when a progress report is due.
Michael That would be fantastic
Coach Any more ideas?
Michael I think I’ll need someone in my workplace who can be my accountability partner, my CEO mentioned something about this a while back.
Coach Great idea. I’ve found that having an accountability partner really assists people in staying focused and getting results
Michael I’m thinking of asking my assistant manager, she’s really good with details and always follow up on things
Coach What would you like her to help you with as an accountability partner?
Michael The” nurturing pattern”. There are 8 very important action steps I need to take to accomplish that. She can help me to be accountable by having a follow-up meeting with me to ensure that I get things done according to my plan. Let me add this to my action list right now. I need someone to remind me to call my wife, whenever I’m feeling depressed. My secretary is very good at sensing when I’m down. She always asks me how I am. I’m confident she can support me by reminding me to call my wife.
Coach And, what do you think if in addition to our 90 minutes conversation every two weeks, I call you, for a 15 minute chat at the end of each week, just to see if I can support you in any way? Would you like that?
Michael I would be very grateful if you would do that. Thanks for going out of your way to continuously support me.
Coach I’m happy to do this. Now let’s look at what you think should be your first major milestone to reach in working toward your breakthrough goal of 40 million in sales?
Michael That would be when I have successfully replaced my sadistic pattern with the love and nurturing patterns
Coach How could you know when you have accomplished that?
Michael The best way would probably be to gather another written feedback from my team members 3 months from now.
Coach If the feedback shows the results that you are aiming for, how do you want to celebrate that accomplishment?
Michael Well, my family and I love to eat and drink, so I think it would be great to go out for a fabulous celebration feast at our favorite gourmet restaurant
Coach Good, schedule that on your calendar, and I look forward to congratulating you on that occasion. Well done.

CASE STUDY: MICHAEL ’S STORY, PART 8

To demonstrate the importance of accountability let’s go back to our friend Michael and his coach

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Coach Can we talk a little more about your accountability partners?
Michael Yes, that will be my assistant manager and my secretary. The assistant manager will follow up to ensure that I implement all the steps for the “nurturing patterns” and my secretary will remind me to call my wile when I am depressed to as to replace the sadistic pattern with the love pattern.
Coach That’s very clear on your side. Can you elaborate on how you will talk to them about being your accountability partner and what accountability question you want them to ask you?
Michael Good question. I’ll explain the problem of my undesired habits to my secretary and how I intend to solve them. I sense that she knows me well enough not to be surprised. The accountability question I’ll ask her to put to me is: “Michael , are you starting to feel down?” If my answer yes then she will follow up with the second question: “Would you like to call your wife right now?”
Coach Well done, how will you set up your next accountability partner?
Michael With my assistant manager, I’ll start by sharing my eight-point action plan to implement the “nurturing pattern” I’m confident that she’ll like it a lot. The accountability question for her to ask me will be, “Michael , for the whole of last week, how many of the action items have you fully accomplished?” If all of the eight items have not been fully accomplished then her next accountability question will be, “What would it take for you to accomplish all of the action items this week or should you revise the items?
Coach Well done again. Is there anything else that you would like to be held accountable for?
Michael Yes, there are two more very important things. First, is to ensure that in the next two months I’m certified and start training my team on the Ziglar’s Sales Systems and Presentation Skills program. Second, I need help to ensure that the scorecards are well implemented for me and all my team members.
Coach Excellence point. You want to be accountable for these two important goals, so who else can help you with this?
Michael On the first item, I will have my training director ask me weekly, are you on target with your certification and training delivery? If I’m not then he will follow up with the next accountability question: “What will you do to stay on target?” On the second item, I will have our finance manager ask me each month, “is the implementation of the scorecard up to expectation?” If my answer is no, then he should ask me, “how can I help you make it work better?” I will then ask for his support if needed to improve on the scorecard and its implementation.
Coach Well, we are almost coming to the end of our coaching session for today. There are plenty of action items for the next two weeks. I have noted them down. Would you please put them all together in one list indicating the timeline and status of each task and email them to me by tomorrow morning?
Michael Definitely. I’ll send this to you first thing tomorrow morning. I’m highly motivated about what this is going to produce for me, my family and my team. My Life feels more exciting than ever before. Thank you very much
Coach You’re always welcome. All the best wishes in getting things done. I will see you in two weeks to evaluate your progress.

Two weeks later

Coach Hello, Michael. How’re you doing?
Michael Better than ever. I’m excited to talk to you again.
Coach Very glad to hear that. I have looked through the progress report that you sent yesterday and from our fifteen minute conversation last week, I gather that you are making considerable progress. I’m keen to know more.
Michael Looking at the positive side, I have implemented the strategies and most of the action steps that I wanted to be held accountable for
Coach I have to say, I’m impressed with your progress. I admire your commitment. What would you say were your most satisfying accomplishments in the past two weeks?
Michael Three things stand out. First, after I thanked my staff for their feedback, and let them know that I’m committed to improve, I shared with them my plan and asked for their support. They were surprised, but it touched them, and they all pledged their support; they committed to work together as a team to help each other improve. Deep inside, everyone had the desire to be better than they were. Later, three of them came to ask for my forgiveness for some of their problematic behavior. We were in tears when I also apologized to them for the way in which I had treated them. The process of reconciliation was very successful
Coach That was a good one; what was the second thing?
Michael When I asked all of them to list their strengths and how they can contribute more to our team results, we got some very powerful input. For instance, two of our team members are gifted when it comes to gathering and analyzing data on target customers. When they started churning out the top target customer’s information last week and our team zoomed in on that, the sales surged 40% higher than the previous week.The third great thing was that when I used your coaching approach of asking great questions and creating buy-in. Each team member anonymously submitted their reply slip to me. They said they felt a strong sense of ownership toward our breakthrough goal, and we able to all happily agree on the 40 million sales target for this year.
Coach Well, congratulations on your many achievements. How do you feel?
Michael I feel on top of the world but not complacent. There is still a lot more to do. I missed out on two things, and I need help to solve this.
Coach Sure, let’s work on it
Michael In the past two weeks, I was overload with things to do and did not get in touch with Ziglar’s company for the certification program
Coach Is this something that you want to do?
Michael Yes, of course. It’s very important to me. I will keep this on the list for the next two weeks.
Coach Do you feel as if you are accountable to complete most of the tasks on your own, or can you get some help to handle things like this?
Michael You’re right. I need to delegate some tasks so I can accomplish more. I’ll pass the task of calling the people at Ziglar’s to my training manager
Coach Very good, what’s the second area?
Michael In the last two weeks, I noted at least 5 times when I felt depressed after problems emerged. I managed to interrupt the sadistic pattern with the humor pattern and replaced it with the love pattern 4 times but on the fifth time my sadistic pattern got hold of me and I had an outburst with a nasty supplier
Coach I’m curious. Please tell me how the creature managed to survive?
Michael My accountability partner was on leave and I lost the support that I need to help me keep my new habit. My secretary wasn’t around to remind me to call my wife on the day the supplier fouled up
Coach So put yourself in the shoes of Tony Robbins. What would you do if you were Tony Robbins?
Michael Well, Tony’s personality always knew what was important and what to do first. Let me think… Yes. I got it, I’ll ask my assistant manager or admin assistant whenever she is not around, since I know that in the next two to three months I’ll still need support to totally absorb my new habit.
Coach Fantastic, I’m confident that you will beat this
Michael Thanks, this accountability stuff’s really helping me.

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