Coaching: A Case Study

Coaching: A Case Study



Coaching: A Case Study

Carl Rogers developed a person-centered approach that is centered on communication and trust. Peliter (2010) argues that people have a tendency of developing a constructive and positive attitude if they are subjected to a climate of trust and respect. He vouches for client responsibility and involvement in the process. Primarily, the Rogerian approach is centered three principles namely, non-judgmental, empathy, and listening. Empathy in particular requires the coach imagine himself or herself in a similar situation in order to grasp the problem. Ultimately, maintaining an open mind allows non-judgmental ideas to overcome rumors or preconceptions.

The idea behind the Rogerian approach is capable of enhancing a coach’s effectiveness; something that requires establishing a relationship and making it the foundation. Creating such a relationship enables smooth and appropriate handling of issues. Therefore, a relationship is vital especially when issues emotionally charged or sensitive thus enabling the coach to address the client without fear of rejection. Because this approach is centered on independent thinking and mentally stable individuals, it fosters an attractive force between subordinates and executives alike. In this regard, this paper looks to provide an informed cases study where I play the role of a coach. My main objective involves finding a client in need of coaching; formulate a coaching centered on a specific research method.  

Role Play

The client is aged 42 and a professional at his field of work. We have been working together for the last four years. I began supervising him immediately after being posted in the department. At the time, the client was well informed regarding work proceedings in the department. We still went on to tackle the learning assignment job regardless. Six months into the study allowed me to identify some tendencies in the client. For example, he was having a difficult time following instructions and making decisions. Additionally, he did not follow up his decisions and failed to notify me of situations when they happened. He also did not pay attention to details and failed to recognize the relevance of important information.

After I was done evaluating his performance, I acknowledged the need to set up goals designed to rectify his shortcomings. I also decided to apply support systems that would enable him to become more successful. A time management program was seen as necessary that would help the client manage his time effectively and finish his work in time. In particular, I ran him through Microsoft Outlook, calendar and manager lessons to assist his time management issue. These lessons were also a way of enhancing prioritizing and following up. I also gave the client a list that highlighted pending items and his accomplishments. He was supposed to update this list at a regular basis and forward me the details electronically.

The Challenge

The challenge of this case involves training the client to change his way of thinking. There was need to train the client to work both autonomously and as a team member. The client needed to focus on accountability, responsibility, and time management. As the client accepts responsibility over his duties, I would then have enough time to work on other projects and relieve me the pressure of monitoring his problem.


The client and I have been colleagues for four years. Initially, the coaching began with a process of establishing a relationship with the client. The relationship was centered on making him feel at ease about the process. At this point, the client and I discussed his career goals right after he completed pursuing a master’s degree. We also talked about his career objectives and constructed a rapport designed to make him feel comfortable talking to me about his problems and issues. The triumph of a coaching activity lies with the relationship between the coach and the client. A favorable environment is necessary to help the client become comfortable as he grows and develops beyond his current challenges. Additionally, the client needs identify and acknowledge his shortcomings and work on them. To achieve this, there is need to inculcate new skills that will also facilitate coaching.

Listening skills are a prerequisite for a successful coach. Listening to the client therefore is necessary in order to foster progress require to improve upon the existing issues. The skill of listening also befalls the client as well. As such, this would allow me to establish a relaxed and open environment. Clients are most comfortable discussing his or her issues when comfortable around the coach. Excellent utilization of listening skills helps to certify the specific help needed by the client. Such skills also enable the coach become improved in the field. Throughout the coaching process, it is imperative that the coach and client establish a relationship that satisfies the client and achieves the set objectives. This form of relationship can enable the client focus on the goals of the study and determine how to achieve them. Ultimately, the success of the coaching study depends on this relationship.  

Assessment Tool Models

The coaching process achieves its objectives when the client acknowledges the existing issues and whether he or she is able and willing to work for positive change. The coaching process is also able to achieve its objectives when the client is motivated. As stated earlier, listening is an effective way of motivating the client as well as giving him or her reflection time. Success in this case is a catalyst to motivation. However, it is important to recognize the fact that listening is an underestimated tool. Consequently, full application of listening skills discourages the coach from judging especially when others are talking. Ultimately, conversations yield more success when the client listens to the coach.

With the above considerations in mind, I started the session by asking the client a series of questions. Asking questions together with making observations and taking notes allowed me to identify issues and propose measures that encourage positive results. Flaherty (2011) argues that there are daily and weekly journal questions that client is supposed to ask him or herself. Such questions are supposed inculcate change in the client. These questions are listed below:

  • What gave me the most energy at work today?
  • What discouraged me most at work today?
  • What patterns do I see emerging from what I am observing in this exercise? What actions will I take about what I have observed?
  • What specific, observable outcomes did I produce?
  • What excuses, stories or justifications do I have for not producing the outcomes I said I would produce?
  • What events, people, or personal limitations got in the way of these outcomes?
  • How do I feel about what I have observed here?
  • What action will I take from what I observed?

Assessment Process and Results

The client was expected to formulate a journal made up the questions listed above for goal reflection, review, and setting. As such, the client would have an opportunity to move forward, mark milestones, and notice change.


In this exercise, Tonya Lagroon assumes the role of coach and Albert is the client. In terms of issue, the client has openly admitted that he is disappointed by his performance evaluation. Mawoli and Bandako (2011) argue that motivation is a key factor that influences the performance of an employee. Albert in this case has been receiving performance evaluations for the past four years. The evaluation aims to improve three key areas that include payment of attention, taking ownership of work, and adhering to the work schedule. Currently, Albert is pursing a master’s degree. He considers himself a hard-worker and superior employee. He agreed to participate in the coaching process in order to change his work habits and learn his merits and demerits in the process. Mawoli and Bandako (2011) argue that there is a connection between job performance, an employee’s ability to complete the assigned task and the accomplished task contribution to the organizational goals.

Observation 1

Albert has a positive attitude and is open to positive change. However, he seemingly does not focus on his work when he is on attendance. The coach in this case is expected to play two roles. The first role is that of a leader and that of a motivator. The coach needs to motivate Albert to make correct decisions rather than just those that feel right. The client in turn needs to understand the coach’s perspective and use facts of evidence when making decisions. Lagroon in this case observes that Albert has a tendency of engaging in conversation even when he is supposed to be working. Albert confessed an interest in the medical field and desire to work as an administrator. However, he has not taken any steps towards achieving this goal. This is probably because he contented by his current job. Notably, Albert failed to answer all questions laid out on the list.

An observation analysis revealed that Albert acts according to what the employer wants instead of doing what is required. He confessed that acted by doing what was required rather than what was asked of him. In this regard, he acknowledged the need to change his behavior and decided to start writing down instructions and working to follow them. In case instructions appear ambiguous, he would seek clarification before beginning his task.  


The treatment process began by asking the client questions. These questions revolved around his observations and the notes he had taken after completing the questions list. I required the client to write his answers in a journal to facilitate this process. In response, Albert stated that he would follow it up by taking breakfast first thing when he came to work. Consequently, he would take notes on his food journal since he was on a diet and therefore needed to keep track of his menu. After breakfast, he would send a list of his goals to the supervisor as well as the tasks he needed to complete by the end of the day. Thereafter he began working on the goals he outlined for that day. However, Albert did not discuss all questions. Instead, he felt comfortable discussing questions he considered most passionate.

            Albert believed that he did not receive appreciation for his contributions in the company. To certify this statement, Albert argued that he was never recognized in the company’s annual services awards despite working hard to help his supervisor. His responsibilities include reserving a room for the ceremony, helping to arrange the room, helping with the list of the employee names receiving an award, and ascertaining that all gifts are labeled. He acknowledges that the problem that affects the venue every year. He states that he oversees his task of making reservations but the management fails to confirm in advance.

            Nevertheless, Albert does not consider this a major problem and states that it can be resolved through affirmative action. This year in particular, the manager asked Albert about the date of reservation and he responded by saying that he would e-mail the manager the relevant details. However, he did not follow through with this task as required in July because he felt he had sufficient time since the event was scheduled to take place in November. Albert admitted that he had a tendency of procrastinating but failed to acknowledge the fact that he had not completed the task. He feels that details are not necessary and the most important thing involves working on the task and communicating the results to the supervisor. He felt that his behavior is passive aggressive.

            Primarily, employees have a tendency of simulating a behavior of entitlement especially when they have worked for a company for several years (Fitzgerald and Berger, 2012). This kind of employees feel that they posses significant interest in the company. As such, having this feeling normally causes an employee to make important decisions independent of their superiors. In certain cases, such decisions turn out to hinder the best interests of the company. Therefore, it is safe to conclude that certain decisions made by an employee may not reflect choices made by the employer.

Observation 2

In due course, the client is bound to exhibit progress he familiarizes himself with the process of coaching client relationship. At this point, the notes from the daily undergo review for the second time. This reveals that subjecting the client to repetitive questions brings out improvement in his line of work. Albert reveals that he has decided to complete tasks he has been assigned. Flaherty (2010) produced an assessment model that explained the five elements model; Albert has been subjected to immediate concerns. His actions are centered mainly on what is on his mind. For example, taking notes in his journal to control his weight because he does not want it to get out of control.


Treatment involved reviewing the notes in Albert’s journal. The notes included observations regarding he made regarding what he thought of his work. It is imperative that the client foster skills designed to help him deal with future issues. Albert also observed that he had a hard time keeping focus on the assigned tasks all the while keeping a free mind from his immediate concerns. Furthermore, the client believed that the major issue was lack of appreciation from his supervisor. As such, this led the client to consider switching jobs or pursuing another profession.

In this regard, the coaching process intends to help him improve his decision-making. Primarily, the first step involves establishing a comfortable working relationship with the client. After this is achieved, the client should be able to open up about his goals and work (Telles-Langdon, 2009). The coaching process will also help in making clear conclusions as to why Albert feels unappreciated and whether he is willing to continue working for the company. Albert started pursuing his career at college level because the institution offered tuition assistance when he was taking classes. Albert also stated his interest in the nursing career especially the administrative field.

Being in such a situation requires the client to make a decision and choose the line of work he feels is best suited for him. Furthermore, the client needs to explore the reason behind his dissatisfaction; it is imagined or genuine or whether his actions led to the feeling. Pertaining to the considerations above, the client chose to continue pursuing his current line of work. In this regard, he has embraced fully the aspect of continuing his current job even though it does not suit his skills and talents. Nevertheless, he is in a position to deal with work related problems in the future.

            Additionally, the client was able to foster a comfortable relationship with the coach after reviewing the reasons behind his dissatisfaction. Telles-Langdon (2009) notes that adversities need to be handled by openness, honesty and tackling the issue head-on. Honesty in this case mitigates the underlying problem effectively. The person in question needs to first identify his or her goals and interests. Thereafter, the client lists down his skills, weaknesses, and strengths, and investigate various job opportunities to verify whether the choice he made was best suited for him.

Coaching Approach and Short-Term Goals

According to Peltier (2010), targeting short-term goals with the coaching approach should involve setting contingencies, achievable and measurable goals, involving other parties in the change process, reinforcement and continual observance of useful models to help him or her increase exposure to successful exemplars (pp. 98-99). In this regard, Albert and I concluded that we would list down behaviors that needed to be changed, and establish quantifiable. This strategy is supposed to indicate when to deem the consistent change successful. Thus, this would signal when to implement a coaching behavioral change. According to Peltier (2010), this fosters congruence meaning that aligns thought, and behavior feeling.

  1. Client is Lacking in Effective (Active) Listening Skills
    1. Action plan. Primarily, the art of active listening leads to transmission of ideas and the conveyance of clear thought when practiced. When communicating in the workplace, the receiver is often advised to recite verbally what he or she has heard to certify that the message has been conveyed.
    1. Successful implementation of the action goal. The goal of this plan will be deemed successful when the client understands and is able to recite the assigned tasks adequately and consistently.
  2. Client Lacking in of Focus and Attention to Detail
    1. Action plan. Lacking in focus and attention to detail are two parallel behaviors. However, they can be attended to at the same time. The strategy to alleviate this problem involves following up all verbal instructions in writing. Conversely, it can also involve asking the client to take a transcript of the instructions. Consequently, this should be followed by creating a task list that favors both focus and attention to detail.
    1. Successful completion of goal. The goal of this plan will be deemed successful when the client is able to remain focused in his work and pays attention to instructions given by his supervisors.
    1. Procrastination by the Client
    1. Action plan. Benchmarking and updates are two suitable methods of dealing with procrastination. These involve formulating a to-do list or task list every day and reviewing them at the end of the day. Doing this lays a plan for recognizing tasks completed successfully and identifying tasks yet to be attended.
    1. Successful completion of goal. For the client to complete this goal successfully he or she will need to review or report updates with the coach in a timely manner. Doing this will render this goal successfully complete. Initially the client and coach are obligated to carry out the review; however, this responsibility will fall to the client as his behaviors improve and mature eventually.
  3. Client’s Share of Accountability and Consequences
    1. Action plan. Recognition and reward are two major determinants of accountability and consequences in the workplace (Fitzgerald and Berger, 2012). Recognition and perhaps rewards will be given as the client improves. For example, such rewards may include free lunch, extra paid-time off (PTO), a card, or even recommendation to a higher position.
    1. Successful completion of goal. Regarding coaching a person’s behavior, holding back recognition and reward is enough to discourage an employee from practicing listening techniques. Conversely, it encourages procrastination, lack of focus and attention to detail. Ultimately, this goal will be considered successful when the negative consequences are mitigated.


The following case study represents the scope of coaching engagement. Such a process includes a process and solutions coming from that process. Ultimately, it was necessary to attain permission from the client to facilitate this exercise. Permission was sought after and the client obliged to take part in the study. It was necessary to engage in a bonding activity with the client to establish trust to enable smooth and appropriate handling of issues. Trust is vital especially in scenarios that involve sensitive issues. After these prerequisites were attained, I received the go ahead to assume a coaching role and engaging in a coaching exercise with the client.

The client was excited by the aspect of coaching. He acknowledged that his department was not functioning at optimum point and was open for ideas that would lead to positive results. For this reason, he was open to coaching. In conclusion, the two models used in this study are borrowed from the Rogerian Person-Centered approach to coaching. Regarding this approach, the client is bound to become less defensive and more open to necessary therapeutic changes. This can only be achieved if the four therapist attitudes, congruence, accurate empathy, unconditional positive regard, and genuineness are instilled into the client. The attitude portrayed in this case study by the coach closely models Carl Rogers, and his three basic attitude approaches to person-centered behavioral change.


Brown, E. L. (2012). Improving staff motivation and competence in an organization. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

Fitzgerald, C., & Berger, J. G. (2012). Executive coaching: Practices & perspectives. Palo Alto, CA: Davies-Black Pub.

Flaherty, J. (2010). Coaching: Evoking excellence in others. Elsevier Butterworth Heinemann.

Peltier, B. (2010). The psychology of executive coaching: Theory and application. New York: Brunner-Routledge.

Mawoli, M. A. & Babandako, A. Y. (2011). An evaluation of Staff Motivation, Dissatisfaction and Job performance in an academic setting. Australia: Australian Journal of Business and Management

Schneider, J. I., Hashizume, J., Heak, S., Maetani, L., Ozaki, R. R., & Watanabe, D. L. (2011). Identifying challenges, goals and strategies for success for people with diabetes through life coaching. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 34, 2, 129-139.

Telles-Langdon, D (2009). How can coaches manage conflict-of-interest? Coaches plan/plan Du \Coach. Moscow: Sub Cutainer.

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