Coaching Case Study- Advancing an In-House Career

John Jones* is an officer within the legal department of a publicly-traded company. Given the volume and fast pace of his work, he decided to personally invest in a professional coach to help him deal with a variety of issues, including managing employees at all levels, communicating effectively (both internally -up and down within the corporate structure, and externally – wearing a dual hat as attorney and business person), developing an executive presence within the corporate structure, goal-setting and time management.John had long been familiar and intrigued with the idea of a personal coach, and had the fortune of knowing Debra Bruce in her prior law practice. The decision to use Debra “was a no-brainer,” as they already had a strong comfort level for the type of candid, no-holds-barred relationship between a coach and client.

“Having worked with Debra a number of years in private practice, I had always had the highest regard for her legal skills. However, I have been even more impressed by her skills as an executive coach. There have been numerous times where I have felt like I was the victim of criticism for something I did at work. Debra taught me that people were not necessarily criticizing me as an individual, but rather, critical of an unsuccessful or unpleasant process or policy. Today, I’m much less defensive and more confident in what I’m doing because I no longer internalize what I used to feel as criticism. I better understand my audience’s insecurities and issues, so I’m more focused and empathetic rather than defensive and angry. She even made me look in a mirror to examine my body language, so my non-verbal communication wouldn’t project the wrong attitude or send bad signals to whomever I was communicating with. She’s helped me gain a much-desired “executive presence” with not only my team but with senior management at the company, and become the leader and professional I always wanted to be.”

When John had to fire an unproductive employee, “Debra’s advice and guidance was invaluable. She coached me through the scenario so I could overcome anxiety and guilt. The process and outcome of the termination went as smoothly as possible.”

John takes notes during his weekly sessions with Debra, and over several years, has become “more focused and composed at everything I do.” In fact, because John became such a fan of coaching and of Debra’s process in particular, he had his entire team take the DiSC Behavior Style Profile. “The results for every individual were so on the mark, it made a huge impact on how we could better work together. It gave both Debra and me more credibility, and most importantly, my team has improved its efficiency and productivity by 50-60%.” John has felt so strongly about the positive results that he personally paid for Debra to make several luncheon presentations to his team. Additionally, the added benefit to the professional coaching has bled over into his personal life as well. “Perhaps it was inevitable that the application of advice and guidance by Debra in my professional life would bleed over into my personal life, but I no longer fret over non-essential things and have gained more balance between work and home. However, the greatest single benefit I’ve gained from coaching came when I became an officer of my company and increased my managerial responsibilities. This is a place where few people are officers, so I knew that I was achieving the kind of professional and personal respect I’ve long strived for.”

“I’m a huge fan of coaching and believe we all have room for improvement. Debra goes above and beyond hand-holding and is always there, whenever you need her. Even my wife has seen the transformation in my skills and personality, and my boss is thrilled with my professional evolution. Debra’s a great sounding board and someone I look forward to working with for many months to come. I heartily recommend her to my staff and all my attorney friends and colleagues. She’s really made a tremendous difference in everything I’ve accomplished.”

* Name changed to protect confidentiality