Written by Rajita Suntharalingam
Mia, a recruiter and mother to two children, had many things going for her. Life was good until the pandemic struck. She was struggling with the recruitment business as most companies were either retrenching or had imposed a hiring freeze. This directly impacted her business.
Mia approached me to assist her with :-
- Atransition to include coaching into her recruitment business given that she embarked upon coaching during RMCO; and
- A planto facilitate this
At the Trial session with Mia, I listened deeply. Mia spent time relaying her need for a coach, her expectations, the scope of work and most importantly, her commitment to this journey. Her sharing of the situation she was in and the goal that she wanted to achieve gave me an indication of the frame she was in. I took the opportunity to explain, amongst others, the ICF core competencies, assured her of my commitment to keep all sessions confidential, the need for honesty and the terms of engagement.
Mia was also briefed on the 7 coaching protocols and tools that will be adopted which will serve as a framework during this coaching journey.
We then formalised the Coaching Agreement.
I gave her the Client’s Coaching Goals and Direction to fill up and submit prior to our next session so that I would have a better understanding of her, her attributes and learning style.
- Coachshould demonstrate boldness when talking about fees and structure
On reflection, I realised that I needed to be bolder and courageous to talk about my fee structure. This is not something I am used to and I sensed my own discomfort when quoting the fees. I learnt that the fees are part of the business structure and I need to be professional and display that I am worth the fees that I quote.
At our next session, we started with the Contracting stage. As part of the protocol, I explained to Mia that this entailed working towards the goal she wanted to achieve and how she would prefer for me to play my role as her coach.
Mia and I spent a considerable amount of time on this part of our coaching relationship. From time to time we referred to the Client’s Coaching Goals and Direction to provide a better understanding of her situation.
One of the key skills I employed at this stage was to actively listen and create a safe space where she felt she could openly share. I had some initial chatter with her to get her to fully relax and ensure that both, she and I, were present at that conversation. As she lacked clarity in thought about her predicament, getting her to be present was challenging. This, coupled with her sharing of her dilemma, gave me an understanding of her disempowering frame.
Once I sensed that she was fully settled and ready to spill more, we moved deeper. She shared on how her she had lost approximately RM120,000 in the past 8 months due to the slowdown in recruitment and she needed to start coaching to inject life into her business to generate revenue. Hers and the livelihood of her family depended on this. There was therefore urgency for her to act.
We then worked towards the goal she wanted to achieve, to incorporate coaching into her current recruitment business.
She also wanted this goal to clearly set out the following:-
- Provide a strategic overview on how she would implement coaching in her business; and
- Lista step by step guide on how she would execute her
We agreed that this goal would be called her Business Enhancement Goal Plan.
Once we determined her goal, we discussed the role that she wanted me to play, which she identified as tracking her from time to time. As someone who has embarked into coaching, she also wanted me to use my experience in coaching to help her in areas that she may not have thought through and to challenge her for any inconsistencies.
I suggested that she document her goal plan as I felt she needed to own this goal. She agreed.
- Documentingthe Goal Plan
It was important to get Mia to document the goal plan as I felt this would not only ensure that she was fully immersed into the whole journey but it would be a good way to ascertain that she understood what she set her goalplan to be. Documenting would also be a form of commitment to herself and a means for her to constantly look back and affirm that goal.
- Coachshould not hesitate to reigning the client in when needed One of the challenges I faced here was reigning Mia I was not confident of interjecting, though my gut was to do exactly that. She was initially consumed with her emotional state and the repercussions to her business as a result of the pandemic. Whilst this was
understandable, she would constantly ramble and I had to have the courage to interject and reign her in each time that happened. It would have been a lot easier for me to be compliant and let her pour her emotions out, but I realised that she would not move forward with that approach. Eventually, through several direct questions, she understood that to move ahead, she needed to focus on working towards her goal.
As we moved into Discovery, I highlighted that this would entail learning about areas which would matter most for her to achieve her Business Enhancement Goal Plan and outlining the desired outcomes for each of this area.
I started with asking her why she thought coaching should be a part of her business. Curiously, Mia was not keen to explore training which most recruiters do, as she felt that coaching would allow someone to delve deeper and with that, unleash their true potential. Simply, in her mind, coaching would be an asset.
We touched on some details relating to her business, the P & L of her business and how she could last only for another year with what was reflected on her balance sheet.
We then moved into what were needed to be present to achieve her Goal. Securing Local and International Clients
One of the first things she identified was the ability to secure clients, locally and internationally. An outcome she wanted was to generate RM120,000 through 12 clients over the period of one year. She felt this was realistic as she needed to spend 2 ½ hours a week to coach to achieve this.
This was not adequate as charging RM1000 per session appeared excessive at this stage. I enquired if she herself would approach a coach who was raw, inexperienced and charging RM1000 per session. It took her a long pause and after doing the calculations, she agreed that she would need to secure at least 20 clients over the period of one year to achieve RM120,000.
Achieving ICF ACC and PCC Credentials
To achieve her goal, securing the ICF ACC/PCC credentials were important as it would lend credibility to her stature as a coach. As she only had approximately 50odd hours under her belt, Mia needed another 45 hours to become an ACC by June 2021 and another 445hours to become a PCC coach by December 2024.
At this juncture, I questioned Mia that 2024 was too far away. Whilst she felt that this was a comfortable timeframe for her, with a lot of push, she came to a realisation that securing higher management corporate clients with just an ACC, was insufficient. She needed the PCC accreditation sooner. She also realised that some of the coaching she would do in the
interim would assist her with clocking those PCC hours. Her outcome was then to achieve ACC by June 2021 and PCC by June 2022.
Lastly, determining her coaching product was also important. She needed to determine her niche, how the sessions would be packaged and the value of the package. A successful outcome she identified was to package career and onboarding coaching with 10 sessions, valued at RM500 per session.
I then wrapped up and summarised the three areas which she felt were important for her to achieve to goal and the associated desired outcomes for each of these areas. She confirmed these were accurate and we agreed to document them so that it could be used as a reference point at a later stage.
- Coachshould demonstrate courage and able to challenge Challenging her as there were inconsistencies was I nevertheless had to in relation to her pillars so that there was more depth to them. It did not appear realistic to only complete PCC in 2024. To charge clients RM1,000 for career coaching with just an ACC accreditation was also not realistic. Challenging her garnered that mutual respect in our relationship and also made me realise that I would not be able to help her move forward without challenging her.
2) The Ability to ask powerful Questions
Initially, it took a while before I could frame the questions properly but with simple and pointed questions, the answers made Mia herself ponder and raise her own awareness. One instance was when I asked her if she would approach an inexperienced coach and pay him RM1,000 for each session. It was then that she realised that she would have to revise her planned rates.
Framing my questions is something I definitely need to work on more. I also need to be fully present so that I am able to fully feel the client’s concern and reservations and ask the right questions.
Packaging the Career and Onboarding Sessions
We moved to the Deep Learning stage and we brainstormed together what she needed to specifically do to achieve the desired outcomes she outlined. As her coach, I wanted her to move forward and therefore, requested that she focus on which outcome would have the biggest impact on achieving her goal. For Mia, packaging the career and onboarding coaching was most important. As Mia preferred to have a step by step guide to this, we worked on how she could come up with the product.
She had to:-
- outlinethe objectives of this product;
- identify strategicoutcomes
- identifyher target market,
- workout her pricing and hours; and
She agreed that she would have this done in 2 weeks so that we could move further at the next session. I also gave her the Self Accountability Monitor as her homework.
One of the challenges she highlighted was her busy schedule where her kids were concerned which could throw her off course. She also felt that as this was new, she feared on how to put the product together. After much thought, she felt that the best way was to carry out extensive research, speak to her mentor, ask some friends and work on the product, once she had finished with the kids for the day. Mia felt a lot more empowered after the sessions as she felt that she had worked on her own plan slowly and that she had tangible outcomes, albeit small ones, that moved her forward.
Securing 20 Clients over one year
As she already had a name in the recruitment business, Mia identified the key clients she would approach to pitch her product to. She was fairly confident of securing two corporate clients who had been talking to her during the CMCO and was on the verge of committing four of their managers each. All they needed to see was the product. The CMCO stalled the progress of her discussions and she was looking to resume them, in person, once it was lifted. To her, this was already “8” clients.
She planned to approach her other clients as well and she named these clients as well as the contact persons.
She also recalled all her previous success stories on securing clients for her recruitment business and she listed out the steps adopted then could help her here too. It ranged from calling the clients, arranging meetings, pitching the product, following up with subsequent meetings (in person or remotely), giving the client the space to consider and further follow ups.
In addition to this she felt that postings on LinkedIn would be needed. However as she was not so used to putting herself out there on social media, she felt that she would have to craft messages that didn’t sound so much like a marketing pitch. This was a real roadblock for her. After much thinking, she felt that she would have to seek the assistance of a good friend on crafting those posting as she had to make sure the posts did not appear ‘cheap”.
Achieving ACC and PCC by June 2021 and June 2022
Whilst working on peer coaching to hone in on her skills, Mia also felt that once she commenced coaching with her existing clients that would build her hours.
Her busy schedule with her children would be a challenge but she was determined to make this work. She needed the money. She would schedule her peer coaching sessions during the weekend and on weekdays, when she could. She would also schedule her coaching sessions with her clients during the weekdays when the children were in school so that she could fully commit to it. She identified time frames and specific dates she could dedicate to this.
- Actionslisted must move client forward and add value
As part of what she needed we brainstormed on the extrinsic and intrinsic actions to achieve the respective desired outcomes. As the actions she listed gave her tangible things to work on to move forward, she felt better. This was a very fulfilling feeling as Mia herself shared she progressed tremendously from where she started. This also gave her added confidence to be bold to move further.
Mia’s Business Enhancement Goal Plan was then finalised, we worked on setting the priorities on which ones needed to be worked on first. As she was feeling very positive from having the step by step and detailed actions, documenting all this would be a method to track her progress.
In addition to that, I asked Mia to track her actions over the next few weeks and have that sent to me two days before our next session. This would give me an indication of her commitment, her understanding and how determined she was to take this further.
1) Important to have client document their own action plan
This would be a good way of having the client own their own action plan, track it and know that they are accountable for it.
As we have not covered the next sessions on Tracking and Auditing, I will not be covering this in this write up.