As a coach, it is important to know how to connect with patients to allow them feel comfortable talking about their problems during psychology sessions. In the process, the healthcare professional also increases his or her body of knowledge by evaluating the client’s social, emotional, and physical needs. This is an e-portfolio about my coaching sessions with client B when the client talked about her problems and ambitions as I tried to help her work towards being mentally and emotionally prepared. The key elements of the sessions involved understanding the patient and solving her problems using models such as the Karpmann triangle, GROW, strengthoscope, and solution-focused theories. A qualitative analysis of both the patient’s and coach’s performance is also covered. The results of the sessions showed that using theoretical models significantly improved interaction and problems-solving in mentorship sessions.
Clients’ social, emotional, and physical environments are some of the most important element that I have learned as client B’s coach. Through the report, I documented and tracked our coaching sessions. Client B talked about her personal experiences as I tried to explain how her social, emotional, and physical encounters influenced her thinking. It was an opportunity to explore and evaluate theories such as the Karpman Triangle, GROW, and brainstorming. I learned how to apply them while evaluating my client’s psychological state. Specifically, the Karpman Drama triangle was an effective tool for evaluating the client’s progress during the sessions. The use of brainstorming played a critical role in enhancing my creativity for conducting solution-focused learning and relating to the client on a more personal level (Grow Model). Despite the fact that I helped the client to become more confident, I also experienced personal and professional growth.
Background Information on Coach
My name is ХХХ, and I have been studying psychology for the past three years. I specialized in recovery, mental health, and emotional coaching. I have been teaching and coaching students for the past two years. Health coaching focuses on managing stress towards achieving different emotional or psychological goals. It was a defining moment for me because I understood how the stability of the social environment in the family affects one’s mental health.
Reasons for Coaching
I want to be a professional coach because I have had first-hand experiences on the negative effects of poor mental health on work-life balance. I have had experience taking care of a patient suffering from depression, and I understand the healing process. The family environment played also a significant role in mental healing (Stern 2008). I chose this module because I wanted to learn how to empower them to be actively involved in their lives. I also wanted to know more about the efficacy and relevance of the psychological theories that I could use in my coaching career. More importantly, I want to learn about how to engage patients more productively and know how to structure my coaching sessions to suit every client’s health needs.
I chose client B because I could relate to her experiences on a personal level. I have been in a relationship where I was clingy, and it reached a point where it was very toxic for both of us so we had to split. It was a difficult decision, but I managed to build myself and become a strong, independent, and successful woman. I could use these experiences to help my client. Client B’s key theoretical drivers from week 6-12 included being independent and confident, pursuing a degree, and improving her relationship with her husband (Supervision preparation). Our coaching arrangement began with outlining the terms of engagement, writing a personal development plan, determining the ice-breaker activities, understanding the client’s background, and introducing myself to the client on a more personal level (Coaching Review Form 1 of 4). The coaching sessions would last for one and a half hours at the Westminster Business School (Supervision Preparation). The key theoretical drivers for weeks 6-12 include the GROW model, appreciative discovery for engaging the client, supplementary questions, and the Kapman triangle (Log of Coaching). My personal theoretical approach was grounded on the fact that people can be anything as long as they are committed to it (Exume 2017). As a coach, I should be able to let the client get in touch with her feelings in the best way possible so that she can commit to her goals. At end of my coaching session, I wanted to enhance my skills, know how to communicate effectively, and become more aware of issues and barriers during sessions.
Coaching Philosophy and Strategy
When we began I was hoping for very interactive sessions with my client, but this was not the case. Client B took time opening up because she had low self-esteem. I realized that she was a client who was dependent on her husband, and so it would take time to become accustomed to making her own decisions and pursuing them without his approval. I learned how to follow my client’s interests closely and encouraged her to talk more about her feelings by making her feel comfortable. I will be patient with her to improve further.
My Personal Development Plan
We would have four sessions. I would engage the client by asking questions and using theories to try understand her better. Supplementary questions, theoretical models, and evaluation forms would help me improve my interactions with the client as well as assess my coaching track record. The Johari window was instrumental in helping me understand the client’s strengths and weaknesses. We talked about what the client knew about herself and what she learnt from what people knew about her personality (Johari Window). Through the sessions, we would talk about the client’s ambitions and their compatibility t her personality.
In the first session, I did not achieve as much as I expected because we were still getting to know each other. Client B was hesitant most of the times so I had to ensure that I created an environment where the client was comfortable speaking and asking questions. We talked about ourselves, families, and preferences (Coaching Review Form 1 of 4). However, I allowed the client to speak most of the time to build her confidence. We also signed the contract agreement with a beforehand discussion about the key principles of confidentiality and being non-judgmental (Contract for Coaching). The contract also covered responsibility and commitment, confidentiality, commitments, reviews, and evaluations. We went through the personal development plan where the client had outlined the goals, action, success criteria, and the target date (Personal Development Plan). The ice-breakers made the session livelier. Besides the ‘psychosynthesis’ therapy, mediation helped calm my client (Coaching Review Form 1of 4). Going through the plan helped me connect with the client as I allowed the client to talk more.
In the second session, I used psychological approaches using the strength card and the strengthoscopes so that the client could feel positive about herself. We discussed the ‘nine conditions of flow’ and activity ‘microflow’ that allowed the client to have a better perspective about her goals (Strengthoscope). She reflected on her goals and even asked questions (Coaching Review Form 2 of 4). This was unlike her in the first session. I think it was a successful session because the client initiated most of the conversations and asked questions. Empathic listening of a client allows them become more confident and secure (Johnson & Kaslow 2014). The client becomes more comfortable because she feels valued and in charge of the situation. Thus, the use of various approaches and engaging activities made the sessions more interesting.
In session three, my main objective was to ensure that the client reached 50% of her goals. Here, we used the GROW model, Kapman triangle, and solution focused training tools such as miracle and supplementary questions. The latter helped the client think about how she was going to pursue her goals and the amount of effort it would take for her to achieve them (Coaching Review Form 3 of 4). We used the Karpman triangle to understand the nature of sacrifices she had to make to realize her dreams. The model helps clients evaluate their dysfunctional relationships and be in control of their lives (Berg 2014). After our second session, I felt more confident in asking my client random questions, which is a skill that proved useful when applying the Karpman triangle. The basic concept of this model is the relationship between power, responsibility, and vulnerability, and I used it to understand my client’s insight and behavior. At the end of the session, the client had registered significant mini goals and was more enthusiastic to tackle more challenges (Coaching Review Form 3 of 4). This session helped me realize my potential and become more focused on my personal and professional goals while placing the client at the center of my progress.
In our last session, I assessed my client’s progress by allowing her to conduct our meeting. My goal was to determine our way forward, evaluate myself and receive feedback about my performance of the previous sessions from my client, prepare for supervision, and assess the client’s satisfaction on my performance (Coaching Review Form 4 of 4). We talked about her academic progress and her relationship with her husband. She was confident that she would achieve her goals and was enthusiastic about escalating them. As for the coaching evaluation and feedback, I scored highly, and the client was positive that the program was indeed helpful to jumpstart her career. The most memorable moment for my client was when we used the gestalt approach because she learned how to voice her opinions and feelings (Coaching Evaluation Feedback; Coaching/Mentoring Evaluation Form). The appraisal of the progress was essential in identifying successes and failures occurred in the process.
All the sessions were successful apart from the first one. I connected more with the client, which was evident in her feedback. I understood the theories better, and I could apply all of them in different scenarios. I will also contact my supervisor for feedback about my progress and how to improve on my areas of weakeness. The client became more confident.
Summary of Reflections
I have become more aware of what I need to do with my listening and comprehension skills to help my clients do better. I have improved my skills in helping my client understand better their strengths and weaknesses to become a better person. For instance, when we were doing her life chart, I allowed her to talk about her experiences without interjecting, which made her feel appreciated and talk even more. When she talked about her miscarriage, I understood her problems better and her motivation for wanting to become more independent (Client B’s Life Chart). I used the chart to highlight how some of the sad moments in her life affect her decision-making process and we suggested ways that she could overcome them completely. Before our session, I was not a very patient listener, and I did not know how to apply the Karpman’s triangle and solution-focused strategies in real-life situations. I learned how to simplify problems using the models and to help my client develop deeper insights about her goals. I was happy that I managed to help her to achieve more than 50% of her goals.
I took notes during all the sessions and recorded our tasks. At the end of every session, I reviewed the records of progress to evaluate my performance and client’s (Supervision Preparation). The records and reviews are important for keeping track of the process and verification if the objectives set are met (Bluckert 2009). As for the ethics of coaching, we began by signing a contract for coaching that covered issues on confidentiality, responsibility, and practicalities of our meetings. I learned that the client’s comfort depends on my ability to allow her talk more without interruptions (Progress Review). Making the client feel valued is one of the most effective ways of getting information from them.
I would like to help more clients with a wide array of problems in the future. It would be an opportunity to expand my knowledge base and apply several other tools in my practice. I have learned that my listening and comprehension skills have improved, but I need to use theories to explain different psychological problems. To do this, I have to practice on various platforms to have a range of understanding about the practicability of those theories. I also intend to follow up with client B to track her progress long after our coaching sessions to evaluate the success of our sessions.
The main learning points of my coaching sessions are the relevance of theories in helping clients talk about their experiences, and the significance of using the client’s life chart to determine how past experiences affect a person’s life. It is important for a coach to communicate effectively with the client without being judgmental or hypocritical about the client’s experiences. The nature of our interactions determines how much the client is willing to share.
Berg CL 2014. Basic concepts in family therapy: An introductory text, Second Edition. Hoboken, Taylor and Francis.
Bluckert, P. (2009). Psycuhological dimensions to executive coaching. Maidenhead, Open University Press.
Carr, A & Mcnulty, M 2016, The Handbook of adult clinical psychology: an evidence based practice approach, London, Routledge.
Exume, Z 2017, A Consistent and Successful Coaching Philosophy Generated by Principles Established in Sport Psychology, New York, Xlibris Corp.
Johnson, WB, & Kaslow, NJ 2014, The Oxford handbook of education and training in professional psychology, New York, Oxford University Press.
Stern, L 2008. Executive coaching: Building and managing your professional practice. John Wiley & Sons.