The brief:

I had discussed the option of an introductory coaching course with the nursery manager and explained how it worked and how it might benefit members of her team.

One of the Deputy Managers expressed an interest but was cautious; ‘Initially I came to coaching feeling unsure as to whether coaching was right for me and whether or not Debra would be able to help me to untangle my overwhelming thoughts and feelings on achieving a better work-life balance’

The offer:

Personal Development Coaching;

I explained clearly what coaching was, and what it was not (see Coaching page and the section covering ‘What is Personal Development Coaching‘). I explained that I would not be advising, making suggestions or mentoring.

The client had been in a supervisory role for a few years and deputised for the nursery manager when she was away.

To have a ‘sounding board’ or ‘critical friend’ was another option but when I explained how coaching worked, Sam felt more confident that it could help her at this point in her career and also with her overwhelming thoughts and feelings on achieving a better work-life balance.

Sam had many goals and aspirations that she wanted to work on.


The Solution:

The coaching ‘intake session’ – an opportunity to find out about the client’s priorities, particularly when she had many goals and aspirations to explore. Also to find out about her core values and beliefs, and more specifically the issues that were overwhelming her and making her feel that she could not have a better work-life balance.

This required attentive listening and skilful questioning to really explore the most important issues for her at that moment in time; she had new responsibilities at work, was needing to be the first point of contact for parents, she had a lead role with supporting students in the workplace and in the absence of the manager had a joint role to supervise and support the nursery team.

She also explained how juggling the many responsibilities and day-to-day demands of a very busy work environment was having an impact on her ability to have quality time at home. She often went home tired and was then unable to fully enjoy the things she had planned outside of work; taking regular exercise, spending time with her partner and decorating the house.

She was committed to her work with children, she knew she still had things to learn, and she also had areas of real interest that she wanted to explore and was frustrated that she did not seem to have the time to pursue her priorities at work and home.

I used the information and examples that she provided to me during the intake session to ask questions that helped her decide on her real focus for her coaching and to enable her to get the best out of it.

Sam decided that improving her work-life balance would have the biggest impact on her overall well-being and reduce her overwhelming feelings so this was then the focus for the agreed course of six coaching sessions.

Personal Development Coaching Course:

A series of 6 sessions lasting ¾ hour over the following 6 weeks were planned.

Through asking pertinent questions around her ‘non-contact’ time and any distractions and issues that took her away from her priority pieces of work, Sam was able to identify, week by week the small steps that she could work on to make best use of her time at work;

‘In the sessions that followed she helped me to realise that only I could be responsible for taking steps to make positive changes in my life and career’

At times she admitted that she went off task, particularly when pressing issues came up in the busy nursery. She came up with her own strategies for dealing with requests from others and filtering the urgent and priority tasks for herself in her senior role as nursery deputy. She knew she had to make the decisions on what needed doing and what could be left.

As her coach I asked questions about the ‘bigger picture’ which were useful in helping her to establish what work could be delegated or could wait until the next day.

Helping her to assess what was urgent and what was important was vital to her success.


The outcome:

‘Debra was very successful in coaching me to set clear goals that were important to me both professionally and personally’

Additional benefits:

‘I feel I have become more confident and assured in my abilities to bring positive changes about, and to utilise the tools and strategies discussed in coaching’
(Sam O’Mahony – Deputy Manager – Aviary Nursery – May 2016)

Do you want to improve your work-life balance and be the best you can at work whilst still enjoying your life outside of work? Then see how coaching could help you too. Find out more from my coaching – Q & A and introductory offer’.

If you would like to know more please contact me.