The Power of Coaching – Client Transformation Stories

I often hear from clients of mine who had never worked with a coach before that their perception of what coaching is and how it can help them, changed over the course of our work together. Many first-time coaching clients believe that what a coach does is mainly ask smart questions and accelerate the journey to their goals.

And that is what I do when coaching, no doubt about it. But sometimes, something even more magical happens when we work together – true transformation occurs. To show you what I mean by that, let me share some of my clients’ stories with you.

I have, of course, anonymized the stories as much as possible, but these are examples from my coaching practice that I have had the honor to witness.

N – difficult family ties

Let’s take N’s story as a first example. N is a young woman who has come to China on a first time expatriation with her husband. She comes from a family where she has always been the rock, the peacemaker, the supporter. She has worked in her parents’ business and smooths over family disagreements between her parents and siblings and her grandparents.

N has very strong ties with her family and was made to feel guilty for ‘disappearing’ to China by them. During our coaching sessions, she often expressed regret for not being able to be there for her family members. On the other hand, she was also eager to explore more of China and enjoy her life her.

After a few sessions, N decided that she wanted to set stronger boundaries with her family back home. She set herself times for when she would check her phone for messages from them, and also communicated those times to her family. She discussed with her parents and grandparents what she considers appropriate subjects when she talks to them. She would start deferring conversations to more convenient times and would ask her family members to solve their own conflicts without dragging her into them.

All of this was made possible by the support N received from her husband and in our coaching sessions. She has managed to emancipate herself from her family and has since been able to truly embrace being in a foreign country and discovering it. She has become much more adventurous in trying new foods and new experiences, and lives life here in China to the fullest.

O – motivation to find a job

Another story is that of O. O is married to a Chinese wife who came to her home country on an expatriate assignment. He is an engineer who gave up his successful career to follow his wife on this exciting adventure.

O is a global citizen, he has lived, studied, and worked in multiple countries. But, so far, he has never been in Asia for a long period of time. Another first for him is the fact that he is now following somebody else for their job. So far, he had always gone places for his own studies or for other work opportunities.

The decision to come to China was a joint one by O and his wife. Even before moving here, O knew he wanted to find a job as soon as possible. Unfortunately, he realized that looking for a position online was not as easy as he thought it would be. Because finding a job in China – even more than in most other countries – is often the result of connections, his job hunt turned out longer than he had anticipated. The COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn were other factors that made his job search difficult. As a result, O’s motivation waned. He also found organizing his day-to-day life and being a stay-at-home-husband challenging.

O told me at the end of our coaching relationship that our regular sessions helped him keep up his morale. He found new energy to go back to his job search, and he was even inspired to start writing a novel as a creative challenge to himself. Also, I am happy to report that O’s perseverance paid off and he found a fulfilling job.

A – being paid less to do the same job

A third example – and we’ll stop there for now so I don’t bore you to death – is the story of A. A is a young and very successful career woman. She has been an expat before, to another country, and has lived and worked in multiple countries before coming to China.

When she arrived in the Middle Kingdom, she was hired as a local expat by the company her husband works for. This means that, doing the exact same work as her husband, she earns about a fifth of her husband’s salary, as her compensation is calculated on a local level. This was especially galling as she had worked in that same company before in another country as an expat, on an expat’s salary.

As a result, A, who has always derived a lot of pride and joy from her work, struggled with self-esteem issues. She also encountered some prejudice from her surroundings, and started being dissatisfied at work because of it. A felt disrespected by the company and was highly unhappy.

In our coaching sessions, A began to reframe her expectations and her mindset. She decided to see her time in China as an opportunity for personal growth, put a stronger focus on her life outside of work, and started looking for the positives in her situation. She put more emphasis on the pleasure of planning and executing some ‘home projects’ such as cooking for friends and entertaining at home, researching destinations for travel and going on one wild adventure after the other.

At the end of our coaching relationship, A gave me the feedback that she was now able to detach from the (real or perceived) judgment from others, and was recognizing her own value instead. Her. Not her job title, not her salary, but her.

If you see yourself in one of those stories, or if you think that coaching might be a solution for one of your own unique challenges, please get in touch with me to discuss how we can work together.

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