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Case Study: Exploring Coaching Options

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It is thrilling yet thought-provoking to gain a new contract, particularly when it is a company for which I’ve not provided services to in the past. And, when the issue that needs to be resolved is claimed as iron clad.

Starting a new contract involves the development of a working relationship with the contracting leader and her/his colleagues. At the initial stage, this can be encouraged when the actual contract is shared and final agreements are discussed.

 What does this normally include?

  • Definition of and understanding of the business need
  • Description of the client’s expectations
  • The actions / steps to address the business need
  • Commitments about compensation, time frames and stakeholders
  • Milestones to evaluate progress

When a problem is defined by the organization, it is possible (and advisable), to use this early stage in the business relationship for what we commonly call an intervention. Early interactions with the contracting leader involve meetings and discussions wherein reaching a mutual understanding of a problem is critical. And, that the definition of the problem be based on quantitative and qualitative data – not just the opinion of a contracting leader. In this case, the Head of Business Development and Talent Director identified and then defined an issue based only on qualitative feedback. As such, this was a key indicator that the problem that supposedly needed to be solved actually needed to be explored and validated.

Further investigation about the nature of the problem was warranted. Staying on track with the client whilst developing a working relationship was potentially tricky. It was necessary to tread lightly in order to develop an enduring relationship yet ardently to define and grasp the problem.


While it may seem to be simple, defining a problem in its breadth and depth can be challenging. And, at the initial stages of a contract, it is urgently critical to test the client’s perceptions before establishing a plan of action. Assessing and articulating the issue is necessary as the problem may be different than what was presented by the contracting leader.

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