Taking a first case can lead to some anxiety ...
Sweaty palms, bitten nails, you know the drill. Many Coaches have talked about this on Coaching Calls and at trainings. Here I would appreciate it if some Coaches -- old and new -- can share their experiences about their first case, and especially their first call.
What went well? What didn't? How did you feel afterwards? How do you feel now? What advice would you give to a Coach who is taking their first case?
Thank you for sharing!
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Cathy Taughinbaugh (Saturday, 27 June 2015 04:40)
I urge all the new coaches to jump in and take a case. The parents who are calling in need and want your help. Keeping that in mind helps to ease the anxious feelings. With my first case, I was nervous too. I feel too focused on helping the parents "solve" their problem. I realized as I continued to coach that I can be someone who understands the parent's situation, can offer some helpful ideas and can just listen which is often so needed. I didn't need to solve their problem, but just help them discover some new ideas on what can work. Be curious about their situation. I have found the parent's are so appreciative of the time I have spent with them. It has all around been a rewarding experience! Thank you to all the new coaches. We appreciate your time and efforts!
Susan Knade (Monday, 29 June 2015 19:34)
I am a new coach and I have taken on two cases. I was very nervous for my first case but we have had 3 calls so far and it feels much more natural after the 3rd call. I usually ask her at the end of the call if she feels like it is helpful and she keeps saying that "yes" it is very helpful. She really looks forward to talking. That has been the hardest part for me is keeping her on topic. There is so much information and it is hard to focus on just one or two areas in the guide. The hardest part for me is remembering to check back and the summarizing. So.... I keep reviewing it before and after our calls to see if I did a better job. It is just practice, practice, practice....
Hazel A (Monday, 29 June 2015 20:07)
Just took on a new case that seemed VERY overwhelming and I was intimidated by my ability to help this mom for whom so much is going wrong. SO happy that didn't hold me back - I WAS able to help her and to offer lots of resources in the 20-minute guide that I know will give her guidance and support. New coaches - don't hold back. You can do this - we really can and do make a difference!!!
Denise Mariano (Wednesday, 01 July 2015 19:00)
The intro to this post sure did describe much of what I was thinking prior to taking on my first case and I remember that first case all to well. I was prepared, index cards, a picture or too, some notes. The funny thing is that much of this I did not even look at during the call. Within five to ten minutes, I realized that I just had to be Denise. I realized that my delivery did not matter and most importantly, I realized that I made a great choice when I decided to participate in this beautiful program. Just like there is no "one size fits all" when we are helping our loved ones, there is also no "one size fits all" when we are helping other parents. There is no right way or wrong way. Just be you and remember the the 70/30. Your experience of having been on this journey is the 70%. I often think "what if" - what if I had a parent coach? I would have been so very grateful for such a wonderful resource. Good luck to all on taking those first cases and we are here if you have any questions or want to calm those jitters.
Ruth Wooden (Wednesday, 01 July 2015 22:31)
I just started with my first case and I too found that they hardest thing was not to interrupt and jump in with a thought, but to let my parent talk and make sure I was listening. I did learn a lot about her situation in that first call and I let her know that I thought she showed a lot of wisdom and support for her son. She feels alone and I sense her husband doesn't think this is such a big problem that her son is a big binge drinker. But she also knows her son is thinking he needs help and she wants to support him but doesn't want to enable. (I really think that whole concept has done a real disservice to the field of recovery!) I do think it will be hard to keep her on target. But I did get her to identify her "worst fear" right now -- she is afraid his drinking is going to lead to him losing his job and asking to move back home for financial reasons. So we identified this "circumstance" as the one to focus on for communications. I think that will help focus future calls.
Denise Mariano (Thursday, 02 July 2015 00:35)
I just wanted to add one more resource which is on the menu above "Topic Tool" A great reference for those moments where you might feel a bit overwhelmed in where to go with a topic or a talking point! Sorry for all my typos (I think voice is worse than typing on a phone) above but hope you got the gist of it. Just be you. You all have so much to offer. As Hazel said, we can and do make a difference!
Pat Aussem (Thursday, 02 July 2015 13:52)
I echo the comments made above. For my first case, I found it helpful to review the coaching call checklist before the call to remind myself that on the first call I needed to review the coaching process and think about how to add LOVE skills -- where can I affirm and validate the caller and just listen. We are not expected to have "the answers" and chances are that whatever occurred to prompt the caller to seek help has been going on for a while and won't be resolved in a few calls. What we can offer is a supportive, encouraging voice - and maybe a few tools.
I also think there is a concern sometimes about what to do if you don't know how to respond to a comment or question - there is that awkward silence, then what? I have a few standard questions that seem to move things along again. One is ""What do you think will help?" or "What have you tried in the past that has worked even if it's a small step in the right direction?" Another is "If you were talking to a close friend who had the same problem, what would you advise them to do?"
My experience is that in the first call callers often have a basketful of problems and it may sound really complicated trying to figure out what to discuss first. I think it's helpful to summarize the problems and then ask the caller what she/he would like to focus on first.
My last comment is that if you haven't taken a case yet, you're missing out on a wonderful experience not only to help the caller, but you will learn much more about yourself and strengthen your own skills to use with your family.