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1:1 Coaching Success Story

This is a case study about a purchasing manager I worked with in 2021/22.

Client: Yazmin Caballero

Yazmin is a Global Indirect Buyer for a Tier One Automotive Supplier based in Detroit, Michigan. Yazmin grew up in Monterrey, Mexico, where she attended a 95% English international school kindergarten through 12th grade. She started working in the Automotive industry in Mexico, then had the opportunity to move to the US. 

The Problem

In Yazmin's first job in the US, she mostly had contact with the team in Mexico, so she didn't notice any communication issues in English. But when she moved to her present company, more of her interactions were in English. She was asked to make presentations in English, sometimes to upper management. She soon started noticing issues. For example, colleagues were asking a lot of clarifying questions, and even if they didn't ask, she realized they had not understood what she said. Initially, Yazmin asked her boss for help correcting her emails and presentations but quickly felt she was imposing and wasting her boss' time. That is when Yazmin asked for coaching.

Yazmin’s Issues

Through an interview and a 3-minute video Yazmin recorded, we determined Yazmin's primary issues.

1. Sentence structure: Putting English words in Spanish sentences; not using English word order, "Subject-Verb-Object," which creates impact.

2. Extra words and sounds: Starting many sentences with "so," using "like" as a filler word, and  "umming" frequently.

3. Intonation pattern & body language:  Going up at the end of phrases, which conveys tentativeness; facial expression and body language did not convey confidence. 

The Solution

The solution for Yazmin was a six-month coaching program consisting of a three-month intensive phase, meeting two times each week, followed by a three-month consolidation phase, with meetings once a week then every other week. In the intensive phase, we worked on a presentation Yazmin had already given. We reorganized the content, created clear transitions, and worked on correcting Yazmin's linguistic issues, hammering Subject-Verb-Object sentence construction. Yazmin recorded the presentation five times. Each time we dissected the video line-by-line, identifying ways to increase the clarity and directness of the message. We also worked on her delivery, going down at the end of phrases, cutting out the small, repetitive sounds and words, and making her facial expression and gestures more intentional and serious.

The Outcome

At the end of the three-month intensive phase of the program, Yazmin presented to her boss and the Chief People Officer. I'm happy to say, she knocked it out of the park! Her boss said it was the most straightforward, professional presentation she had ever heard her give. Yazmin felt immensely proud, and so did I.


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