Skip to content →

Tag: coach

Understanding what is “hard” and what is not

What your mother didn’t teach you

A long time ago, I read a book called “What your mother didn’t teach you”.  It had a cynical message built in to its witty title.  Everyone who succeeds in business had a patron who smoothed the way.

We all need a patron

We all need a teacher, a mentor, a coach and a champion. Mum cannot do that for us.  We need someone in our field who can show us where the doors are and most importantly of all, give us feedback.

A patron tells us what is hard

Is what we are doing hard?  Should we have made progress by now?  Should we be persisting?  What strategies would produce the feeling of progress?  What is real progress in this work?  Where should I exert my energy?  What is a distraction that I should ignore?

Without patrons, we are lost. We just don’t know how long anything takes? We don’t know how much frustration to put up with.

An example: how hard is it to design a good logo

To illustrate what I mean, here is a link to designing a logo. It’s a good reference on designing a logo. But more importantly it describes the process of designing a logo and gives you an idea of the effort and frustration involved.  That’s good coaching.

Find yourself a patron in your field

Now find yourself patrons in your own field.  Without someone experienced to show you the way, you will never know when to “try harder” and when to give up.

And if you are a coach, take heed.

People come to us looking for information about what is and what is not “hard.”

Read for format!  This is the kind of information that people need badly!  Supplying someone with the right patron is the help they need.

Leave a Comment

3 questions to ask when you are stuck

I’m stuck!  Oh, we are. So often!

From time to time, we feel like we are stuck deep mud

Have you ever driven a car into deep mud? It’s infuriating.  Your first impulse is to gun the engine. Your wheels spin. And you sink into the mud!

Arrgh! We got into the mud because we were in a hurry and in frustration we’ve made it even harder to get out!

Knowledge matters when we are stuck in mud

  • Try explaining to a driver stuck in mud that they must inch out!
  • Try explaining that they must put the lightest touch on the accelerator and give the wheels a chance to gain traction!
  • Try explaining that we might need to put something dry under the wheels to give them some grip.
  • Try explaining that pushing and heaving is not the answer.

Patience and know-how is going to win the day!

Change driver? I would but it is your life!

When people sink real cars into real mud, it is often easier to tell them to get out and let me drive the car out. Especially if they are blokes. They don’t listen to women about driving!

But in the real world, you have to drive yourself out. I can’t do that for you.  I am also going to leave you if you are so engrossed in your own wobbly that all you want to do is put your foot on the pedal.

When you are willing to calm down and work patiently to get out of this muddy dilemma, then we can work together.

These are the questions we will ask and answer when you are stuck in mud

  • Where are the wheels? Where are our traction points? Where are our points of contact with the world or the problem?
  • What could we put under the wheels? Is there some gravel or cardboard or grass we could put under the wheels? What can we do to help the world help us?
  • Can we be trusted to put the vehicle in first gear, or even reverse, and apply our feet very lightly to the gas pedal? Can we be relied upon to inch out with out getting into other mud, splattering your helpers, or driving into them? Will you concentrate?

Of course you can get out of a difficult situation

But you have to want to. You have to have some idea that this is an important task. You are going to have to ditch your temper tantrum. You are going to have to work with what is workable – what is in touch with the world and how can we strengthen the connection.  You are going to be controlled – a light touch to allow the world to respond helpfully. You are going to have to know your tools and use them to express your respect to the world.

You can’t try this and then that and then something else. Control is of the essence here.

  • Review the situation and find the points were we make contact with the world.
  • Improve the traction at those points.
  • Inch out using touch-and-feel to improve the traction.

Are you up for getting out of stuck?

Psychologists, mentors, coaches help you keep your nerve. But you will do the work. And you can begin right now by taking a deep breath and listing all the points in the system where something works – anything that works.

Take that list to your psychologist. Well, you might save yourself the fee and solve the problem yourself!

One Comment

Do your customers love the way your professionals work with each other?

The play, the actors, an ensemble, the essence, the audience

Today, I heard James Roose-Evans describe how he directs a play.

And I thought about leading groups of professionals when each brings their own expertise.

It is so different from working with people who hope to fill our shoes one day.  We have such inadequate language to describe how something magical and intangible but definitely palpable and recognizable comes out of our interaction and is so pleasing to our customers.

What do you think?

“I love working with actors. What is exciting, at the first day of rehearsal, when you have a whole group of actors from different backgrounds and different expectations and techniques and the director’s task is to weave them all into an ensemble in order to convey the essence of the play and share it with the audience. It is a very exciting journey that a director makes with the actors.”

Transcribed from BBC Radio 4, Wednesday 16 September, 2009.

“James Roose-Evans founded Hampstead Theatre 50 years ago. He has written 17 books, including the bestselling Inner Journey: Outer Journey and Experimental Theatre and has directed many plays, including the award-winning 84 Charing Cross Road. He is a non-stipendiary Anglican priest, founded the Bleddfa Centre for Creative Spirit and continues to lead meditation classes. His autobiography, Opening Doors and Windows: A Memoir in Four Acts is pubished [sic] by The History Press.

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: