One of my very first report cards from school pretty much sums me up. It read:
“Pete is a very good student but talks to his neighbors too much”
I have always been chatting with people, figuring out what their interests are, what challenges they have and helping them solve their problems. As an engineer I was never very good at details and minutia, I really disliked scientific papers and nothing would bore me faster than reading through data tables. All I wanted to do was look at the big picture and identify deficiencies, collaborate with the smartest people and get out of their way. I’ve always had ideas and I love listening to stories seeing how a unique solution can be derived.
I was first introduced to coaching when I was looking for someone to help me and my wife fix our ailing dental practice. I read books, listened to podcasts and enlisted various consultants. I found out first hand that when a consultant or coach comes in with a binder full of materials you are in trouble. The best of them spent time one on one figuring out what you want out of your business, understanding your skills and abilities to help solve your problem, then and only then did they hand over in measured doses the “homework”. A true coach is there for you to reach out to, to lean on and hold you accountable. A great coach or mentor gives you the tools you need when you need them and then gets out of the way.
I see this first hand as I watch my kids at swimming lessons. They get really good at flailing and splashing water around but when they need to learn the proper technique their instructor is right there to show them what they are doing wrong and what is preventing them from achieving the right stroke.
Good coaches are engaged, focused, trying different techniques to see which one works best for their student. They are the ones that truly enjoy sharing their knowledge and expertise.
My mission as a coach is to be that collaborator, the person who offers support and is excited to work on your problems and help develop your unique solutions.
So let me ask you one question, what is the problem that you’re trying to solve right now?