Today, I have three morsels for you as a coach. These come from different places and all are valuable. While you could consider this a coaching buffet, allowing you to pick what you like from the list, I’d rather you consider it a three-course meal – where you sample and benefit from each of the items.
Coaching the newbie. If you are a leader and coach for very long, you will have newbies. About 15 months ago, I added a new full-time member to our team. She was excited to join the team, and we were excited to have her here. She had significant experience in the areas she would be working, but had still just started here. There are opportunities for us as coaches when we are coaching new people. We have a responsibility to help them get off on the right start, and, like a first impression, you only get one chance. These situations remind me that I must do the coaching then – and it can’t wait. And I must do it without ignoring the rest of my team (or having them perceive that I am). Both of these things require my time and attention. When you have a new person, are you investing in them in the most effective ways right from the start?
The Adjacent Possible. I’d never heard of this phrase until I read it in the book Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think (Here is a link to my recommendation for the book. Theoretical biologist, Stuart Kauffman, says that technology expands into the “adjacent possible.” Think of it this way: before the wheel was invented, it would have been impossible to consider, let alone invent the cart, the carriage, the wheel barrow, the roller skate, the automobile, and much more. Once the wheel was discovered, however, the pathways to all of these other things opened up.
I believe this is a valuable way to think about developing others. Some things that we might see, others can’t see because they can’t make the mental jump from where they are to the end goal. As a coach, part of our role is to help them move to a new place, a new level of performance, develop and use a new skill, in part to open up the pathways to even more opportunities. How can you help those you coach see more “possibles” by helping them expand their current reality, skills, and experiences?
The Segway Factor. On a trip to San Francisco, my wife Lori, our daughter Kelsey, and I signed up for a Segway tour. Imagine this. People pay money for a tour on these machines, and in less than an hour, these same people are unleashed onto the streets of San Francisco! Do you think there are coaching and skill building lessons here? Yes, at the end of the training you could opt out of the trip if you weren’t comfortable (or I suppose if the trainers didn’t think you were worthy), but for a variety of reasons, no one wants that outcome. So young (over 12), old (no limit I assume), big, small, coordinated or not, confident or not, excited or not, they all show up (several times a day). And the trainers take these people into an alley, and give them exposure, experience, and enough confidence to rides the streets safely.
Yes, the machines become somewhat intuitive, but not from the first moment. To coach this wide group of people who applied only with their checkbooks (as opposed to the people who work with you who applied for the job and passed some criteria) to succeed, tells me that we can do it too. Do you have people you aren’t sure are ever going to “get it?” Stop thinking that way and start thinking about how you can help them get it – because they can if they want to – and if you believe in them.
There is your three-course meal on coaching for the week. I hope you digest and apply these lessons in your work as a leader and coach.
If you are interested in being a more effective coach (or know others who are), I urge you to join me at Coaching Training Camp – a two-day learning experience, helping you coach others to greater success.