Too Expensive, Too Costly

(Image Courtesy of Pixabay.com)

“They said I was too expensive.”

It happens.

In the world of consulting, coaching, helping, serving, and assisting others you are going to be rejected.

People reach out, they need help.

You carefully craft a plan, program, event, or system.

You send that thing you created into the world.

You may or may not hear from them right away.

Sometimes they say No.

Sometimes they blame the price.

“It was too expensive. It was too costly.”

The first temptation is to lower your cost. “Did I charge too much?”

But your time, your talents, your efforts are valuable.

There is some truth to what they said.

It was going to cost them.

The cost of being accountable.

The cost of stretching beyond their normal pattern or rut.

The cost of doing the hard work, over and over again until they get results.

The cost of making sacrifices to change their current situation.

Maybe they were not ready because the cost was too high.

Rejection can be hard.

Don’t give up.

Keep consulting, coaching, helping, serving, and assisting others.

Keep creating plans, programs, events, and systems.

Your tribe, your group, and your people know that the change they desire will be expensive and it will be costly. They also recognize the true cost is their sacrifice and hard work, and they are willing to pay that price.

The Outsider Perspective

Sometimes we gravitate towards people who are similar to us, or have had similar experience.

They have “walked in our shoes” and we assume they understand us, our issues, and our struggles.

This gravitational pull becomes stronger during training or workshops when you ask people to break into small groups. The same industries, positions, and titles want to talk to others with similar positions in similar industries with similar titles.

To disrupt this tendency during a recent day-long workshop on Coaching, we encouraged each person to find someone radically different from their industry, position, or title. These pairs would practice coaching each other through a current struggle or challenge.

After a few awkward moments, the partners found each other and began to coach each other through the framework we provided. We emphasized that the right coaching framework allows you to help others despite not being a subject-matter expert in their field. (The beauty and the risk of interactive training is you get to see first-hand whether or not your ideas and concepts really work. Sometimes you brace yourself for potential failure.)

We were about to see this coaching concept tested with one particular pair that were so radically different (law enforcement and water treatment) that we paid close attention to their progress.

During the debrief, we heard from those being coached, and the practicing coaches.

We waited to hear from our radically different pair.

“You know, I was a little hesitant at first. I thought, how could they know anything about what I do? But it was the Outsider Perspective that made me look at this in a way I never considered.”

The Outsider Perspective isn’t immersed in our world, so they ask hard questions (they don’t know what they are not supposed to ask).

The Outsider Perspective isn’t bound by our perceived limitations, so they offer insight into potential solutions.

The Outsider Perspective is looking at your issue, problem or challenge with a fresh point of view.

The Outsider Perspective can challenge your assumptions and your bias.

The Outsider Perspective may be exactly what we need.

 

Affirmation or Revelation

“I didn’t need it, they don’t need it!”

Usually said loudly and with passion.

Usually said with a negative and sometimes angry tone.

Usually as a response to the idea of coaching, encouraging, or recognizing employees.

Usually while being critical and perhaps judgmental of perceived generational or work-ethic differences.

“I didn’t need someone to tell me I was doing a good job!”

“I didn’t need a trophy just for showing up!”

“I didn’t need to be coached, I just worked hard!”

“I didn’t need a reward, it was my job!”

When these statements enter the room or conversation, pause and watch what happens.

These statements tend to weave their way through the crowd.

There are usually two responses to these statements that you can visibly witness.

  1. Affirmation 
  2. Revelation

Affirmation: people who have experienced similar treatment, management, or upbringing that nod and agree. This is what they were given, and they continue to give the same back to others.

Revelation: people who may have experienced similar treatment, management, or upbringing, but disagree with the past. They are making a decision to give to others in a different way than what as given to them.

After the short silence, typically one of the Revelation responders will speak up.

“I understand that you didn’t receive the affirmation, coaching, or reward along the way in life. I didn’t receive it either, but I realized how much of a negative impact it had on me. Was there a time when you wanted to hear something positive, a simple word of encouragement, or a little coaching?”

With a few simple questions, Affirmation may turn into Revelation.

They did need to be recognized.

They did need some coaching and encouragement.

They did need a reward for the sacrifice they were making.

The lack of what they needed made them hardened.

Instead of Revelation, the result was Affirmation of the very treatment, management, or upbringing that caused the negative impact.

Which response will you have?

Affirmation or Revelation?

Eel Gloves

American Eel (USFWS Biologist Steven Smith hollding eel caught while night electrofishing for salmon in Whallon Bay)

(Image Courtesy of adirondackalmanack.com and USFWS)

Sometimes we can be hard to pin down.

Sometimes we wiggle and squirm our way out of accountability, progress, or accomplishment.

Sometimes we say we are going to do something, but try to slip out of it.

A good friend calls it being slippery. Slippery like an eel.

But they make Eel Gloves.

Eel Gloves make it possible to hold onto the slipperiest eel.

Maybe what each of us need is that friend, partner, spouse, coach, or mentor that has OUR pair of Eel Gloves.

The person with the Eel Gloves could hold on to us when we are trying to explain away our lack of progress.

The person with the Eel Gloves could wrestle with us, not let go, and make us face why we are trying to slip out of the accountability.

That sounds like a good name for a coaching option for 2016.

Eel Gloves Coaching: You may be slippery, but we can still hold on.

 

Becoming Equals

They needed some coaching, so you helped encourage and develop.

You needed to run your first 5K, so they helped you train.

They needed to lose weight, so you helped with healthy options, accountability, and support.

You needed assistance with strategy, so they helped provide perspective, options, and focus.

They needed to find a better career, relationship, or life-goal, so you provided some guidance.

You were a little scattered and out there, so they helped organize and ground you.

They were a little structured and serious, so you helped them be messy and fun.

These relationships start in interesting ways.

One of you needs something, and the other is there to help.

At first the roles were clear.

One of you is the expert, coach, parent, mentor, counselor, or consultant. The other one needs what you have.

One of you is giving, the other is receiving.

Typically this approach only works for the short-term. Once the need is met, you disengage and move on.

But sometimes, these relationship continue.

These relationships begin to change.

You are Becoming Equals.

What was once mentoring becomes mutual assistance or expertise.

What was once consulting becomes sharing ideas together.

What was once coaching becomes both playing at the same level.

What was once parenting becomes more like a friendship.

Becoming Equals doesn’t happen overnight.

Becoming Equals requires both of you to shift.

Becoming Equals allows both of you to shine.

One day you notice the person who use to run a few steps behind you is now at your side, and even ahead of you.

One day you are both leading.

One day you are both moving forward.

There is a time and place for the first roles.

But there is something more.

Something better.

Becoming Equals may be what makes relationships really great.

Becoming Equals may be what makes relationships last.

 

Wired for Problems

How you see the world

Understanding our own behavioral styles is essential to our long-term success. Knowing that you have a tendency to follow the rules, or that you can connect with others helps you leverage those strengths in your style (maybe you have a passion for finance or you are great at sales).

Knowing how you are wired also helps you know when your style needs to be modified (maybe you are too strict at enforcing rules or you connect so often with others that you are not getting your own work done).

The other day I was having a somewhat difficult interaction and an overreaction. When I react this way, I revisit my own style (often with other people) to help determine the cause and see if this insight provides some solution or an easier way to modify my style in the future.

As I described the situation to someone close, they provided some much-needed insight.

I am wired for problems.

How you see the world (1)

 

My natural tendency is to see things in an unfavorable light. Combine that with the perception that I am in control or have power over a situation, and things get interesting.

What I see as a problem, others may not even notice.

When I want to fix things, others may not be ready or aware that the problem even exists.

Sometimes this style works well.

If organizations, teams, or individuals need to change or improve.

Sometimes this style doesn’t work out as well.

If we are just having a casual conversation, or interaction.

This greater self-awareness helps me understand that although I would like to fix a lot of things, not everything is broken or a problem that needs fixing.

What is the old saying? “If you are a hammer, after a while everything begins to look like a nail.”

How are you wired?

If you know your own style, take a few moments to revisit your results.

Ask yourself the following questions:

1. What are the best 3 things about my style that really work for me in my role, job, career, or life.

2. What are the 3 things about my style that seem to get in the way the most, or if modified would lead to greater success.

Put that list somewhere where you can see it each day, and leverage what works, and begin to modify what doesn’t work.

If you don’t know your style, drop me a line or connect with someone who can help you identify your style.

Take Credit For Yourself As Well

Coaching is an interesting process. Your role as a coach is to help provide the structure, clarify the issues, and ask a lot of questions. Occasionally, you also provide the accountability to hold people to deadlines or tasks. A coach must also resist the temptation of being the expert, especially if your “expertness” comes with pre-formed solutions.

Sometimes the coaching process feels like a meandering path. Other times, coaching resembles a highway with clear mile markers and ways to measure fast progress. Either way, as time passes there is movement. There are accomplishments. There are achievements.

When those accomplishment or achievements occur, those being coached are grateful. Some express their appreciation.

“Thanks Coach.”

“I owe it to you.”

“You are the reason this happened.”

After a coaching session, I heard similar expressions. I needed to reply.

“Take credit for yourself as well. I am not the reason this is happening. You are doing the work, I am just here to help you find the path.”

This appreciation if left unaddressed can become the second temptation of coaching: Taking all the credit.

Coaching should diminish as both accomplishments and confidence rises. Those being coached begin to ask their own questions, set their own goals, and hold themselves accountable. Coaching may continue through the progress, but at a lessor degree and may eventually cease.

Properly balanced coaching can move people forward with their life, career, business, and/or personal goals. No matter which side of the coaching relationship you are in, keep these two things in mind:

If you are coaching others, remember to resist both temptations (expert and credit).

If you are being coached, remember to take credit for yourself as well.