The Miracle of Coaching
My 12-year-old granddaughter makes wallets out of duct tape. They are lightweight, functional and come in all kinds of colors and patterns including a “Duck Dynasty” wallet which my husband loves. A couple of years ago when she had just started making them, I wanted to support her hobby, so I went up to her room to buy two of them. I asked her how much they cost. She shrugged her shoulders and mumbled something about $3.00. I took a $10 bill out of my wallet and told her I wanted two. She is a quiet, modest, unassuming child. She shook her head and pushed my hand away, “No, that’s too much money.”
“Well,” I said, “What does it cost to make one of those?” She didn’t know, so I simply asked questions. “What does a roll of tape cost? How many wallets can you get from one roll? How much did you spend on the Exacto knife? How often do you have to replace the blade? etc. etc.” In short order, we had the exact cost of materials including an estimate on how much the rent and utilities were for her work space if her Dad wasn’t picking up the tab for her bedroom.
“Now the big question,” I said. “What’s your time worth?”
“My time?” She looked baffled but quickly volunteered that she had recently been paid $5.00 for one hour of babysitting. After another simple explanation of the difference between retail and wholesale costs, and a simple balance sheet explanation (cost of sales + profit = price), she came up with $8 per wallet as a fair price.
“Great,” I exclaimed. “I’ll take two!”
“That’ll be $16,” she announced with finality.
I held out a $20 bill. “The extra $4.00 is for your tip, because you do such a great job!”
“Okay,” she responded enthusiastically. She took the $20 without hesitation, folded it neatly and placed it in her pocket.
“One last thing,” I said. “I noticed that a few minutes ago, I handed you $10 for two wallets and you wouldn’t take it. Now I handed you $20 and you immediately and enthusiastically took it and put it in your pocket. Did you notice that?”
“Oh yeah,” she said thoughtfully. “How did you do that?”
“I didn’t do anything, Sweetie. I just asked questions. You did all the work.”
“Amazing,” she responded. “I guess now I know how much things cost and what I am worth.”
And that, my friends, is coaching.
Jenny Rogers in her book, Coaching Skills, defines coaching as “. . . a partnership of equals whose aim is to achieve speedy, increased and sustainable effectiveness . . .” In other words, the role of the coach is to facilitate and support your growth so that you can eliminate roadblocks in your life and achieve momentum towards your goals.
About four years ago, I attended a one-day “Introduction to Coaching” workshop sponsored by the Hudson Institute where I obtained my coaching certification. Prior to the workshop, I thought coaching, mentoring, advising, assisting and supporting were all about the same thing: helping someone else to be better. Wow, was I surprised! While all of these words describe formal or informal ways that we can interact with another to facilitate their growth, coaching is a unique and powerful process.
Coaching is based on the premise that each of us knows the solutions to our own problems better than anyone else. Unfortunately, as human beings, most of us seem to be plagued with “blind spots.” Coaching illuminates the blind spots and allows us to make choices to improve ourselves. For example, I spent many years sad and concerned over my lack of money. Even when I had funds in the bank and enough for my needs, with six children, there always seemed to be more demand than available funds. I told myself over and over that I had no money and it caused me a significant amount of personal sorrow and upset as well as making some bad financial decisions. Through coaching, I was able to notice my own thoughts (my sad story about money), notice how often I repeated the story to myself, and become aware of the resultant emotions. I was also able to identify the facts. These days, thanks to coaching and additional education, I would consider myself a happy, attentive money manager. All those days of sorrow and upset are gone. It’s not that the amount of money I have is all that different; it’s that I now see it differently. . . And that is the secret! With a new outlook and understanding, I can see more options, make better choices and I feel much happier.
Great coaching facilitates a shift in your thinking and approach. Just like the shift in my granddaughter, coaching allows you to enthusiastically accept $20 when previously, you would not even consider $10.
If you are feeling stuck, frustrated or upset about anything in your life, hire a Coach. You’ll be amazed at the results!
Marilyn Momeny is a business consultant and certified coach. For more on Marilyn or to pursue coaching services, check out www.xlntleadership.com.
Brilliant clarification of the value of coaching. Really good coaches know how to ask the right questions to move clients to clarity and better choices. Bravo Marilyn… plus you have a really great grand daughter.
I love this, Marilyn. Your story captures so beautifully how the right questions can almost magically shift a person’s perspective and thus the choices they make and how they experience life. Simple, powerful and true.
Thanks Marilyn, This brought back memories as we had a similar interaction with a family member who was starting a new business. You did a great job of showing how asking a few non threatening, simple questions help entrepreneurs like your granddaughter understand how their choices impact their understanding of the value of their work.
Thanks for the comments. I appreciate your feedback and kind words.
Skillfully written…with a great message. You will be on my regular list of blogs I read. Congrats Marilyn!!!!
Great blog, Marilyn. Coaching your granddaughter so that she was able to move from “mumbling something about $3.00” to a confident understanding that her wallets are worth $8.00 is a great success. And a perfect example of the process and value of coaching.
She is very lucky to have a grandmother who is a good coach!