Preston, Great advice, well written, and important to learn for any business application. Thank you.
Clean up in Aisle 9
Leadership is about creating big, successful results. It's also about creating big, ugly messes and then choosing what to do next.
Yesterday, I got my backside handed to me. Fortunately, it was delivered on a silver platter.
I was late for a phone call with someone who’s interested in our coaches training program. For the second time in two weeks.
“Preston, I can understand being a few minutes late for an appointment. But I cannot understand why this happened again. It’s making me feel like you don’t care. And it’s making me very skeptical of doing business with you.”
Ouch. I said to myself, “Well this is going to be an interesting book considering the introduction that’s just been written…”
So how come I sharing this today? I’m sharing because this conversation was one of the most powerful and insightful moments I’ve had this month.
I do what I do as a coach because of my commitment to make a difference. I take on a partnership with other human beings with one intention in mind – to support them in breaking through the barriers that consistently stop them.
This person sought me out to get support around stepping into what’s next for her in her life. On the several occasions we’ve talked, she’s created an enormous possibility in becoming a professional coach. I’ve had the opportunity to coach her on what’s stopping her, acknowledge and have compassion for her struggle to discover what’s next, and to support her in creating action based on her commitment to what’s next rather than the circumstances that will get in the way.
So for me, what occurred yesterday wasn’t about me being embarrassed and upset about my breakdown, it was that I realized my actions (or lack of) were putting this person’s possibility at risk. That realization was totally devastating.
What did I learn from this experience? And how did it end? Let’s take a look.
If you’re completely anxious about how it ended, here’s how:
She’s registering for our coach training program.
Here’s what I learned:
- When I create a mess, own it. It’s so tempting for me to come up with one to 45 excuses about why I was late or missed our call time. But how would those excuses serve this person? Excuses are TOTALLY about me, not about them. So instead, I took ownership of the mess I made which not only diffused potential upset, but I got my power back. And having my power back allowed me to get back to being in service to this person which is all about cleaning up the mess.
- When I create a mess, clean it up in the moment. It’s easy to say “I’m sorry” then take action later about cleaning up – send them a note, buy them a gift, or whatever action I might take. But that just delays the clean up AND has me deciding what the “clean up” should be. The other person is still swimming around in the mess I’ve created and likely never has his/her needs truly addressed. So instead, I asked “What do you need right now from me so that we can keep moving forward?” I got an answer and I delivered on that answer. In the moment.
- Listen to get the coaching. After owning and cleaning up my mess, I now had an opportunity to receive coaching. Yes, me the coach. This woman suggested I take a look at all the things I’m doing and to consider that I just might have too much on my plate. So much that it’s likely I’ll miss appointments with other people too. I’ve now committed to removing anything from my schedule that’s less than a 100% commitment. I got some powerful coaching.
Here are some things for you to consider:
- Where does this story ring true for you?
- Where are you making messes in your business or your life and delaying or denying cleaning them up?
- What’s the impact of denying the messes or delaying any clean up?
- What’s the coaching for you in making messes, owning them and cleaning them up?
- What current mess will you take ownership and action on today?
As an entrepreneur and leader, messes are an inevitable part of my process. I’ve made them in the past, I’ll make them today, and I’m confident I’ll make them in the future.
So for me, it’s not about avoiding them. It’s about shifting my relationship to them. It’s about sharing them openly. It’s about owning them and taking action around cleaning them up and learning a lesson.
Because in any mess I make, there’s an incredibly juicy opportunity to breakthrough a barrier that’s currently stopping me.
Learn more about the author, Preston True.
Comment on this article
Posted by Allan Smith, St. Louis, Missouri |
May 30, 2008
Posted by Jennifer Manlowe, Bainbridge Island, Washington |
Apr 26, 2009
Thanks Preston. I find my messes also relate to having too much on my plate and too little sleep. When I've neglected to cultivate balance, I can end up getting way too Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired -- what 12-Steppers call HALT! I work on taking good care of myself so my clients can have a coach they might want to emulate.
"Your clients are attracted to your level of being and your commitment to growth and learning. From this learning, you gain access to new levels of being in yourself and your clients." Accomplishment Coaching
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