• Kim F Vaughan

Throwing spaghetti at the wall won’t bring us world peace!

Here is a story about a coach who paid no heed to her own advice. Yes, that’s me folks.

Are you familiar with the idea of the tradesmen who don’t prioritise their own stuff? You may have heard of the plumber who has a leaking tap, the electrician whose wiring is broken, or the painter and decorator whose wallpaper is hanging off.

When I started out as a coach, I was keen to attract the widest range of clients. Afraid of painting myself into a corner, closing off my options and missing an opportunity, I made much work out of exploiting every strand of my experience in case it led to something useful. No focus on specifics. Hearing the noise, but not listening to the meaning. Rookie error.

I may as well have been throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping it would stick. Few people recognised themselves as my potential client in the miscellany of my offering and I set myself up for trying to bring about world peace - and failing.

Well, with the help of my coach supervisor, I have seen the error of my ways. Over the summer, I have been reflecting on my work, what I have been hearing from clients and the things that keep them awake at night.

Observing the fallout of many months of pandemic, people are anxious about the return to ‘normal’. But we don’t even know what ‘normal’ means any more. Each of us has experienced something different.

Some of it has been good - the flexibility of working from home, the chance to spend more time with family, or even to move home to a better living space.

Some of it has been terrible. We have been very ill, lost people, our jobs or businesses and our sense of self-worth, and been (and remain) fearful.

It feels like there is a small window of opportunity NOW for us to take the positive changes we want to keep, say them out loud and reshape them into a new vision of the future - our new ‘normal’. We can choose to leave behind those old habits that we no longer need. NOW is the time for great leaders to start the conversation, naming our fears and working together to decide how we want things to be post-Covid. For ourselves, for our teams and for our businesses.

So, here I am, saying out loud that I am bringing my work with leaders of all levels into sharp focus. I have done my best work as a coach in helping leaders to put a name to their anxieties and identify a step-by-step action plan to address them. This makes them better leaders for their teams. It develops them as strategic partners for their businesses and, ultimately, improves their wellbeing and business performance. And it makes me a better coach.

After months of being awake at night worrying about spaghetti on the wall and the tiny possibility of world peace, as a result some of us may even get a good night’s sleep.

Throwing spaghetti at the wall won’t bring us world peace; but being a better leader just might.

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