- Work and Family
Bill is now 80 and very healthy. Only a bit younger, Sue is in great shape. Like many other couples they are outliving their money and, equally problematic, a long time ago they stopped updating their employable skills and refreshing their networks of professional/work-related friends and colleagues.
Sue told me, with Bill nodding his head, that they have been in denial for at least 10 years. Know that this is not unique to them, and that they are looking for a coach to help them work their way through this mess. Would I coach them in collaboration with their financial advisor, attorney, grown kids, and pastor? I told them I would work with them but not as a coach. I thought they needed to think differently and that meant setting aside familiar language that is no longer helpful- starting with the word “coach”.
- The Coach is the person most responsible for pulling it all together. It’s called your life for a reason. No one is more responsible for it than you are.
- The Coach has special expertise and can call the plays in a specific game. You may get advice but anyone else calling your life plays is a mistake because they don’t have to live with the consequences. You do.
- The game has rules the coach must know. The New Normal doesn’t have rules. And the coach doesn’t know them.
- A game lasts for fixed periods of time and the coach can use timing for an advantage. There are no periods in rapid disruptive/discontinuous times. Life goes fast and it never stops.
- Coaching repetitive plays or strategies makes the players and team better. There is no playbook in the New Normal. We have to invent it as we go along. This means, of course, eschewing our usual tools (like problem solving and using our past to predict our futures) until we figure out what is really going on.
- There are two opposing coaches as well as opposing individuals or teams. In the New Normal there are few, if any, opposites and freestanding opponents.
- Someone(s) wins and someone(s) else loses. See #6 above.
- The game is played on an identifiable floor or pool or field or course, laid out in advance with boundaries. There is no level playing field or boundaries or established course in the New Normal. Not only must we invent it as we go, we must be paying close enough attention to know when it’s morphing under and around us, and adapt accordingly.
- Unless it’s a bullfight or a contest between gladiators, the game isn’t a matter of life and death, although we often behave as though it is. In the New Normal changes overlap. Seeing the beginning, middle, and end of transitions is confusing at best. I once owned a Nike poster that said, “There Is No Finish Line.” I didn’t know at the time how prophetic that was.
- How does your understanding of discontinuous/disruptive change and opportunity in your clients lives or future affect how you work with them and the value you deliver in our New Normal?
- Will you give me three recent examples about this from your work with your clients?
- How are you working with discontinuous/disruptive change and opportunity in your own life and life planning? I don’t mind the word “coach” by itself, of course, when it is used in a sports setting. What I object to is when it is applied to planning and living lives is the frequently unchallenged set of underlying, comfortable assumptions that coaches and clients believe to be still true in their work together. These assumptions readily allow coaches to coach people into trouble. And they allow clients to deceive themselves if they are not careful.