The definitive definition of coaching

How can a car break down illustrate perfectly modern coaching in the workplace?

Let me explain my son’s little debacle last night.

On his way back from work, at around 11pm Lewis turned into our lane and the clutch blew. He stopped the car, put on the hazzards and called home.

He was in a state, as you can imagine. He’s 19 and has never broken down before. He had no idea what to do, no frame of reference to cope with the situation. Although he did fine by parking it in the layby and putting on the hazard lights.

So I took control. No coaching, just control and direction.

2 hours’ later we were all walking back to the house, the car was in a better place and I called the breakdown people to tow it to the garage. Apart from a rather large and juicy garage bill coming my way, everything was organised and all were safe.

As we walked up the lane, I went into coaching mode because I wanted Lewis to start taking ownership.

“How are you getting to work tomorrow Lewis?”

“I dunno Dad”

“Have a think about it Lewis…”

“Can you give me a lift Dad?”

“Sorry Lewis, I’m working myself – any ideas”

I went quiet, he thought about it.

“I guess I’ll have to get the bus, I’ll look up the timetable tonight on my phone”

“Sounds like a good plan Lew, what about late at night, when the bus isn’t running?”

“Can you pick me up?”

“Yep, I can do that”

“Fine”, said Lewis.

Coaching, pure and simple. My intentions were for Lewis to own his journey, have responsibility for his decisions and know the consequences of his actions. Coaching does that and I used the GROW model as structure, but you recognised GROW didn’t you?

As for the car, I’m waiting to hear from the garage how much it’ll cost. I’m dreading it! Anyone any ideas?