by Kris Pitcher
The other day I had a great meeting with a couple of team members and a potential volunteer. This gentleman, self-reported to be 73, was quite a character. He was...direct.
As we began the meeting he expressed that he did not like our organization and proceeded to tell me why. His experience was valid, impressionable and I couldn't find fault in it. There never is fault after all in someones experience.
I thanked him for sharing his Vietnam era experience with us and let him know that it's only when we learn about how people feel, can we begin to move forward as an organization. I shared that when people care, they'll tell us they're unhappy. So, I felt truly grateful to him for sharing his distaste. And I told him so.
I also told him that organizationally we learn from our history, like any group, and we're able to move forward and serve better as a result of our mishaps.
Our meeting went really well. There were other points of challenge along the way. There were areas where I needed to clarify where things fit. I had opportunities to define what his role would be, where his limits and boundaries would be.
We were establishing a relationship. We were determining how we would work with one another. We were determining what we had disliked in the past, what things ticked us off, what things we were able and willing to do for one another. We were direct, open and honest. We laughed.
This is how you should go about choosing your trainer, your coach, the person who's going to prep you for your show. Tell them what you don't like, what hasn't worked in the past, why you've been unhappy. Build the relationship with direct conversation. You can't expect anyone to guess.
Work out what your expectations are, how you'll communicate, who will do what and when. Laugh. Get to know one another. Listen. Apologize.
At the end of the meeting this man had warmed to me greatly. He said, "I've got to tell you one last thing and then I'll get out of here and let you do your work."
"I love your eyebrows." he said. "The way you do them is just really nice!" I leaned back and laughed. I went on to confess that I had recently had them redone and that they were tattooed. He liked that, but admitted his wife would kill him for having said it, at our meeting no less.
We'll have a good working relationship moving forward. He's not afraid to say what's on his mind...even if it's - great eyebrows! Think about the way you hire someone as important as your coach. Think about...their eyebrows.