Let me steal a family story for a leadership lesson.Â Itâ€™s dangerous being a leadership teacher, because it gives family and staff license to hold me to my â€œbest selfâ€ standards.
I was hitting a tennis ball with my 3 kids a couple weeks ago.Â Kate and Cece were on one court.Â Jack and I on the other.Â Jack is in the early stages where the racket flops, the wrist flips, the feet forget to move; it takes a lot to get it together.Â I was coaching for all I was worth, trying to keep it down to about three instructions.Â As I wandered toward Kateâ€™s court to pick up an errant ball, she asked me The Great Question:Â â€œAre you open to some coaching?â€
I learned The Great Question about ten years ago from Denise Stein and Brad Zimmerman, two great executive coaches.Â Iâ€™d used it with Kate.Â And this wasnâ€™t the first time sheâ€™d used it with me.Â Can you put yourself in my tennis shoes, being asked that question by one of your kids?Â In my psychic shoes I had mixed feelings: curiosity, pride (that she was using a lesson I taught her), openness, but also the great mix of pride and defensiveness (as in, â€œwho does she think she is using my lessons on me and trying to tell me how to coach?!?â€)
I said, â€œYep, Iâ€™m open to coaching.â€Â She said quite simply, â€œQuit coaching him.â€Â She was so right.Â What I was doing to Jack was what I used to do to that ridiculous Country Sedan I used to drive to the Ford Plant in the 70s, when it conked out:Â Iâ€™d flood the engine.Â Poor guy wasnâ€™t getting enough air; just a lot of gas from dad.
I hit with him again yesterday.Â He asked me â€œare you open to coaching?â€Â So, I knew where that was going!Â â€œQuit all the coaching?â€ I asked.Â â€œYesâ€ he said.Â I told him I would only say one thing and that was â€œgood.â€Â I donâ€™t know about you, but sometimes I need to be reminded to turn off the (well meaning), over-charged critic in order to
Lead with my best self,