Friday, December 02, 2005

SG - What to do with Truth

Despite my best efforts, I was not able to tape Survivor - Guatemala this week. Even after making some compromises in solving some odd complexities in our setup, all the effort was for naught because while I was out, there was apparently a brief power outage just before the show started, stopping the taping process before it really began. Oh well. The truth is, despite the fact that I've remained interested in some of the characters and the dynamics this season, there hasn't seemed to be enough that's new to warrant writing each week. I'd get started and then realize I was saying the same thing over and over again... and put it away thinking I'd get back to it, only to have another week slip by.

Here's what I can say about this past week's episode - I am reminded over and over again that it's important to find ways to remain true to our own individual set of values. And, it's equally important to come up with a strategy that allows us to live those values in a world that may seem to demand the opposite. Part of that involves really connecting with others in a way that allows us to see and respond to what's important to them without allowing that to drive us away from whatever is center for us.

So far, my sense is that Gary has done the best of that out of anyone. Of course, we can see now with him having been bounced recently that it's no guarantee either, but that's part of the game - taking a risk that you won't win. Winning might be more important than those who lose would have us believe, but we have to live with how we get there too.

So, here's another truth I'm settling into. I really dislike talking about my rates. I used to worry that it was because I wasn't sure I'm worth what I charge. To the extent that may have been true in the past, I don't believe any longer that this is what's blocking me. The truth is, I simply have better things to do. I'd rather spend my time talking with a potential client straight away about what I can do to help, knowing that they're prepared to make the same commitment to the process that I am. The discussion about rates seems to me to get in the way of that. And I'm not big on enrollment either - you either know you want my services or you don't.

Lots of coaches and other folks offering some kind of professional services don't publish their rates because they want the opportunity to talk with you first about what you want or need before you get scared off by the number. Let me just tell you up front and get it out of the way - you'll probably gasp at my numbers the first time; just over half of my clients do, so I figure that's a pretty good bet. Besides, it's at least partly on purpose for reasons that have nothing at all to do with me. In my mind, the number simply must have some meaning for you or it puts the whole coaching relationship at risk.

If we're really a good fit to work together, the number won't be so scary anyway because no matter what it means to you financially, you'll already be ready to do what I always instruct my clients to do early on during coaching - that being to say yes, no, or to renegotiate.

What it comes down to is that if you aren't prepared to ask for what you want and assume that we'll find a way to work it out, chances are good you'd be better served by finding somebody different. Of course I'm delighted to help with that too, if it's warranted; I really have no attachment to whether it's me you work with or somebody else, so long as you are making progress toward whatever it is that's important to you. I guess anyone considering hiring me as a coach (or consultant too, for that matter) could view this as a good first test.

The good news is that I've found ways to make lots of things work. I want to ensure that my rates will never be a deterrant for anyone who truly wants to work with me so if that's an issue for you, be sure to ask about reduced rate (scholarship) slots and group rates. And my clients are always welcome to propose new solutions too - who knows, maybe we'll come up with an idea that will help out other people too while we're at it.

In any case, I find that our combined level of commitment to making this part work out is a good indicator of our level of commitment to the coaching process and that in turn is a good predictor of success. Since your success is my primary goal, that's a good measurement to track.

With all that out in the open now, I expect to be publishing my rates on my website very soon. If what you see doesn't fit your definition of 'soon' and you want me to get going on it, then feel free to pester me on that account. And in case you're really missing the Survivor bit, here is a capsule view of some of the lessons I took away from past episodes - in generic form, of course, since I was so sure at the time I'd be writing that I didn't even put down dates!

  • Watch out for self-fulfilling prophecies. Jamie fell victim to this but he was certainly not the first and probably won't be the last either.
  • Every time you shift your direction, it makes it tougher to predict where you'll head next, making you seem less trustworthy. This one is an important lesson for managers and staff-level employees alike.
  • Expect the unexpected; don't be surprised when something new comes along that you didn't anticipate. This is one of those 'oldy but goodies'.
  • Knowledge is power and sometimes a power that is better held in reserve until the right time.
  • You're only as good as your most recent actions; justifiably or not, both managers and co-workers typically have short-term memories when it comes to past performance and are more likely to focus on 'what have you done for me lately' than anything else. Make sure to keep your good reputation current.
  • Negativity never helps and it doesn't play well with others, even when they agree.
  • Arrogance is rarely a trait that is viewed in a positive light.
  • Expect loyalties to shift based on need.
  • Survivor producers pick teams based on how they can best mix things up. Good managers create teams with as much diversity as they can get and still achieve good harmony.
  • Know when to keep your mouth shut. Back to Gary for a moment. Margaret and Judd followed a distinguished line of Survivor players who have all had trouble holding their tongues; both of them lashed out in ways that ultimately hurt them in the game. Contrast that with Gary - the one time he let loose with an 'outburst', it was on purpose and carefully calculated to have a specific effect. He wanted the others to see Judd is not as trustworthy as he seemed and while it did not save his own neck in time, his strategy did work.

If you have a prediction about who's likely to win Survivor - Guatemala or you've noticed other lessons I missed (especially having missed the show last week altogether), send them to me at and maybe we can get some discussion going about whatever truths come up for us there.

What important truths are waiting to be recognized in your life and how will you turn that recognition into an advantage?

Kimm Viebrock is a Certified Professional Coach who helps technology professionals and service-oriented technology groups develop and use their skills more effectively and increase their value within the larger organizaion, allowing them to do more, do it better and have more fun doing it. Kimm is devoted to finding the connectedness in life.