When I am not presenting or facilitating, or meeting clients, I mainly work on my own.
Increasingly I have been concerned about my effectiveness. It seems to take a very long time to get things done – particularly writing proposals.
But time does seem to just drift away, so easily.
The interesting experience has been that in the last week or so I have spent an intensive seven days writing a proposal for a large UK government grant. In fact, I did not even write it. I edited it. This work was done pro bono for a social enterprise that I am associated with.
What was so interesting was that working with the founder of the organisation it was as if I was employed again. Suddenly, it was not that time was disappearing, but that I was working really hard.
Because I was working with someone else, I was reminded how much work goes into a proposal. And I now value work on our own proposals much more highly.
In my early days as an entrepreneur, I established several publications in partnership with an editor. We learned that it could take two days for two of us to write an important letter.
Who was it who is reputed to have sent a letter with this comment “I am sorry that this is a long letter; I did not have time to write a short one.”?
Our first publication was a transport policy newsletter that we produced over very long weekends once a month. This was before the invention of the PC personal computer and the laser printer. We had a Tandy computer, 64k memory, original very floppy floppy disc and no hard drive. We printed out with a daisy wheel printer, then photo reduced the galleys, cut them up and laid out the newsletter with Pritt Stick. Then I printed the newsletters on an A3 photocopier, which was not designed for long runs of airmail paper printed on a second side, and frequently jammed.
It was a real kitchen table business. But it was sent internationally.
Once we were established, people would come up to us at conferences, congratulate us on the newsletter and ask us how many people we had working in our editorial and production teams.
Their perception was quite different from our reality. Or was our perception actually out of line with the success that we had created?
The pity was that we had set the pricing to match our perception – not the market’s.
A coach’s role is to help our clients raise their awareness. Often this involves us in helping people recognise the reality of their success and to appreciate their talent.
Then they are more likely to concentrate their efforts in the most productive ways.
Perhaps we also need to do the same for ourselves. My filters are now much more attuned to hearing people complimenting me on my ability to help them structure and clarify their thinking.
Were they always saying this? Or have I helped them recognise it now that I have clarified it in my own thinking.