Home > Blog > Coach in a Jam 2

Coach in a Jam 2

Posted by admin on September 29, 2012

Coaching is a great profession, and it has its comic moments

If any coaches out there would like to share their own comic moments,  do send them to me and Impronta would be happy to publish them, in your name, here.

I was off to facilitate a workshop to discuss the human element in change programmes, something close to my heart, to senior managers struggling to support their people going through difficult times.  I've coached many talented people on the edge of going under with stress when coping with massive changes that threaten their working patterns and relationships. This FMCG company wanted to take action before they lost their best people either to other organisations or to illness brought on by confusion and overwork.

I arrived at the venue, a country hotel in Surrey. Several conventions appeared to be taking place at the same time, and the signage was not exactly easy to follow. I stood in the hall, gyrating on one heel, taking in passageways leading in opposite directions. I couldn't see the name of the company I was looking for.  As I headed for Reception, I was intercepted by a tall, strking woman.


 "Hello - Ms Buckley?" I nodded gratefully. I am so used to my name being mispronounced that I didn't even bother to correct her. When I do (it is pronounced  Beeoo-key), it is often misheard as 'Beauty'. So sometimes I don't bother, especially on a bad hair day. I handed her a business card that she put straight into her pocket without a glance.

 I was ushered into a room with about 10 people, correct. There was a projector, a flipchart, a lectern, all correct. 

I introduced myself. I noticed a furrowed brow here, a quizzical glance there, a shuffling of papers at the back, but generally alert interest.

With the help of a gruff Scotsman (“Och, it’s no more difficult than loading a washing machine, sweetheart”), I organised the equipment and loaded a video about change in the natural world, the scientific world, the world of the arts, and then the difficulties faced by companies in transition. It's usually rather a 'wow'. As the DVD ran,  it was clear that only I was wowed. Elsewhere a sea of heads leant first to the left and then to the right, like a cornfield in the breeze or synchronised swimmers.

The video ended and I introduced the notion of flexibility under pressure. Now the furrows, the quizzical looks and the shuffling became a distinct distraction. This unusual response had to be addressed.

"I think I have already some detractors in this group," I ventured.  Perhaps we could share concerns and views?".

 My Scots friend coughed and asked why I had changed the topic from the one advertised. It was my turn to look puzzled. “What do you think it should be?”

He looked at his papers. "The Technical Challenges of 4th Generation Mobile Video" he read, deadpan. It was something like that, don't hold me to it.

 "Ah, " I responded.

The Scotsman asked:  "And… are you Miss Buckley?"

 Me: "Yes – well – yes, at least I think so."

Scotsman, gently, as if to a person of little brain: "Do you not know who you are, hen?"

There was a definite eruption of giggles.  

The Scotsman rose to his feet and shimmied up to the front of the room, waving his papers and, yes, smirking. He pointed to the name on the sheet. Not only was the surname definitely Buckley, but the Christian name was not mine. Under the name came the title, "Head of Communications, So and So Technical Solutions".  I then noticed a small notice on the wall with the name of a company whose delegates were now grinning widely. I had never heard of it. I took a humble bow and left the room which as much dignity as I could muster.

 Meanwhile, down the hall... luckily, the  story went down well with the team waiting for Ms Biucchi to turn up and discuss:  "The Human Element of Change".

I loaded the video all by myself. (I am still slightly off Scotsmen.)

Edwina Biucchi, edwina.biucchi@impronta.co.uk