Coaching is all about supporting people in solving their problems or reaching their goals. Those challenges take so many forms, from career and relationship challenges to supporting clients in better understanding their values and what is truly important to them. Last Wednesday was no different except it ended with a pile of broken auto glass at a gas station!
The fuel gauge on my truck was at 1/4 and I had just finished my meeting in Blaine, Washington. It seemed like a good time to grab some gas and take advantage of lower gas prices in the United States before making the 20 minute drive back across the border into Canada.
I pulled into pump number 6, swiped my card and began filling my tank. There was a gentleman at the pump in front of me in a small white, two door pick up truck. I watched as he hung up the fuel nozzle and closed his driver's side door from the outside. This was followed by a horrified look on his face and an audible "awwww fuck!". I could tell from 30ft away that he had locked his keys in his car.
I finished fuelling my truck, walked over to him and asked if there was anything that I could do to assist him.
The conversation went something like this:
ME: Locked the keys in the car, eh? (Typical Canadian ending to a question)
HIM: Yep, I'm an idiot
ME: Is there any way I can help? Would you like me to try and pull on the top of the door so that you can slide something in there?
HIM: Do you have a tire iron or something hard that I can use to break the back window?
I was a little taken aback here, this wouldn't have been my first option but the Coach in me knew that this was not my problem to solve, it was my place to work the problem with him.
ME: Are you sure? I can call a tow truck for you and they can pop the lock.
HIM: I don't have time or money for that, it will cost me less to replace the small back window.
ME: How much do you think a tow would cost?
HIM: Probably $50
ME: Ok, If I paid for the tow truck to come pop your lock instead of watching you bust your glass would you take me up on that?
HIM: I really have places I need to be.
ME: Are there any other options here?
HIM: Do you have a tire iron?
At this point I went back to my truck, pulled out a steel tire iron, handed it to him and watched as with two blows he broke a window and unlocked his door.
This was painful to watch but I knew that I had done all I could without making it my job to fix his problem. He was a grown adult, I held him capable of making his own choices but was sure to support him in considering all options along the way.
There was only one thing left to do. I went into the gas station and let the staff know that there was some glass on the ground next to pump number 7.
This folks, is the coaching mindset. We don't always agree with those that we work with but we support them in their journey ensuring that they are confident in their next steps even if those steps wouldn't be our own.