Coaching Chronicles: Caterina-Session #2

I can see Caterina’s smile from a block away, and she gives me a great big hug before we sit down.

Caterina:  Hi!  I am so excited!  I have so many things to tell you!  Has it only been a week?  So much has shifted already! 

Jen: (Laughing) I could tell from that big smile that this was going to be a fun hour!  What’s your good news?

Caterina:  Well, instead of hiring one new person, my boss approved two!  One will handle social media, marketing, live events, and anything I assign them.  The other person is my new assistant.  She will manage my calendar, handle emails and be the buffer to allow me to focus on creating systems and give me time to work with new and existing donors.  You should have seen how excited my boss was on Monday morning when I showed up with the job description and all this energy and focus.  She had a stack of applications from an earlier job listing already available that I used along with the new applicants.  We ended up promoting a current staff member and hiring a new person. Sorry, am I talking to fast?

Jen:  Not at all!  This is wonderful news!  I’m thrilled for you! 

Caterina:  I’ve also been tracking my own activities all week, monitoring how much time I spend on each task so I can accurately describe what needs to be done and how much time it will take.  Obviously, there’ll be a learning curve but it won’t take long because my notes are clear and organized.

Jen:  You’re getting ahead of that emergency.  You’ve planned in order to prevent unnecessary or repeat questions.  You may want to have them edit the documents as they do the job as well.  It can turn into a Standard Practice and Requirements manual.

Caterina:  Great idea!  That way if new staff comes in or I am promoted, we don’t need to waste time on simple tasks.

Jen:  You completely smashed that goal. 

Caterina:  I guess I did.  I don’t know why I didn’t do this years ago!  It’s brought a whole new energy and excitement for my job that I thought I’d lost.

Jen:  Goals have a way of moving out the cobwebs and bringing in lots of energy.  They also help you see more clearly what you truly want and need.

Caterina:  Yes!  This goal definitely did that!  I want to set a new one for next week. 

Jen:  What did you have in mind?  Something tells me you already know the next step.

Caterina: (Laughing) I do! Am I that obvious? First, I want to assign reading to each employee so they understand my expectations and the role they play. I want them to understand why each of the tasks is important and show them how it contributes to the business side of running the center. Then I want to share the stories of the women whose lives were forever changed by the work we do.  They need to understand the mission. 

Jen:  Give me a concrete goal.

Caterina:  Each day I will spend two hours with them, assigning reading and sharing our mission.  The rest of their time at the work will be focused on performing the tasks assigned. I don’t expect them to get everything right the first week, so I want them to get started while I am there to observe.

Jen:  Are you able to put that in your calendar?

Caterina: (Winking) I’ll have my new assistant do it.

Jen:  I love it!  Anything else in that area for now or do you feel satisfied?

Caterina:  Good for now.  I may want to talk about it again once they are settled, in case any issues come up.  Or when I’m ready for the next step, whatever that is.

Jen:  I think that’s a great idea.  We can touch on it each time we meet, but only make goals or discuss options when needed.

Caterina:  Okay.  Thanks. 

Jen:  You’re welcome.  How was breakfast this week? 

Caterina:  So that was a mixed bag.  I really loved it Monday and Tuesday.  I ate it Wednesday but by Thursday I was so sick of it, that I just skipped breakfast again and drank more coffee.  It was crazy because having breakfast the first three days helped me with productivity and focus.  And I made much better choices at lunch on those days.  Why in the world would I not eat it on Thursday and Friday, knowing how much it helped?

Jen:  It’s human nature to want things reliable and exciting at the same time.  We need to feel stable and we need something new.  It’s common to get bored, and an easy solution to fix.

Caterina:  Well, I ended up taking the rest in on Friday to share so it wouldn’t go to waste.  Everyone loved it and a few even said they were going to make for themselves this week.

Jen:  What a great solution! 

Caterina:  Yeah, for not wasting the food.  But does this mean each week I’ll start strong and then go down hill?  That seems like a waste of time.

Jen:  I agree.  Let’s add a second breakfast into your week to break things up a bit.

Caterina:  Do you mind if we add two?  I really want to try smoothies and your Breakfast Bread.  And I think I need a few days before I do the egg casserole again.

Jen:  You can skip the egg casserole completely this week and just focus on those two if you want.  There’s not a right or wrong way to do this.

Caterina:  I had kind of a weird idea about a breakfast share at work.  Like each of us brings something to share each day.  What do you think?

Jen:  Will you have guidelines or will donuts be okay? 

Caterina: (Laughing) Oh, good point!  Okay, for now I will just work on me and share when I get bored.

Jen:  For now, let’s start with you.  I know you are in the business of supporting and encouraging others, but that must begin with you.  Others learn much more from what you do than what you say. Have you ever seen an image of a rock creting ripples from landing in water?  The rock’s job is to be the rock.  The ripples are created from the rock’s action. Your job is to be the rock. The ripples will appear from your action.  Be the rock.

Caterina:  (laughing) I think I need to make a sign with those words!  

Jen:  Let’s talk about prepping ahead of time.  Have you heard of smoothie kits?

Caterina:  Like the ones in the freezer section?

Jen:  Similar but I want you to make your own so you can add great quality ingredients.  All it takes is a few gallon freezer bags or plastic containers.  Each morning, you dump the ingredients, add your liquid and blend. 

Caterina:  Sounds easy.  I can pre-make all of the smoothie ingredients for the week at once?

Jen:  For more than a week if you’d like.  You could prep them all for the month.

Caterina:  Wow, that’s so simple.  Why haven’t I don’t that before? 

Jen:  Fun, right?  Same with the Breakfast Bread.  You can make four batches on one weekend and freeze three of them.

Caterina: You make it sound so easy. 

Jen:  Keeping things simple and easy is one of the best ways to succeed.  I want you to not only have the energy and focus from breakfast, but I also want you to enjoy it without spending your entire weekend doing meal prep.  So, we keep it simple.

Caterina:  What about the following week?  Will I get bored again?

Jen:  One week at a time.  Let’s see how this week goes with two different breakfast choices.

Caterina:  Sounds good. 

Jen:  You have some great goals ahead this week.  How does it feel?

Caterina:  Very good.  Calmer this time but still optimistic.

Jen:  I can’t wait to see your breakfasts!

Caterina:  Oh, you will get pictures!

Jen:  Good.  Have a great week!

Caterina:  Thanks, you too!

Caterina’s Session #2 Goals:

  • Make one batch of Breakfast Bread. Make sure to reach out to your coach if you have any issues! This is one of the benefits of having a coach! Use it!
  • Make one week of smoothie kits. Include some protein (yogurt, hemp hearts, chia seeds, nuts, seeds), greens (baby spinach or baby kale), fruit (berries are a great choice), and clean liquid (water, unsweetenened nut milk) and any supplements you want to add (flax seed oil, probiotics, maca, MCT oil, etc.). Search Pinterest for ‘smoothie kit’ ideas.  Be selective!
  • Train new employees with planned schedule in order to create empowered, creative, efficient staff.