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17.09.2010 The rabbit, the maze, the marble and the carrot

I have been pondering the essence of coaching and facilitating. There is a balance between stating facts and guiding people. It is like a common children’s workbook task where you have to guide the rabbit through the maze to the carrot on the other side of the maze. The easiest way is around the maze without ever entering. The rabbit gets the carrot, no learning happens. The next time you will have to draw the same picture all over again. What you need to do is to guide people using breadcrumbs and let them gather enough evidence to reach a conclusion - hopefully the one you intended.

Then again there is the Labyrinth by Brio where you have to avoid dropping your marble into a hole before reaching a full 60 points. When the marble drops, you will have to start over. If the team does not see the benefit of challenging things and abort before they learn how to gain from change, they will never change.

Improvement in a team is always a maze of some sort. A team always has some features of both a rabbit and a marble. The rabbit is readily motivated to find a carrot. They will find their way around or even through the maze with a little help. The marble type of team needs a slope. There may be a lack of interest towards carrots. There are marbles with long ears, spherical rabbits and bouncy balls.

A good coach needs a bunch of good ideas. The question of what does a lady carry in her purse is analogous to what kinds of techniques a coach has in the bottomless pockets. The coach needs to constantly learn new things, look around and learn from the team. There are stories of success and failure on the way. Some ideas are round pegs for square holes, but some of the pieces of a puzzle can be helped with a touch of sandpaper.

An adventure! This is going to be so much fun.