Cheese and Coaching

Have you seen the cartoon movie, otherwise quite serious, made after the exceptional and famous book of Spencer Johnson written back in 1998 called “Who moved my cheese?” The book is really very easy to read, but since I am a “visual” I enjoyed studying its cartoon characters.

The topic?  Some may call it “organizational change management”, others “adapting oneself to changing environment”, others “phychological profiles”. I also learned that this book has been sometimes abused as it was invoked to cynically serve as basis for restructuring lay-offs. I saw the value of sending the link (see the end of the article) to a friend struggling with market repositioning. But I still think about the meaning and utility of these cartoons and underlying concepts. In coaching.

We all are looking for the cheese – for ourselves, family, company, country, planet. It is true that my cheese is different than yours.  Thank God for that! (it reduces competition). So the cheese is important, critical, vital. We need it and it satisfies us.  It gives us meaning, value, direction.

Coaching is a common journey to the client’s cheese. The client defines the type, quantity and delivery time. Together with the coach the client launches the expedition to the cheese. Throughout this journey there are defined the instruments and resources needed to explore and walk the way, the internal and external obstacles, the itinerary and the camp bases. Along the way, the client will discover new sources of inspiration, motivation, information about self, strengths and qualities. This is a journey outside and inside the client’s own universe.

The coach is always present, with the client, along the journey, to assist, encourage, stimulate, applaud and empower. However the client is the hero of the expedition to his/her own cheese. The success will be attained step by step according to his/her tenacity, motivation, strength and determination.

Next time the client will be able to handle alone the trip to yet another desired cheese. This is definitely a sign of the competence and ethics of the coach who will still be rewarded by the simple fact that he/she was once the sherpa of a successful expedition to a personal Everest. This is for the coach a “big deal” – without any irony.