The value of finding a coach
"Good coaching turns good contractors into great contractors."
By Robert Koci
Before I joined Canadian Contractor, I had put in several decades framing houses and, later, renovating. I will be the first to admit I wasn’t always perfect. Recently, I became a client again myself when I needed some painting done in an area of my house that I had worked on but was fed up with. I wanted a professional to finish it up.
My contractor was technically proficient but needed “customer sensitivity” training. I wanted the space finished. I wanted the stuff I had not done to get done. There was painting and plastering to do. I stood at the entrance of the area that included a bathroom and a bedroom and a very small hallway and said, “I want all this finished.” But somewhere in there, I had also said he need not try to improve on the quality of the plaster and then repaint in the areas I had already done.
To keep this short, an area of the bedroom wall about six inches wide came in to dispute. We both knew he was going to come back to solve the problem, but in the exchange outlining my justification for wanting it fixed and his for not fixing it the first place he missed an opportunity to make me a repeat customer.
Though from the beginning he was prepared to fix the problem, he wasn’t prepared to let me go without my acknowledging that he was justified in not doing it if he chose to. He wanted me to acknowledge that he was doing me a favour, not fulfilling a responsibility.
I chalk it up to the pride of youth, but it was bad customer relations. I had to humble myself and essentially say I was wrong before he would fix the problem. I gave him a big middle finger with my inside voice, acknowledged his position, and left it at that.
He was technically good and he’ll do well in his contracting career, but I came away thinking with just a little coaching, he would do so much better. Good coaching turns good contractors into great contractors.
Mentoring or consulting can fix little things that make big, big differences.