This is a fitting post following my last post of John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success.
Most every day, my 18-month-old boy enjoys time with his foam building blocks. He’s been at them for about a year and is certainly advancing his motor learning skills as well as his creativity. The first steps of building blocks consisted of me stacking the blocks with him handing them to me promptly followed by a swift arm-swing and giggle as he toppled the blocks. Now he stacks them himself and his twin sister promptly follows with a swift arm-swing and her giggles as she topples the blocks. A quick scream or even a cry ensues from my boy, sometimes a grab and a pinch, but quickly he’s back at it.
The fascinating part of watching him build the blocks is me. I’m the fascinating part (no, not in a narcissistic way). Certainly, I am truly fascinated by his progress and achievement, but I reflect upon my actions and interactions with him from a coaching perspective. As he builds on his own, I have found myself straightening a block out, or moving a block for better overall balance of the structure, or creating a stronger foundation of blocks for which he can build upon, or using certain shapes for charismatic purposes, or building them as high as I can build them, or creating a fort-like or house-like structure. All things either I believe he will enjoy, ways I believe will help him learn, or things to keep me from boredom 😉
The reflection occurs wondering if I’m helping him or hurting him by trying to ‘show him the way’. At what point do I need to be hands off? At what point do I let his failing structures continue to fail? Etc. My conclusion – balance and consistency. There are times to instruct, times to let fail, time to be hands-on and times to let him be on his own – Balance. The consistency comes in my own attitude, especially not freaking out in an OCD way when a block is off kilter and I know the structure is going to fall!
Just another interesting perspective my twins have taught me and how it relates to coaching and how I can be a better coach. All the same principles, balance and consistency, can be applied to those I coach.