Over 2,500 years ago, the great storyteller Aesop shared a short fable about a farmer whose goose suddenly started laying golden eggs. After getting rich from selling some of the eggs, the farmer decides to get all the eggs at once by killing the goose. Unfortunately, the foolish farmer ended up with no goose and no eggs.
Centuries later, Steven Covey applied the fable of the goose and golden eggs in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Covey used the fable to convey a principle he called the P/PC Balance. That is, effectiveness comes when we balance our prioritization of Production (P) and Production Capability (PC). Production are the golden eggs we care about. Production Capability are the assets and abilities that produce the golden eggs.
If farmers and geese don’t get the point across, imagine a NASCAR driver. For the driver and his team, the golden eggs they care about are the wins that come from going fast. In their world, Production is all about speed. But imagine caring so much about circling the track as fast as possible that the team decided against ever making a pit stop. Driving in circles at 200 mph uses a lot of fuel and quickly wears out the rubber tires. Without taking care of the car with regular pit stops, there is no speed. Things are out of balance.
If things can be out of balance in one direction, then they could also get out of balance in the other direction. Imagine caring so much about Production Capability that you neglected Production. This is hard to imagine with the goose and the golden eggs, but it’s easy to imagine with our NASCAR example. A driver who pitted after every lap or even every ten laps would be totally out of balance. His car would have great Production Capability, but to no end.
Okay, so why all this talk about effectiveness being in balance? Because I think it applies to coaches. Of course, it does, because we want to be effective.
As a coach, my Production happens when I am coaching a client. Not only does coaching a client produce income, it also produces value for the client. An hour of coaching is a “golden egg” – and hopefully value the size of a big goose egg, not a tiny quail egg.
To be productive as a coach, I have to take care of the goose. Caring for the coaching goose can mean a lot of obvious things, including:
- Rest – it’s hard to coach well when you don’t get enough sleep. Mental sharpness and focus require plenty of rest.
- Preparation – being my best for a client means that I am ready for coaching and for coaching with that client. I am prepared when I have reviewed previous sessions and when I am in the right mental space for coaching.
- Learning – coaching effectiveness goes way up the more I learn and grow.
Coaching effectiveness also entails some less obvious ways to care for the Production Capability geese. Coaching sessions don’t spring from the ether. There is a lot that has to happen to get a coaching client and to get a client scheduled. In this regard, you care for your coaching goose by:
- Growing in confidence, including your confidence when it comes to asking for business.
- Maintaining your motivation, especially your motivation to do the work necessary to meet new people (aka, networking) and nurture relationships toward new business.
- Deepening your niche, which means getting to know the world of your clientele better and better so you can provide greater value sooner in the relationship.
- Fine-tuning your sales acumen, regardless of how good you are at sales or how much you like doing it.
In the parable of the goose and the golden eggs, the foolish farmer kills the goose intentionally. That’s where the parable breaks down in reality. It’s unlikely you will intentionally kill your coaching. It’s more likely you will starve the goose by giving too little attention to the things mentioned above. I’m no farmer, but I imagine geese require care. My encouragement to you is that you care for your goose so you and your clients benefit from the golden eggs of coaching.