THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

The right place to ask questions

Monday morning in the Heathrow Hilton before I fly to Toronto. I arrived yesterday to be told that my Silver rewards card with Hilton had been enhanced to Gold status and I was upgraded to a fancy room on the Executive floor. Ah the joys of reward cards – I’m pretty “hotel-ed-out” at this stage in my life but it was a nice gesture by a very helpful girl on reception. I enjoy working in the hotel lobby at these places, rather than sit in my room like a saddo – so I’ve perched myself on a bar stool with a power-point close by and I’m working through the weekend emails with a cappuccino, occasionally pausing to people-watch. It’s a reminder of the world of the road-warrior – over 90% male and all sat around either doing the same as me, or meeting with colleagues or just sat reading the paper before they whiz off somewhere. I’ll be flying at 3.40pm today and the check-in is just a 10 minute walk from the hotel (thankfully under cover) so this has become my office for the morning. Julie (my personal concierge) has also arranged a business-class seat with economy-class service today – I value the seat more than the fancy food and wine – and that means I can enjoy the journey ahead and just chill with Alan Bennett’s “Untold Stories” for company. The title of this blog entry refers to a comment made on a client bridge call last week. A client explained that she had started writing an email to me with a question, figured out what my answer would be half way through the email – and so didn’t bother to send the email, she just got on with the answer! That happens a lot – it even has a name, “energy coaching” and it’s what happens when the client knows you well enough to know the answers you will give. You might wonder why the client still pays. Its because we create the environments in which the clients ask the right questions of themselves. Part of coaching is to teach our clients which questions to ask – and which to discard. Its an old cliche that “efficient is doing the thing right and effective is doing the right thing right.” Sometime about 2.00am UK time, I’ll be checking in to the Grand Hotel on Jarvis Street in Toronto and preparing for a 3-day workshop with North American coaches. Toronto will probably be a very cold place this week, so I’m expecting to take advantage of the 5 miles of underground malls in my spare time. I’m also looking forward to connecting with our clients and hearing how their practices are evolving.

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