Do as I say not as I do?

Do you like to tell people what to do?
Are you the type of person who wants to be in control of others?

At the time of this experience I was standing in a lecture hall at a university. I cannot recall the topic of my lecture, but just before I began, my instruction to the class was “please turn off your mobile phones, a distraction is the last thing we want”. No sooner had I launched into my lecture than a familiar sound emitted from my handbag. Yes, it was my mobile phone. Just as quickly came my retort “do as I say not as I do”. There was a roar of spontaneous laughter. I have never forgotten the lesson I learnt that day. Several years later when I reflected on this incident and my words, I wondered if we should tell people to do something that we are not prepared to do.

It is so important to learn from life’s lesson and isn’t it fortunate that learning is lifelong? My learning that day was how to model behaviours that I want others to copy. The wisdom in my thinking is that from the day we are born we follow what we see and hear from those around us. These lessons begin with our parents but before long teachers take on a role where children base their behaviour on the behaviours they see teachers modelling. How often have you heard children saying to their parents …but my teacher said…..

As a life coach and mentor I seek to develop a keen awareness of my behaviour. One of the coaching behaviours I practice called Ask not Tell. It is so easy to tell others what to do, but I reckon that if we can ask questions that will enable people to think and arrive at their own solutions it is far more valuable. Modelling this behaviour makes a huge difference between successful and unsuccessful coaching.

Goofing up on the day I told students to turn off their mobile phones did not go unheeded but it was stored in my unconscious mind. I had a bad hand, but I borrow Dennis Waitley’s quote because he states that “Success in life comes not from holding a good hand, but in playing a poor hand well”.

My response was to join in the spontaneous laughter and make the most of a bad hand, but I also learnt how to model the behaviours I wanted others to follow.

Being in control and telling others what to do is meaningless unless we are able to model the behaviours we are exacting from others. This is a salutary lesson to learn.

Would you like to model positive behaviour?
Can you see the sense in what I am sharing with you?

If so sign up for coaching master classes with CLC