You might think it’s hard to be a coach instead of a referee or judge.  (Hint: it is.) You might think you can’t possibly be a coach because you don’t watch your team members “play their game” every day.  (Hint: you can!)

Here’s a story I heard recently from a really experienced, talented marketer.  I think it illustrates marvelously how a coach thinks and acts.

When this marketer was starting out in his career, he was the lead team member working with an outside advertising firm.  His company was huge, a household name.  Their account was handled by a creative lead who was a legend in the industry.  The young marketer was enthralled – perhaps a little too enthralled.

His boss came to a meeting and observed how little he pushed back on the industry legend.  After the meeting, he pulled the young marketer aside.

“You admire (Industry Legend), don’t you?” he said.

“Of course I do. He’s a legend!” the young marketer exclaimed.

The boss paused, then said, “You’re right.  But for (Legend) to really do his best work, he needs you to ask questions and challenge him.  That will make him better and force you to be better too.”

Years later, this marketer remembers that conversation – and that boss – as a vital turning point in his career.  And notice, it didn’t take hours and hours of observation.  It didn’t require a long conversation. It simply took something the boss was already doing (attending an important meeting with an outside resource) and converted it into a memorable learning experience.

So look at your calendar today.  Could anything on there undergo a similar conversion?