Tailor-made

Have you ever worked with a tailor who is so magical that he/she can transform a piece of clothing from being hopeless to brilliant? This summer, I experienced this kind of wizardry first hand. My son, who was in London, had come home for his sister’s wedding having ordered a groomsman suit that could only be described as unwearable. He is a rower and so his shoulders and quadriceps would not yield to the dimensions of this garment. It was like alligator skin on an alligator. With the wedding only 3 days away, what could be done?

A stroke of sheer luck saved the day. We located a tailor on Google, an old world Italian gentleman, who had a modest shop in a nearby strip mall. How often do you find a master on the first try? The result was miraculous, tailor-made, as it were. The minute you walked into his shop, you could feel the years of experience, his wise eyes, skilled hands, and creative problem solving skills. He transformed the suit and the wedding went on with no split pants or a torn suit coat.

Not everything needs to go to the tailor and yet items look even better if they have the custom touch. In coaching, sometimes we get into spirited discussions about which approach is best, which assessment is valuable and which is not, what theory has more merit than another. Or we feel incomplete if we haven’t reached a certain depth with a client even if they feel complete. Experienced coaches need to be the like the Italian tailor who transformed the groomsman suit. We need wise eyes and the heart of an artisan. We need to stay open to multiple theories, approaches, and most of all client defined outcomes. We need the suit to fit.

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