Friday, October 21, 2005

Beware the coach that sneaks from behind

Beware the coach that sneaks from behind


I ran the Indianapolis Half-Marathon last Saturday and, as is often the case in such events, found a group of similarly-glacial-paced participants by the 2 mile mark.  Our spontaneous group of 7 found a comfortable rhythm and enjoyed the beautiful fall weather as we galumphed along.


Around mile 7, we heard some odd talking coming up behind us.  I turned and observed two lumpy middle-aged guys accompanied by a young fellow who looked right out of Central Casting for the physical fitness industry.


"Hey, folks, meet Coach Dan!!" one of the Lumpy Guys exclaimed to our little pack of runners. 


Being a basically friendly group (hey, this is Indiana, after all) we greeted Dan from Central Casting and his associated Lumps.  What followed surprised us. Dan took our sociable greeting as an invitation to immediately shout instructions at us.  


"Get off your toes!!  You're asking for an injury."  


"Get some orthotics in those shoes, your knees will blow out!"


The tension started to pick up.


"Hey, Pink" he yelled at one of our fashionably-dressed pack members, "drop your hands!!  Get 'em down, even with your waist!!"   As if to mock him, she clenched her fists and raised her arms higher.


"Relax!!!  RELAX!! RELAX WHEN YOU RUN!"  Coach Dan yelled at all of us.  Woo boy. 


At which point, another member of the klatch had had enough.  "You can just keep on running, Dan.  You're faster...get on ahead...I'm not listening." 


One of the Pair o' Lumps muttered "Dan, let's back it off" and they drifted away.  But the interchange soured an otherwise wonderful run.




The Lump Brothers had obviously requested Dan to coach them.  It must have worked.  In their excitement, they introduced Dan to us, thinking that everyone would welcome his helpful input.  Problem was, we hadn't made that request.  And didn't welcome the intrusion.  He burst in the door, rather than knocking, waiting for the reply and responding to an invitation. 


I can be Dan at times.  In my excitement about some new plan to eliminate a waste or improve a pull system, I can bark at someone who isn't ready to listen.  And, surprise surprise, the response is the same as Dan got from our pack. 


The Japanese have a saying I really like: "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear."  Whether I'm a student or a teacher, I have to be aware of this.  As we Learn About Lean.


I hope this is helpful. 

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