At Ridgeway School, my elementary alma mater,  before public prayer was banned, we used to have a morning ritual where we bowed our heads and asked God (imagine that!) to give us clean hands, clean hearts and a clean mind. Further, we asked that we be able to choose the hard right over the easy wrong. I don’t remember the rest, but those particular words come back to me time and time again.

Even though it’s been decades since their recitation, they popped up again this week when speaking to a potential client. As much as I like to add clients to my roster, I knew in my heart that this would not be a fit. There was a disconnect between what this person was saying and who she was being.

I’ll give an analogy to provide anonymity and protect feelings.

Imagine the disorientation you might experience if you wanted to hire a professional organizer and you arrived at the appointed time only to be kept waiting. Then, what if the person showed up in a tizzy with an overstuffed Filofax and mismatched gloves. Chances are, you would not invest your time and dollars to have this person help you organize. (Disclaimer: I love the professional organizing and NAPO and used this example only to povide a clear and colorful scenario. I know no such person!)

With my Tuesday prospect–the one who talked the talk (BRILLIANTLY, may I add), but didn’t walk the walk, I attempted to gently explain where I saw the values conflict I was experiencing: “I can’t be a good coach to you without having you own this piece of the issue.”

She listened graciously and asked if I might have the name of another coach, which I willingly offered.

I felt authentic and clean in the process. Though a hard message to deliver, I pray (publicly) that this person will hear the heart in what I said.

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