Ms. Wanna-Be-Perfect (me) is declaring a breakdown today: I missed… no, I totally erased an appointment with a dear client this week and did not show up for my appointment with her. OMG, this hurts my heart!

How could I do that? I’ve got some excuses and I even have some “reasons”; i.e. only slightly better than excuses. I could use these to explain to my client. Let’s see what excuses I might use to make amends:

  1. I changed web calendars this week and some appointments didn’t transfer. (true, but not in this case)
  2. My software scheduler didn’t enter the appointment correctly. (has happened and is the reason I changed calendars, but not in this case)
  3. My Virtual Assistant has access to my calendar and she must have “messed” with it. (scratch that one, I love her and it is definitely not her fault)
  4. Here’s maybe a good one: My business has become so successful (sounding good…) that when one client had to postpone a coaching session, I deleted the other client by mistake, but since I’m so successful she should understand. (forget this one… that’s an awful excuse)

I could list more excuses but I know that it would not make me feel any better and my client would see right through all of them. Hmmmm, what am I avoiding? It is about “saving face”; it is about keeping promises; it is about the need to “be perfect” in the eyes of another. It is about not admitting I make mistakes; not admitting that I am human. It is about breaking trust. Here is the honest truth of this mistake:

I have taken on more work this week than I can handle without the time to avoid making mistakes. When one client said she needed to postpone, I deleted this client’s appointment unintentionally from my calendar. The other appointment was already removed, both names begin with a “D”… and I was rushing to find a place for a conversation with someone else.

Note the word “rushing”… not a good excuse and it is a reason; but more importantly it gives me pause to consider how I could do things differently.) The word “unintentionally” is important to me and it is honest. It may serve the client to know, but I do have to accept how she feels. And, this gives me pause to consider how much work is too much for me so that I rush through things, as I do not want to repeat this kind of mistake.

How can I rebuild trust with my client? All relationships are built on trust and in a coaching relationship trust is paramount. So, I’m going to do what I support clients in exploring: how to maintain trust. Here are the main ideas that come from Newfield Network, my coach school, and one of my coaches, Charles Feltman and his The Thin Book of Trust:

  • Trust is dynamic; it has to be maintained which means when it is broken in a small or large way, I’ll have a conversation as soon as possible. First to express my deep regrets and to ask for forgiveness.
  • Trust has different dimensions:
    • Sincerity: I say what I mean and I mean what I say.
    • Reliability: I keep my promises.
    • Competence: I have the ability to do what I am doing or propose to do.
    • Care: I have the other person’s interests in mind as well as my own.
  • When I break one or more of the dimensions I shall have a conversation and speak to the dimensions and express what I feel and what I desire from the other.
  • The hard one: I accept the feelings of the other and their assessment of whether to forgive or whatever they feel would rebuild the trust that has been broken. I then make a decision to accept, or not, whatever request they make of me.

One last thought, I have experienced that when I’m vulnerable, I often draw people to me vs. pushing them away. I’m hoping my client is drawn to me so we can have a conversation to rebuild trust. (Fingers crossed!)

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