Wednesday 27 February 2008


I'm seeing a career transition coach at the moment. Every time we meet, I come away feeling hugely positive and capable of doing anything I want to do. I think I'd like to be a coach and make people feel good, too.

For anyone else out there who is thinking about coaching, you might want to try my little quiz first.

So you want to be a coach?

1. Someone you know says that they would like to become a coach. You say:

A) That sounds very interesting. Have you investigated how you might achieve that goal?
B) How are you going to pay for that?
C) No-one is going to pay you to do coaching at your age

2. The same person tells you that one way of becoming a coach is to do an MA. You respond:

A) That sounds great, and is it the best way of enabling you to fulfil your goals? What alternatives are there?
B) Do you have the money to pay for that?
C) Is it really worth paying for that at your age?

3. When you are simply trying to be helpful, the person you are talking to accuses you of being negative. You respond by saying:

A) I'm sorry you don't find my comments helpful. How could I be more supportive?
B) It's not good for you if I just agree all the time.
C) I'm just being devil's advocate. Someone's got to point out the pitfalls.

4. The same person indicates that their coach makes them feel better, whereas you seem to make them feel worse. How do you respond?

A) We could explore why I am making you feel worse, or perhaps it would be better if you find a different coach.
B) You're not paying me to make you feel better.
C) You know what I'm like. You shouldn't ask me about stuff if you don't like the answer.

Mostly A: Wow. With the right training you could become a coach.
Mostly B: Wow. With the right training you could become Bert.
Mostly C: Oh no! Bert isn't just the devil's advocate, he's the Anti-coach.

Sunday 10 February 2008

Spot the oxymoron

We visited our pals the Scouse Gits yesterday.

At one point, Bert started debating the nature of empathy. (Yeah, you're right. We had started drinking by this time.)

In order to illustrate his point, Bert turned to the Gits' 19 year old daughter.

"Hey [beautiful daughter of very close friends], you'd piss on me if I was on fire, wouldn't you?"

"Of course!" she replied politely.

Bert, suddenly empathising with how this might sound to parental ears, sought to correct any potential misunderstandings.

"Only if I'm on fire, though."

Saturday 2 February 2008

Is that a banana in your pocket?

"Can I have your banana?"

The woman behind the counter didn't know quite how to respond to Bert's strange request. "Er...what?," she replied.

Let me explain. Yesterday Bert had an appointment in the dermatology department of our local hospital. This has nothing whatsoever to do with his recent elbow / hand injuries. Amongst his many other complaints**, Bert suffers with lichen planus in his mouth (yes, I know you didn't really want to know that).

Anyway, when Bert turned up at the hospital the conversation went like this:

Bert: "I've got an appointment with [Mr. X] the dermatologist."
Recep (to her colleague): "Oh, it's another one of those letters. That's four now"

[We think she meant one of those letters that told people they had an appointment.]

Recep: "I'm sorry, but [Mr. X] isn't here today."
Bert: "What do you mean, he's not here? Is he ill?"
Recep: "He just isn't here."
Bert: "Oh, you mean he's off doing 'private practice'."
Recep: "I can only confirm that [Mr. X] is not here. I'm sorry you've had a wasted journey."
Bert: "Well, can I have your banana?"
Recep (looking a little upset): "Er...what? Why?"
Bert: "Well, I've just walked here and it took me an hour. Now I'm starving."

He came away with a new appointment but sadly no banana. Whatever is the NHS coming to?

**A doctor friend of ours once quipped that Bert was a doctor's worst nightmare: a hypochondriac who does actually have a lot wrong with him.