“Practice makes perfect,” Melanie grinned.
“No,” I replied. “Practice does NOT make perfect. Practice may make you feel better, repeating grooved, routine behaviors, but, those behaviors may still miss the mark. Practice does not make perfect, only perfect practice makes perfect. It’s not the repetitions, it’s the right repetitions.”
“But, you always say that we learn from mistakes,” Melanie chided.
“Learning is making mistakes, but you have to learn from the gap. What is the future state of performance, what is the current performance, and what’s the gap?”
“So, there is some analysis going on?” Melanie confirmed.
“And, often that analysis is invisible to you because you are getting comfortable with repetition. But, it’s just a feeling. What’s the difference between training and coaching?”
“Training gets you started, but practice makes you better. Learning from mistakes only works when you recognize the mistake, and figure out how to do it differently. And, sometimes we can’t see the mistake, or the correction, as easily as someone else. That’s where a coach comes in.”
“You said you had been through training,” I nodded, “and you were able to describe the training, as scheduled, with a curriculum. What about coaching? How would you describe coaching here?”
Melanie paused for a very long time. “In my days here, coaching seems elusive. I don’t know if I can put my finger on it. Underperformance is more likely met with reprimand and training, more training, back to training. I don’t need more training, I need more practice, perfect practice.”