Coaching Mindset: Grapes or Employees – Keep Them on the Verge of Discomfort for Business Results

What do winemaking and business have in common? 

While celebrating our 20th anniversary, Karen and I visited the Napa Valley wineries.  A friend of mine, Tony Wasowicz, is the Chief Winemaker at Michel-Schlumberger Wines (  Tony gave us a tour and explained all of the latest thinking on organic farming.  I asked naively, “so I imagine that you give the grapes a good supply of water?”  He said, “no, in fact we found that when we gave them a plentiful supply of water they became plump and fat, and not very flavorful.  Tony explained that they found that if they kept the grapes on the edge of starvation it creates the most fruitful and delicious grape which in turn makes the best wine. 

That hit me right between the eyes!  Isn’t it the same in life and business?  If you look at human nature, when things are plentiful and easy, we tend to become lethargic, bloated, and not as fulfilled or sharp.  It’s the same thing in Coaching.  As a leader it is your job to keep people in a state of disequilibrium.  We need to actually keep them on the edge of competitiveness and challenging themselves to create the greatest performance, focus, and execution.  Now, not to by cynical, but the folks who are not leaders are kind of sitting back hoping they can be plump, fat and not working that hard.

As a Coaching Leader, it is your job to make sure that you keep them stretched and growing.  Growth and change require a certain amount of discomfort, just like the grapes.  As a Coach, don’t let your people become raisins ro bloated grapes, challenge them just enough.  In winemaking discomfort leads to great tasting wine – In Business Coaching discomfort leads to great business results and personal satisfaction.  In my work as a CEO Coach, I find that most CEOs are constantly trying to create the right amount of disequilibrium with their staff.  Keep stretching them!  Try the Coach Approach and you and your team will get the most our of each other.

  • Posted by Coach Pete
  • Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010
  • Comments Off on Coaching Mindset: Grapes or Employees – Keep Them on the Verge of Discomfort for Business Results