The Executive Donut Shop Next to The Gym


The Executive Donut Shop Next to The Gym

As executive business coaches can get our inspiration most anywhere. Part of our success at VIM Executive Coaching is, I believe, a willingness “to go out into the world,” and to see the world of our valued clients through their eyes. Sometimes it can get downright amusing.

The Executive Donut

Recently, I was invited for a free workout session at an upscale fitness center. While I am uncertain as to the total square footage of this “monument to health,” I will share it had indoor and outdoor pools, squash courts, tennis courts and any kind of imaginable piece of equipment invented. Obviously, there was an impressive array of classes offered, luxurious locker rooms, massage and spa services and trainers galore. While the staff showered me with kindness (I think they worked on commission), I gently declined a membership as I favor the modest “Y” I’ve been going to for years.

Naturally, there was a café within the fitness center but what caught my attention was the donut shop about 100 yards from the club. I peaked in the window. I must say, as far as donut shops are concerned, this was a pretty spiffy one with beautiful wood paneling and even a brass cappuccino machine.

What amused me is that several of the well-dressed executives who I had observed grunting, groaning and sweating only an hour earlier, were merrily chomping away at jelly donuts and all sorts of sugary-glazed concoctions. I don’t purport to be an expert on nutrition, but I’m a little skeptical of a glazed donut training regimen as a follow-up to a power-workout. Nevertheless, to each her and his alone, and I went merrily on my way to the office.

Sugar High’s

As I began to think about the juxtaposition of having a donut shop near to a multi-million-dollar fitness facility, I began to realize what bothered me not about the shop, but the inconsistencies.

These are the same types of inconsistencies I will sometimes reflect upon with my coaching clients. Obviously, we don’t generally talk about donuts in the same sentence as total abdominal machines, but we will talk about situations where an executive leader displays “one face” to her or his superiors and a completely different face to subordinates. Or, an executive leader who insists on being tough on one employee (claiming it to be tough love) and a complete mush to another employee on the same team.

It comes down to a matter of authenticity. Who is the real executive leader? Is she the one who is sickeningly sweet to the EVP and then amazingly mean-spirited to her peers and subordinates? Is it the executive who makes excuses for a person on his team that he favors and rips into a person who doesn’t meet a rather artificial or completely inconsistent standard?

A lack of authenticity is more transparent than not, and an inconsistency in leadership, is witnessed by those favored – as well as out of favor. Authenticity is achieved through mindfulness. Those who lack mindfulness are inconsistent and frequently prone to reactive rather than responsive leadership.

At VIM Executive Coaching our goal is not to dissuade anyone from enjoying a jelly donut from time to time, but to realize that rationalizations (“I burned a lot of calories today”) do not compensate for inconsistent reactions (“I must have yelled because I was on a sugar high!”).

There is no substitute for authenticity. The momentary pleasure of lashing out is hardly equal to the longer-term benefits of consistency.

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AuthenticityBruce Wolk