Learning to ride a bike

Sharing is good

When my daughter was learning to ride a bike I could only hold on to the back of the seat and tell her to pedal for so long before I had to let go.

The first time I let go, she rode into a holly bush at the end of the driveway. I gave her a hug and asked her to tell me what had happened. She told me that she had stopped pedaling. (this is coaching – asking powerful questions and letting her learn from her mistakes)

The next time I didn’t have to tell her to pedal. When I let go she kept pedaling and stayed upright. Unfortunately, she didn’t brake and gently hit the car I had parked across the end of the driveway for safety. I picked her up, hugged her, and told her that I remember that when I was her age the same thing happening to me and that when I learned to use the foot brake I was able to ride. (this is mentoring – using personal experience to make possible solutions to help her learn the solution)

The third time I let go, I had moved the car and made sure that no one was driving down the street, and she was able to ride on her own. (Sooner or later you just have to let go. The key is to know the what boundaries you need to have in place and when to change them)

At that point she and I rode together down the street. When we came to a stop sign I talked with her about stop-look-listen. (this is teaching – taking knowledge that I know and transferring it when the student is ready to hear it and not when I am ready to give it)

The key is in learning that you were never in control in the first place, you only think you are. Trying to control is impossible. Use your skills to being present and listening, then applying the right coaching framework – coaching, mentoring, teaching, facilitating – at the right time.