Last week I had a meeting with a good friend and client, and we discussed the evolution of his business over the past several years, but more importantly his evolution as a leader. He brought up his former business coach and described the profound impact this man had on his thinking, his management style, and his life. I could see in his face, that this was not an easy thing to talk about. Bob was no longer his coach. Not because their business relationship had run its course, but because In 2019 he passed away after a short battle with cancer.

It was quite apparent that this man’s influence still had an impact on my friend’s thoughts and actions on a daily basis. I had watched his growth over the years. He gone from a struggling small business owner consumed with his own survival to a true servant leader, consumed by the success of his team. It is a transformation many hope for, but not all achieve. There is no doubt this coach had a lot to do with this. Now, sitting here in this role of coach, I listened to the stories of the quiet persistence this prior coach had that drove this change.

As a coach or consultant, it’s easy to sit there thinking we have all the answers, and if our clients would just listen to us their problems would be solved. This conversation was a good reminder for me that this work is not just about providing answers, but about helping people to understand how to find and implement the solutions. It’s about driving the personal growth leaders need to achieve before any change in the organization can take place. Gently steering you to the realization that all organizational change starts by looking in the mirror.

My friend went to his filing cabinet, pulled out a folder and placed it on his desk. He shared with me several years’ worth of meeting summaries that his coach had provided him. Simple and concise, a quote at the top that summed up the lesson and the personal transformation he was trying impress on my friend. I read though these one by one. I could slowly see the evolution of the change that I had only assessed previously at random discrete intervals. Now I could see the movement of the glacier as I read each meeting summary, one after the other.

It was profound, humbling, and intimidating. It made me realize the importance of the big picture when it comes to coaching, working with clients, or even working on ourselves. The important of patience (something not naturally my strong suit) and at a personal level, the fact that I had some pretty big shoes to fill.

My client allowed me to copy the meeting notes. Each December I put together a year’s worth of social media posts. You may have seen Encore’s “Quote Tuesday” posts. I do these because like many business owners I suffer from entrepreneurial ADD, and I find that quotes have always been a good way for me to do a quick attitude assessment. They can serve as a reminder of some “blinding flash of the obvious” that we may forget when we get overly wrapped up in things.

This year I am dedicating quote Tuesday to Bob Meyer, a coach who I never met personally, but the product of who’s work I see regularly.

While from a variety of sources, all the quotes come from his meeting summaries. These are the things he felt it was important for leaders to be considering as they attempt to grow and self-improve.

In reading these meeting summaries, I came to understand that my client’s change wasn’t something that happened by chance. It was the consistent positive persistence of someone who could see the potential in him and had the ability to help him unlock it. This is his legacy. This was not an accident.

At the same time, I am now able to see how my friend is setting his own legacy, and how that is a direct result of how he was coached. Not because he followed a set of instructions, but because someone was able to help him find it within himself. A true legacy is not what we are able to do, but what we are able to help others unlock within themselves.

I can think back on the coaches I’ve had in my life, both personal and professional. I’ve gotten to where I am not because of my own abilities, but because I stand on the shoulders of each person who came before me, who was willing to share the lessons learned on their journey, because of their ability to see potential and help unlock it. Hopefully I do them justice by helping others to do the same.

So, I’ll ask you this, what will your legacy be? The one thing I’ve learned is, it won’t happen by accident.