“Eagles come in all shapes and sizes, but you will recognise them chiefly by their attitudes” (Charles Prestwich Scott).
After a while, I had a coaching session, and my coach introduced the concept of significance. The concept emphasizes continually helping other people to achieve their respective goals and aspirations and being helped to be successful. The concept of significance led to my coach telling me this inspirational story of Queen, which is based on the “DCO” principle.
This is the inspirational story of a lady called Queen who overcame great personal limitations and inhibitions to achieve desires that would remain pipe dreams for some people. It is the story of an individual who embarked on a fancy journey by developing herself from being an office cleaner to becoming a company’s top executive. Queen was also blessed with colleagues, as well as a managing director and a professional coach who all supported her in her success journey.
Queen, the lady in this story, obviously did so much to make the most of the opportunities she was presented with, and in the process achieved her lofty goals, despite her many challenges. May the story inspire you as much as it has inspired several others that have heard it, as well as it continues to inspire my coach presentation of “DCO”, a coaching model that he developed based on the story of Queen. “DCO” stands for “Desire”, “Capacity” and “Opportunity”.
Simply put, the important message of DCO is that you must have a strong personal desire that would inspire and motivate you to build the capacity to be the best that you can be. And, that if you commit to building the capacity, the opportunity to display that personal genius and unique knowledge would definitely present itself. The beginning is however having a strong personal desire. That is the moral of this story. Now to the inspirational story of the Queen below.
In 2004, I was invited to facilitate a team-building programme at a top South African company. One of the first things we did when we started the programme was to make each person choose a ‘power name’ formed from the first letter of his or her first name. Therefore, a gentleman called Alvin decided to call himself “Anointed Alvin” and a lady named Candice became known as “Candid Candice”. Another person named Graham became nicknamed “Great Graham”.
While the team activities were going on, I observed that the office cleaner, a lady called Queen was not invited to participate in the team building programme. Instead, she was tasked with cleaning up our mess and bringing us snacks or any other thing that we needed. Perhaps because she was a mere cleaner, she was not considered fit to be a real team member.
When I asked the Chief Executive Officer of the company why the lady was not invited to join us, he looked surprised for a while. Later, he said that he would invite her to participate if I insisted. Of course, I insisted and she joined us. I must admit here that I have previously never made such a request or even insisted that my request be granted. On reflection, this was an inspired decision as later events would prove.
Anyhow, the lady was called and asked to join the team building programme. On settling down to sit among her ‘superiors’, Queen the cleaner now had to choose a power name for herself. For a while, it seemed such a Herculean task, considering the fact that forming a word with the letter “Q” is not very easy. Eventually, our new addition to the programme blurted out excitedly her power name. She chose to be called, and confidently expressed the desire to be known from that day as “Queenly Queen”!
Immediately I saw the excitement all over her, I felt the urge to seize the moment and support Queen to think creatively. After all, if she appreciates who a real queen is and understands the power that resides in a queen, she may be able to see herself beyond being a cleaner and tea-girl. She may possibly be able to take decisions based on creative thinking. And that was exactly what happened to “Queenly Queen” that day.
I challenged her to sit like a queen and to see every other person in the room as her subjects – her workers. I then asked her to close her eyes and visualise herself as the Chief Executive Officer, putting herself right there on his seat as the head of the organisation. As if propelled by some unexplainable force, Queen smiled contentedly and nodded with supreme understanding as she now sat like a queen on an imaginary throne. Queen was being transformed before our very eyes.
When I observed her body language and energy movement, I chose to track that energy flow by inviting her to make some decisions that would reposition the company, especially by empowering people to be more proactive and resilient in lead generation and closing of deals.
None of us was adequately prepared for the response that we received from Queen, who in her “queenly state” made some suggestions that have helped shape the organisation’s expansion programme. In her mind, she spoke not as a cleaner, but as a queen.
This was totally unplanned, yet she spoke so eloquently and confidently, with so much knowledge and conviction that she received, not just a rousing applause, but lots of hugs from virtually every team member. Even with her limited educational background and professional knowledge, it seemed like Queen had done so much personal thinking and even possibly some research on how to reposition the company.
Moreover, it appeared that she was just praying for the opportunity to share her thoughts and express her knowledge, even if considered limited. All that Queen wanted and desired was an opportunity to be heard by people who would believe in her, and possibly encourage her to think bigger and more creatively. She had the desire and the opportunity came along for her.
That was how Queen’s transformation began. From that day, she saw herself, not as a cleaner, but as a queen, trying to make her place of operation more conducive for productive work. And, as her attitude to work changed, so did her self-esteem and personal perception also change. Soon, Queen began to take private studies with her little pay, and was able to pass some basic exams.
Her boss also noticed her strong desire for self-development and promoted her, in addition to enrolling her for some professional courses. Subsequently, Queen became a manager of one of the organisation’s branches, eventually becoming an executive director of the same organisation. Queen, the single mother and cleaner of some years back, is happily married and a professional who has remained one of my clients.
I have told the story of “Queenly Queen” in several places that I have had the opportunity to facilitate capacity-building training. The reason is to let organisational leaders realise that, although they can train their personnel to have skills, they cannot teach them to change their attitudes, perceptions, beliefs, trust level, desires and thought processes. The responsibility of attitudinal and perception change rests with the individual concerned.
Importantly, what never fails to inspire such a change in the personnel is the process of coaching. In this process, the coach skillfully assists in focusing the client’s mind on the benefits and gains of making informed decisions.
These decisions are about what needs to change and why, when, and how those changes would be made. The coach in this process invites the client to play movies of the future in his or her mind. And, as long as the mind can conceive the possibilities, it would begin to see real opportunities, even in tough situations.
That is what happened to Queen. She conceived it in her mind, and because she saw the possibilities, the opportunities came for her as she made up her mind to desire something better for herself.
The fact that Queen was able to overcome her circumstances also owed much to the fact that she had a boss who became her coach-leader and mentor. He believed in her abilities and worked hard to see that her potentials were unlocked, as the real person emerged. Apart from that, many of Queen’s colleagues must also have been very supportive of her.
There is no doubt that there are such “Queens” in every organisation, with the desire to grow to levels that they can contribute more to their team. Team coaching, which focuses on making individual team members understand their roles, importance and responsibilities has the opportunities of unveiling people like Queen in the workplace.
The story illustrates the “DCO” principle:
Desire: The drive of the dream is a strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen. Queen imagine herself at the throne and her Desire to be on the throne. All that Queen wanted and desired was an opportunity to be heard by people who would believe in her, and possibly encourage her to think bigger and more creatively. She had the desire and the opportunity came along for her.
Capacity: Make (someone) capable of a particular action or legally competent to act in a particular way. The reason is to let organisational leaders realise that, although they can train their personnel to have skills, they cannot teach them to change their attitudes, perceptions, beliefs, trust level, desires and thought processes. It’s Queen’s self-development that made organizational leaders to invest in her.
Opportunity: An appropriate or favorable time or occasion. A situation or condition favorable for the attainment of a goal. A good position, chance, or prospect, as for advancement or success. The fact that Queen was able to overcome her circumstances also owed much to the fact that she had a boss who became her coach-leader and mentor. He believed in her abilities and worked hard to see that her potentials were unlocked, as the real person emerged. Her boss gave her an Opportunity.
This is the application of “The DCO principle”. Queen had a Desire to be on the throne. She capacitated herself to ensure that is ready for any opportunity. When the opportunity was given to her, she performed because of coaching, mentorship and development. Queen is now at the throne.
For more life-changing principles like AVELA, Circles of influence & Control, the four essentials that motivate performance in people, GROW model, the 4 C’s Model, the 5 D’s of Good hand and 4-Step action (4D’s), visit https://ic-mi.com/life-coaching/