I slide further and further down my chair. Dreading the moment another person enters the room.

Another person who is late.

I’m sitting third row from the front. I’m at a leadership and development seminar. I never sit in the front row. Do you? The last time I sat in the front row of anything, I was four. First day at school. Sitting in assembly. I remember we were singing ‘Puff The Magic Dragon’ and I was messing around with a pencil. The headmaster dragged me from where I was sitting and made me stand facing the wall in front of the entire school. I felt humiliated.


Third row. I hear the door to the seminar room open again. It’s now eight minutes past one. I slide another centimetre down my chair.

Deathly silence.

The leadership trainer –  Manal – casually eyes the late comers as they walk in the room and just as they’re about to take their seat, she turns to them, one-by-one and says,

“If you can’t even show up on time here, how can you expect to show up in other areas of your life?”

People squirm. Eyes dart left to right. Excuses start – “Yeah, but the queue was so big in the cafe, I had to pay for my sandwich”, “I had to go to the toilet”, “I didn’t know we had to be back here for one on the dot”.

“Bullshit. You just didn’t make getting here on time a priority. And now you’ve held everyone else up.” 

I’m now half off my chair. Second-hand embarrassed for those she’s balling out. But I quietly nod in agreement.

The afternoon seminar starts fifteen minutes late.

This kind of thing is something I see in my own work.

People booking one of my free – or sometimes paid for – coaching sessions and not turning up for it.

What is going on here?

Why did they not make the session a priority? A priority to take that step. A priority to change. To shift. To show up. For themselves. To stop talking about. To quit the excuses. To do the work.

And look, I get it. Life happens. Shit happens. Stuff comes up and you can’t make it. I understand.

But I also understand something else: People are drawn to coaching because they feel stuck and apathetic and indecisive. And yet the same apathy and indecisiveness is the reason people don’t show up for a coaching call.

And behind the not showing up for a free coaching call, I’m wondering how they’re showing up in their career. And in their marriage. And with their kids. And in their friendships. And with their health.

And in their life.

Most people don’t feel happy but aren’t unhappy enough to do anything about it.

Are you one of them?