Don't give me problems, give me solutions: a coaching anecdote

Photo at blog from webmaster - 21/09/2010 - 13:02

After my last blog on the personal coach and the differences with the more traditional roles of consultants, I got quite a lot of positive response. At the same time I also had to explain these differences it to some (non-professional ICT) persons. A substantial crash with my PC gave me an unexpected rather cynical example to explain this in another way.

The crash

Picture this: a rather complex home office infrastructure with desktops, media players, notebooks, wireless and cabled network and a backup device. Within this a desktop which serves as my central “hub” for mail rules and the more specialized applications. This machine’s power supply broke down only two years old. Although I have automatic backup, it still is a nuisance if you miss the applications, the logon credentials, etc., etc.

Before the purists will attack me: yes, I could have organized it differently but things tend to grow in this way.

How the Consultant acted

Since I had had an A-label desktop, switch to another machine and find out about support. Finding out that a call was the logical option I got, after 2 minutes of a woman’s taped voice explaining what they all could do with my personal information, a friendly warm body came on line. After I explained the situation, only confused by the preset scripts the guy was obviously reading, I came to a simple conclusion. I only had one year warranty so any action would cost money straight away. The best option was to close a support contract of some sort on the spot which then would allow me to sent in my desktop. Duration: normally a turnaround of 5-8 working days. Expected cost: if my assumption on the power supply was correct, somewhere in the € 350 plus region.

I thanked the guy and said that I thought this very expensive and that I would look for other options. So the consultant gave me a possible solution, at uncertain but high costs and with a duration which would force me to install some form of backup infrastructure.

So in the car with my desktop to my local friendly PC-shop who advised me well before.

What the Advisor did

Although I did not buy this machine at his shop, he started to disassemble the thing right away with the purpose of confirming my diagnoses and checking if the hard disk was still ok. I was right with my assumption on the power supply and luckily the hard disk was ok. He said than straight away that for this brand he was not allowed by the manufacturer to order spare parts. Since my power supply was not a standard format, he checked via his normal suppliers if it could be ordered with them. Unfortunately not, so end of story.

As a true advisor he suggested to look on the internet myself for the part, told me to expect a price of around € 100. Also he suggested to hook up the hard disk as a slave to another machine and explained the options of success using the hard disk as primary in another PC. He confirmed my diagnosis, could not solve my problem other than selling me a new machine and talked with me sensibly about the economics of repair and replacement. He charged nothing.

So back in the car with the desktop and the separate hard disk and a call to my coach (a former colleague who is a systems administrator).

How my Coach helped me

I got him on the phone within 30 seconds. First of all he knows my infrastructure so straight away advised not to start with primary hard disk swaps. Then he suggested some shops that might have the spare part. Also he advised to buy a hard drive dock for the intermediate period and comforted me by saying that if I would have bought extended warranty this would have happened when that had expired and thus would have cost me even more.

He gave me comfort, advice based upon my personal situation and directions where to find a spare part.

So I drove home and got into action.

My solution

After some browsing I found the part at even a Dutch shop, in stock, and for € 84 including shipping. I went back to my advisor local PC shop and bought a hard disk dock and hooked it up to one of my other machines. And after conquering such little things like account security and importing Outlook files, I was up and running again for the time being. Now anxiously waiting for my spare part and the re-vamping of my infrastructure.

I did it myself, with the help of MyPersonalCoach.

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