The Cake It was my weekend to look after my niece Sarah; she was so very excited. In her mind she had a picture of a cake and wanted me to help her make it. Sarah has a great imagination and does not always want to follow other examples and was determined not to use a recipe from a book. I took her along to our local store so we could buy the ingredients that she needed for the cake. We were picking things up and putting them down, I’m sure there was a plan inside her head but as this was not my creation, I was not getting involved in choosing. We returned home armed with lots of parcels and bags. We spent all afternoon mixing, stirring, and adding the ingredients it was finally placed in the oven and we had to wait for it to bake. Sarah was pacing up and down, as she has no patience and did not really want to wait. Finally time was up, the cake was baked and Sarah was really happy. “I need to finish, I need to decorate the cake.” she said to me.. I left her to put the finishing touches on the cake. Sarah was so exited by baking the cake that we had invited the neighbours and her friends along to view and taste this spectacular creation. Wow, did it look terrific as we carried it into the lounge. Sarah was so happy; she had spent so much time gathering the right things and then making to bake the cake and it looked terrific. We took some pictures for her school project. The moment arrived for everyone try the cake, Sarah asked me to cut the slices, every neighbour and friend took a slice, they were also exited by the enthusiasm Sarah had generated. Aghhh… It was absolutely revolting; it actually burnt my mouth. The cake looked beautiful, it was golden looking and delightfully decorated however it tasted of sweet, very hot, curry. We all hurriedly spat the cake into our napkins. Sarah was distraught, the cake looked right, what had she done wrong? The interesting thing to realise is she had a picture of what it should look like; what colour it should be, how pretty it should look. She chose and put ingredients together that appeared to make the cake wonderful. It did look great BUT at no time had Sarah considered what the cake would taste like, and our taste did not match the vision. The moral of this story is that we can and do imagine the way something should look and feel Despite this we may get all the right ingredients, and not put them in the right order, they may not fit into what we are looking to achieve as a perfect outcome.. With coaching, we look to test and measure at every stage, looking for examples and realise that there is more to an outcome than “How will it look” we need to know the implications on every level of our project, our workforce, or our clients. We need to know what we expect as a full outcome and test and measure that it is achieved, amending the methodology if it is not helping us to reach the goal. For some this will have been just a story, for others it could be a truth as we remember it. A realisation that we do not know what the full perfect outcome is, that we have missed an element in the way forward. We were all children once and as children we learnt by our mistakes. As adults, we still can and do make mistakes, like children we can learn to move forward because of those mistakes.