Being a coach is about having good conversations. Sure, there are times when you are reading documents, examining data or making observations, but the reason you are doing those things is to prepare for the conversation that you will be having with the person or team that you are coaching. The conversations that you have are quite specific too. The topic is always the person you are talking to. It is always about them and how they make sense of the world. Sure, you might be talking about changes in the organisation, challenges in managing stakeholders or the crushing pressure … Continue reading How do coaches stay interested in people?
I was helping someone make some improvements in their team recently, to be more “agile.” I made the point, almost apologetically, that we had changed direction a few times and iterated in what we were doing. I started with a workshop, then some coaching, then we had some team meetings and then we seemed to succeed. My friend replied “I guess you have to be agile when you are a coach.” I said yes and laughed, but then I thought about it. Sometimes people say “let’s be agile” when they mean “let’s drop any pretence of planning or process and … Continue reading If we want to teach agile, we should be agile in our teaching
I was talking to someone about a request from a client to “look into something weird.” The client was not sure if something was a problem or not, so they raised it with someone they knew in the team and a couple of hours later the case was solved. It got me thinking. Where do these odd requests fit in? Sometimes people do not know how a product works or how to use it, so they ask for guidance – is that “a matter for the help desk”, is it evidence of a need for client training or is it … Continue reading Does your team get involved in solving mysteries?
I recently completed three courses on Coursera, each achieving the goal I set out with. The first course was a six sigma course that I used to refresh my knowledge on something that I am familiar with. It contained what I wanted to learn but was typical of old fashioned e-learning (and face to face learning). It was a series of lectures, made up of a series of slides, which contained useful information. Then there was extended reading and chat options to go further. I was able to absorb what I wanted but would not say it was awesome. This … Continue reading Good training stands out
I have done many personality profiles over the years. Sometimes they seem to contradict and sometimes there are consistencies. One thing that is consistent though is that I see myself as more co-operative than competitive. However, I was doing a course recently and a point of discussion was when we are all more competitive or collaborative. There were many great points around the impact of things like scarcity, social habits of humans and changing environments, all leading to shifts in behaviour. A conclusion I could come to is that sometimes competition can lead to better results and sometimes co-operation will … Continue reading The variable nature of comparisons
Early in my coaching career I sometimes felt like Cassandra, from Troy, who would see impending disaster and tell people, only to be ignored and then see the disaster unfold. I would say things like “if you leave testing to the end you will miss your deadline,” or ” If your try to estimate your work, you will improve even if nobody else sees the estimate.” Then teams would be too busy and stressed and not gain from my, rather obvious, insights even when they said they agreed with me at the time I gave the insight. Early in my … Continue reading The curse of knowledge
I recently wrote about “coaching tax” and suggested that we should focus on making sure we optimise our “time on task” when coaching, but I got the idea for a coaching tax from the concept of the “Mindset Tax.” In this article I want to look at the difference between a mindset tax (the time spent not being able to grow) and a thinking trap (being trapped in your own unhelpful story or thinking pattern). Both are relevant to coaching and it helps to be aware of them. Defining the term “mindset tax” When coaching, we want people to gain … Continue reading My take on Mindset Tax in coaching
I find that when I set goals, I often need to test them out and then refine them. No matter how hard I think about things up front, I always find room for improvement as soon as I start pursuing the goal. I recently set a goal of “read someone else’s writing once a fortnight” because I thought I should make more time for reading. This seemed good at the time but I now realise it was pretty bad. Firstly “reading” was ill defined. I skim a lot of articles but rarely read them properly. So I decided to tweak … Continue reading Tweaked goal – more action
At the start of this year, I wanted to get back into writing. I used to keep a journal and I have maintained this blog for a long time. I was still writing some presentations and workshops at work but I missed writing entire training courses and user guides. The problem was that I did not have a big dream or vision for a world changing novel and the people at work were not looking for a whole new agile training curriculum. So I decided to start small and commit to writing 2 blog articles a month. It was a … Continue reading Never miss the goal twice
I thought this was about coaching tax Last week I wrote about “coaching tax” from the perspective of being in a coaching conversation (time on task) versus not being in a coaching conversation. This week I thought I would write an article about “coaching tax” from the perspective of the coach who is already engaged in a coaching conversation. Once we are “on task” we are actually coaching someone. This is the moment that we yearned for, where the insights and the self-motivated call to action comes out and the coach can sit back an marvel at the transformation that … Continue reading Coaching tax – the movie version