Coaching when they will do the wrong thing

My last couple of articles have been about presenting ideas so that people listen to what you are saying.

But what happens if you explain something to people and then they decide to do the wrong thing anyway?

Of course it is possible that you were wrong and that they are right.

But what if you are sure that they are about to do the wrong thing and that it will hurt them when they do?

The care factor

When people are about to make a mistake, I often stop to ask myself how much I care.

If I don’t care much what they do then I can just keep my mouth shut

Sometimes I have found myself arguing with people when I really should just let them make their own call and move on. So one of the things that I am still working on is to avoid expressing an opinion where there is no need to.  Instead, a good coach is one who let’s people form their own opinions.

But what if I do care that the person I am coaching is going to make a mistake and I think I should tell them?

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When you lack evidence (or have too much)

I have been writing a couple of articles about presenting new ideas in workshops.

But sometimes you want to make a point, but you lack the evidence to back it up.  And sometimes you have heaps of points to make, full of evidence and highly relevant learning, but all the evidence will actually get in the way.

So let’s look at ways to present ideas, that reduce the use of evidence.  You might like some of these and not others, so read through and see what you think.

You might also notice other people using these approaches quite often when you start to listen for them.

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Introducing ideas when you need more credibility

In my last post I talked about presenting new ideas to people in workshops .

But sometimes you need to be a little bit more convincing – Especially if you do not yet have credibility with the group or if your idea might by challenging what people currently think.

Let’s say for example, that you are telling business analysts that they are not needed anymore, or if you are explaining to a project manager that they do need a BA even though it will cost them money. People will not accept these statements at face value.

You can plead with people to believe you, but that rarely helps. You can yell and scream – but nobody will care. So what can you do?

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Facilitation tip – introducing new ideas

I gave a friend some feedback on his facilitation style recently. I suggested the he “introduce new ideas really well and stuff.”  Great advice, but perhaps not very specific or useful.

Then I ran a facilitation related course and gave people feedback on, among other things, presenting ideas to the team.  There seemed to be a pattern where people were passionate about what they were saying, but not clear on exactly how to say it.

So what does “introducing new ideas really well and stuff” entail?

Firstly, passion and authenticity count. But there are also some basic mechanical steps that you can take to structure a message so that you are clear on what you want to say and the audience is more likely to take it in.

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My keynote at the Melbourne BA development day

I went to the IIBA professional day in Melbourne and I gave the morning keynote for the day.  There were about 270 business analysts their to learn about all things BA.

I thought I would publish the talk because a couple of people asked me about the content.  Apparently there is still some confusion about business analysts on agile projects … and I assume also on data science, political and design thinking type projects.

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Is it really that hard to learn agile?

I work with people going agile.  Sometimes it is an awesome experience and sometimes it is quite depressing.

For example, I worked with some good, experienced people a while back.  They were were pretty sad before I turned up and pretty happy that I came to help them. This is the part of the agile coaching experience that is awesome.

Before the dawn of agile:

  • Business cases took longer to get approval than some projects took to deliver; and
  • Worse than that, some projects took longer to die than the fading spirit of the team members on the project.

Then I arrived, crashing through the window with index cards in one hand and a mandate to free the people from tyranny in the other.

This is where I like to play.

Editor’s note – Unfortunately this article turns out to be a long read, so grab a cup of tea, or just look for some nice pictures and skip all the boring text.

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