Do coaches pay tax (part one: time on task)

I love coaching I like to believe that coaching has a really positive impact on the person being coached. At best it is a “generative conversation” that leads to either new action or new insight. I have heard this summarised as discovering what is “next or new.” When coaching an individual, the conversation is one sided because it is all about, and all for the benefit of, the person being coached. This differs from collaborative problem solving where both participants share the burden of thinking, listening and talking. It also differs from normal conversations over coffee which are often a … Continue reading Do coaches pay tax (part one: time on task)

Moving into the Learning or coaching zone

We sometimes talk about moving out of your comfort zone so that you can really stretch yourself and thereby grow more. Moving out of your comfort zone can, however, be a bit harder than we make it sound. But why is it hard? Overcoming inertia One reason is inertia. We are not making the deliberate choice to stay stuck in our ways, but actually we are kind of used to doing things the way we do them now. Being good people we decide to make a change, but thinking about the change actually kicks off a series of reactions in … Continue reading Moving into the Learning or coaching zone

Zones of growth 2 – managing the journey

My last article, I suggested that we should move out of our comfort zone in order to learn and grow. I looked at how you can target specific areas for growth and then volunteer for scary adventures that take you through “the fear zone” and into a longer term learning zone where you continue to grow (or where you can use delegation to encourage others to do the same thing). I think that leaving your comfort zone and facing your fears in order to generate real learning more is good, but I don’t think the model I shared is complete. … Continue reading Zones of growth 2 – managing the journey

Zones of growth 1 – growth and delegation

I recently participated in a workshop where we discussed the growth mindset and the need to push yourself our of your comfort zone in order to learn and grow. We spoke about the need to move out of our comfort zone if we want learn and grow. When you come out of your comfort zone, though, it is scary and you enter the “fear zone.”  The fear zone is where you do not know what to do next, or you are not confident that you can do it as well as you want to.  This is a vulnerable place and … Continue reading Zones of growth 1 – growth and delegation

We gave a presentation on defining a great Product Owner

Tom Angove and I gave a talk today on what we think a great product owner is. We were at the IIBA “Festival of Business Analysis,” so there were quite a few people who knew what a Product Owner was. I would love to say that the talk consisted or erudite guidance from the presenters and passionate, persuasive recommendations that caused the audience to take immediate action on leaving the presentation. Unfortunately I don’t have much evidence to support that claim. What I can say is that we got no where near the end of the material we could have … Continue reading We gave a presentation on defining a great Product Owner

The pull of the tangible and the pull of the past

I am supposed to be working on a talk I am doing in a couple of days. I have some time available and some rare space to think. So of course I have started reading some books on topics that have nothing to do with my talk, and I am pondering how these impact life at work in areas that are, again, nothing to do with my talk. I was reading “What Philosophy can teach you about being a better leader,” by Alison Reynolds and others. The theory They raise a point they call “Tyranny of the tangible” that I … Continue reading The pull of the tangible and the pull of the past

I see coaching values as a “problem” which is why I am so passionate about it

A problem is (also) a question to be answered or solved. Especially by reasoning or calculating Cambridge Dictionary – https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/problem I love problem solving I love to help others to learn to solve problems. But there is a problem with this. When I say problem I often mean “a puzzle to be solved” or “a thing to understand” but I think what people hear is: A matter or situation regarded as unwelcome or harmful and needing to be dealt with and overcome. The first thing that came up when I googled “meaning of problem” This is a bad starting point … Continue reading I see coaching values as a “problem” which is why I am so passionate about it

When is ignorance better than clarity?

I strongly believe that coaching teams (and leaders) is a great idea. I think an agile coach can do a lot more than increase velocity with a team or have decent stand-ups.  I also read a lot about different approaches to coaching and like to hone my craft as a coach so that I can become an expert coach. Sadly though, I often remember my father’s old joke that the definition of an expert is that they come to know more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing. So I sometimes questions when my expertise … Continue reading When is ignorance better than clarity?

Maybe our definition of coach is too narrow

Some time ago, I was wondering why I was noticing people moving away from agile approaches (and cultures). One of my theories was that people were neglecting “craftsmanship” when coaching agile teams. I am an agile coach and I often explain to people that agile coaching is about helping teams build the capability to interact better together and better adapt to change. I also say that we are all about helping people discover, pursue and share value. Alas, some stakeholders thing that agile coaching is really about implementing agile best practices from the big agile book of correct behaviour. But … Continue reading Maybe our definition of coach is too narrow

Keeping people on track in meetings

Some people have amazing leadership skills such as communicating a clear vision or aligning people to a cause. I did not receive those awesome gifts, but I did inherit a super power that often comes in handy – managing Bureaucracy. For example, I like to have meetings that are effective. This probably does not seem like a super power to you – but nor should meetings be a terrible curse. When people encounter Scrum, they are often shocked that there are so many meetings (OK we hide the fact by calling them ceremonies, events, rituals, celebrations or something, but they … Continue reading Keeping people on track in meetings