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Why Coaching Matters

Posted on 01. Nov, 2010 by Michael Spayd in Agile, Coaching, Reflections

As I prepare to help my friend Lyssa Adkins conduct the Coaching Agile Teams class in San Francisco this week, I started reflecting on all this coaching stuff.  Why does the ability to coach individual members of the project community–and the team as a whole–really matter? I sought inspiration in the core coaching competencies defined by the International Coach Federation. I was not disappointed. To wit…

Shows genuine concern for the client’s welfare and future.

That seems basic, perhaps, but it is easy for us to get too concerned with our version of the client’s ‘perfect’ future, rather than what the client themselves is actually facing. I know it can be for me, at least. Then there’s the “shows” part. We not only have to be concerned, we have to show it. So the client themselves can see it, feel it. That can be hard, especially when we get lost in our agenda of being Agilistas. Which leads us to…

Attends to the client and the client’s agenda, and not to the coach’s agenda for the client.

Wow! That’s an interesting thought for us as Agile Coaches and educators – don’t be driven by our agenda.  So, we have to stay present with the client, show genuine concern for their welfare, and attend to their agenda, even (especially) when it is not the same as our agenda. What if they don’t agree with some of the principles and values we hold dear? How can we exhibit…

Is open to not knowing and takes risks

Here we could breathe a sigh of relief. Transparency to our own not knowing can be tremendously liberating. I imagine a conversation “I don’t know how, given that you want an Agile team with Agile results, you can do it by holding one person accountable. But let’s find out more what is important to you about that.” This might lead us to…

Provides ongoing support for and champions new behaviors and actions, including those involving risk taking and fear of failure.

Risk taking and fear of failure, both for the client and for us.

(I’m just getting warmed up here, more to come…)

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