A Brief Rant On Forcing People

I heard from a coach yesterday, of another coach in a room full of coaches, suggesting that they fire a couple of geeks to wake the rest of the team up to following instructions. (I wasn’t there. It’s possible that this didn’t quite happen, possible it was a joke, possible it was a very junior person, and so on.) This, coupled with yesterday’s brief interaction around the word "imposition" w.r.t. scrum vs. a generalized stance towards embracing change, lead me to a crabby place today.

"Pour encourager les autres", "imposition", and if you check your nearby agile stream, you’ll see plenty of variants of these ideas, this is just not the stuff of coaching, or for that matter of agility.

I would go further. I would say that forcing others to your will is exactly the anti-coaching, and more broadly the anti-agility. There are a huge variety of excuses, a whole civilization full, that you can use to justify command and control. I won’t enumerate, as parts of my downstream will surely help with that later. I’ll just ask the question I think of as the Beck question: How’s that working out for you?"

I’m not gonna take this any further for now. I’m too sputtery-annoyed.

Do I ever fire? I have, and I will again. Do I ever order? I have, and I will again. When you see me do these things, folks, you are watching me lose. You are seeing a coach give up.

For those who wish to coach and learn coaching, I’ll leave you with a mission this morning. As you go about your business today, watch for the various applications of force in your workplace.

Consider, as you do…

  1. What consequences arise?
  2. What alternatives are present?


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