Coaching

Coaching, Facilitating, & Training: Differences & Similarities

A respondent asks about the differences between coaching, training, and facilitation. My answer depends on just how narrowly I treat these things. With a narrow view, they are all quite different. With a wider view, they have many similarities in activity, outcome, and intent. At its narrowest, training speaks to me of formal settings & structure. A person (or usually badly, a machine) is the instructor, and some other persons are the students. Conceived narrowly, facilitation is a session of …

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Coaching As Improv: More On Saying Yes

Okay, coaches, where were we? Oh yeah, I remember. I had a long list of gerunds, then a long (weak) chat about "yes". Let’s take another swing today. I grew up on stage. I started acting in community theatre at age 6, and I became instantly fervently addicted. I wanted to very much to be an actor, and I studied it as I study everything, pretty much ‘all in’. Among many other fascinating enterprises, I studied and practiced improv. In …

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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 …

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The Center of Coaching: Human Interaction

We talked about local mission: creating or exploiting openings through which we can step closer to who we wish we were. That’s vague, but vagueness is correct here: it’s an overarching mission, not a specific behavior. Today I want to get a little closer to some specific behaviors. Tho not all the way to nuts and bolts, not quite yet. Start here. The openings i’m talking about come entirely from interactions with humans. When I take a tiny step towards …

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Coaching is X-ing: Things I Do When I Coach

I’ve got more to say about interactions between humans at that level just above behavior and just below openings, lots more. But I’m going to jump ahead, then circle back. I want to list a bunch of things I do during my coaching days. It’s likely only a partial list, and as always, I reserve the right to change my mind pretty much at will. This list is made of gerunds. Gerunds are verbs turned into nouns for grammatical ease. …

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Coaching: What I Actually Do

I spoze today is as good a day as any for me to start talking about what coaching is, about what I do and how and why. Tho I have these conversations in private, I have put off doing it here. I think it’s a mix of factors. Two amusing ones: i’m not very sure I have words for it. And i’m not sure I want to argue about it. 🙂 I am a software development coach. What I do …

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ASAI: What If That Takes A Long Time?

We spoke of always-small-always-improve (ASAI), arguing for it as strategy against big-bang-change (BBC). In another part of the forest, someone has asked the question, "what if the cost of delay for starting small instead of going big is extreme?" A situation where a BBC is better because the cost of delay implementing ASAI is extreme is an "on paper" situation, not an "in practice" one, and it only works on paper because we’ve embedded it in a nest of un-true-to-life …

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Always-Small-Always-Improve: A Coaching Vision

A little coaching theory today, eh? Coaches seek to change how things go. They see what is here and they think it could be better. In fact, they usually think it could be rather dramatically better — not worth the trouble of being a coach if not. And our clients want us to make things better, too. Tho it must be said, they usually don’t understand what that better is or how it will work or the rather kind of …

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The Baseless Critique Of Living Branchlessly

This branching thing. The idea behind branching is that it provides advantages in situations where a code change is large. The idea behind non-branching is not to enter those situations. These two views seem very difficult to reconcile. I am a non-brancher. I push to head, I pull from head, I test on head, I ship from head. Let’s take a second to consider the arguments against living like this. First, a whole team that lives like this is constantly …

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Endpointing vs. Next-Stepping

I mentioned endpointing yesterday. I’m always using geepaw-isms & expecting people to know what I mean. Endpointing is over-focus on eventual destination. In s/w, it’s seeing development as a long trip to a known destination on a known map. John Winthrop, a few centuries back, used "the city on the hill" to describe an endpoint, in his case for the puritan colony. The metaphor, of a trip to a place, is as natural as any human expression. But it contains …

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