I think and talk about coaching a lot. It’s time for me to formulate a working definition and see what emerges.
Helping Geeks Produce
These words helping, geeks, and produce, are each significant, so let’s take a whack at each in turn.
Helping is acting in a way that aids a specific team, now, and here.
Geeks are people who perform creatively and joyfully in highly technical fields.
Produce reminds the coach and the team that our task is tied to business.
I have spent the last twelve years or so putting this idea into practice. I am here to tell you that helping geeks produce is neither easy nor obvious. The world of programming has had many very smart people trying to help geeks produce for a while. Why is that such a hard thing to do?
You’d think the way to help geeks produce would be pretty basic, if not downright trivial. A little technique here, a little encouragement there, and then we just go around and tighten all the screws, yo. But it’s just not that easy.
Helping Geeks Produce Is An Unsolved Problem.
I’d like to tell you that I have solved it. I’d like to show you a diagram with some circles and arrows and cute mnemonics and say, “There, go forth and be fruitful.”
I don’t have one of those diagrams. I don’t even have a solution that isn’t diagrammed. What I do have is a history. And from that long series of intermixed successes and failures, I have developed an approach that may be able to get us closer.