Monday, November 3, 2014

What is a Coach?

I'm a software org/team/individual coach. What the heck does that mean?

On a closed mailing list, Geepaw asked for our definitions of a software team "coach," and several offered opinions. 

This one is entirely mine. 

On reading my definition, John Kern interpreted it to mean "individuals" whereas I intended these to apply to teams and organizations as well. I thank him for bringing up the possible misinterpretation, and I leave it up to my readers to understand I mean it in a plural sense; organizations and teams have skills and habits and mindsets just as individuals do.

Without further ado:

A coach is someone whose:
1) work is with people
2) primary product is an improvement in their abilities 
3) secondary product is an improvement in the way they interact with teammates and peers.
4) teaching comes through interaction, not mere lecture or advice (that would be a counselor)
5) work is done at the request and permission of the coach's client

I would also note that when we refer to "abilities" above, it is in the same sense that JB Rainsburger mentions, that of increasing capabilities and removing impediments.