This is the transcript of the podcast. Download it here.

On the last episode I talked a little bit about Martin Fowler’s first talk  at the Agile Brazil 2010 Conference. In this episode, still about the conference, I would like to talk about Manoel Pimentel’s presentation on coaching.

Pimentel was a pioneer in coaching agile methods down here in Brazil, he is the chief editor of the brazilian magazine Agile Vision (in portuguese, Visão Ágil).

Manuel Pimentel by Woompa

Manoel Pimentel by Woompa

Pimentel did a great job introducing the coaching concepts and its essence. He started his presentation with a little joke, asking people to close their eyes and try thinking positively to make a paper in their laps levitate. Nothing happened. Why? Because of the lack of action, he explained. The message here, is that the same happens with us in real life, when we want something to happen, but do not take action to make it actually happen. The essence of coaching according to him is to help people discover the right actions to take and then act in order to achieve their goals.

The coaching process has two main roles. The coach and the coachee. The coach is the one who conducts the process and coachee is the one who is being coached. The coachee could be a person or a group of people, like a software development team, for example.

The coach should help the coachee to discover how to achieve his or her goals instead of telling him or her what to do.

Talking about goals….

  • Do you have one? Think a little bit about that. What’s your goal?
  • What motivates you to achieve it?
  • Once you have  a goal in mind, think about the forces in favor and the forces against your goal. Identify those forces. What you help you achieve your goal? What would make it hard?
  • What is important for you?
  • Does you goal have any relationship with that?
  • Are your current actions connecting you with your goal?
  • Are them adding value to your goal?
  • What do you gain if you achieve your goal?
  • What do you loose?

Well, I think you got the idea. Those are some questions that a coach asks the coachee, focusing on helping him or her to have a good return on the energy invested in order to achieve a goal. You should invest your energy, your effort, and your time in actions that connects you to your goals, said Pimentel. Asking those kind of questions in agile retrospectives could be really helpful.

Another good advice is to have milestones. Divide your path, so your can better visualize it. That’s something that is done through the iterations in agile software development, isn’t it?

The strongest point of the coaching process is that it generates responsibility in the coachee. When someone just tells you that you should do something, and then it goes wrong, you can blame the person who told you, but when you are the one who actually decide the path your are going to take, it is a totally different approach, there’s no one to blame. It’s your own choice.

Well, I guess this is it for today. Thank you very much for listen, and please post your comments, questions and feedback. I’m André Faria, great to have you listening. I’ll talk too you next week.