Uncovering Coaching Stories
I started coaching a new team recently. Before taking on the role I went through a useful exercise to “uncover the coaching stories”*. The aim is to understand why a potential customer thinks that they need a coach (or more usually, why they think that they need an Agile process because they want a coach to help them introduce it).
By exploring the answers to questions such as:
- What is the problem?
- How does the problem manifest itself?
- Who wants a solution?
- How will we know that the problem has been solved?
Although I find this useful I don't claim that it is a unique approach: Jerry Weinberg's consulting books were my original inspiration, and I heard from Andy Pols that Alistair Cockburn also interviews his prospective clients (in his case as a client selection process as well as an information gathering exercise).
Reflection:Would this approach work for you? How could you find out?
* Keith Braithwaite and I touched on coaching stories in a presentation we gave back in 2002. The basic idea is that customers have stories for a coach just as they have stories for a development team, although the scope and nature of coaching stories are typically very different from development stories.