Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Things I learned while being coached

Some months ago, I felt it might be a good idea to try coaching. The idea emerged from an actual problem I felt I could use support in solving that a coach within the Agile Finland activists group picked up without directly mentioning it. And it lead to me reaching out to him, asking if he would be available to work with me.

I was curious and filled with skepticism. So a coaching relationship started, ending today. And it was great. 

My skepticism was met with a nice dose of what I would call coaching humor - making a point when using "tools" on me.  The format we used became known soon. Work on my goals. Work on working on the goals. And asking a lot of questions, leaving a lot of space.

The sessions with the coach were not my main source of takeaways. The main takeaways came with the increased introspection that tended to follow the sessions when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my goals when following even a self-made plan from the sessions often felt off. 

I learned things about myself:
  • I've been heavier on introspection for a long time which might be atypical. I find it core of exploratory testing to not only look at what I did but also what I felt and what I learned and how I could fool myself. Realizing that made teaching this more explicit for me.
  • Sticking to plans I expected of myself is an external expectation I mirror on myself. Creating a list of things important to me and letting my plan emerge through action both increased my efficiency but in particular, helped me find balance I was seeking.
In the coaching process, the main thing I feel in retrospect I needed help with was identifying and naming my goals. With the goals in mind, progress was possible. 

I'm still work in progress and thinking of my next steps. Friends might suffice for a while, but later I need to try more of this with a different type of coach. 

A lot of the introspection during this process lead me to create another talk. I call it We're Work in Progress: Lessons on Becoming a Great Tester and I think it is going to be awesome.