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My boss is going through a certification process reggarding "Coaching", and he asked me if he could coach me.

According to what I understood from him, I should have an objective on what should I be coached at and some initial questions from where the coaching process would stem from.

As a software developer who likes to embrace new technologies and has lately been specially enjoying the "requirements negotiation" part of the work, I have no idea on what could I be coached or what kind of questions could I bring him.

Maybe you guys here would have nice ideas?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by GlenH7, gnat, Dan Pichelman, MichaelT, jmo21 Oct 15 '13 at 11:19

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

4 Answers 4

Pair-programming with a more experienced developer is my favorite form of coaching. I expect that the same would apply to "requirements negotiation." The best instruction is to do the work along side someone with decades of experience.

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+1 - I'd jump all over that opportunity. –  JeffO Mar 18 '11 at 17:51

A good course of study in this respect would be the books:
I'm OK, You're OK - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I'm_OK,_You're_OK
Games People Play - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Games_People_Play_(book)
These were required reading when I was in college. An understanding of transactional analysis may help with the level of stress in the office.

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There are a few different ways I could see this going after doing a baseline assessment of some form:

  • Leaning into strengths - This would have the idea being that depending on where you are strong finding ways to leverage that. For example, experimenting with new frameworks and technologies may be an idea of how to use this if you enjoy new stuff all the time. Strength here implies proficiency more than desire.

  • Managing around weaknesses - This would be the flip side as there may be areas where you struggle and finding other ways to get around that. If your presentation skills are a weakness that is important to your job then doing more presentations may make sense. Note that not everyone would want to go down this road and there is the challenge of being vulnerable and figuring a resolution for it.

  • Working from wants - This would be just identifying where you want to improve and focus rather than having an almost automated selection like the previous two that someone could sort a list and boom there's the area.

The baseline is important as there will likely be the desire to measure a result at the end and compare how you did at each end. Thus, if you could show going from a 2 to a 6 on a 10 point scale that could be awesome work. Just be careful about what area you want to improve, how much do you want to improve and how much effort are you prepared to give to achieving that goal. I'll borrow from ITIL's Continual Service Improvement model for a list of questions that may be useful to ask:

  1. What is the vision?
  2. Where are we now?
  3. Where do we want to be?
  4. How do we get there?
  5. Did we get there?

Note that doing a baseline provides a reasonably good answer for the second question. The others are a bit more vague though this is just a starting point as once you get through all 5 steps there is the question of "How do we keep the momentum going?" as the cycle repeats in perpetuity. Another idea here would be to study the Deming model of Plan-Do-Check-Act that could be a good framework though this is more about the steps in the process rather than what is the specific goal.

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I'd focus on your non-technical skills, like organization, communication, planning, writing, time management.

That's where a boss's skill set is more likely to be strong at, and therefore as a coach can enhance your non-technical skills, which really will set you at a higher level, presuming he know's and can teach about any of those important topics.

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