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SPaMCAST 446 will feature our essay on questions.  Questions are a coach and facilitator’s secret power! But, with great power comes great responsibility.  

Our second column is from Gene Hughson.  Gene and I discussed his essay Go-to People Considered Harmful originally published on his blog Form Follows Function (www.genehughson.wordpress.com).  The concept may sound counterintuitive, but it is not.

The third column is from Kim Pries, the Software Sensei.  In this installment, Kim dives into the topic of servant leadership.

Re-Read Saturday News (more…)

Questions, like most tools, can be used correctly or incorrectly.  A hammer used on a nail or on a screw is still a hammer; however, in most circumstances, we would debate the effectiveness of the hammer when used to insert a screw.  Questions are no different than our proverbial hammer.  Used well they can generate information or shape behavior; used incorrectly they can generate misinformation and friction. When questions are used for coaching and mentoring there are a number of poor practices that should be avoided: (more…)

Mindset Book Cover

We are quickly closing in on the end of our re-read of Mindset.  I anticipate two more weeks (Chapter 8 and a round up).  The next book in the series will be Holacracy.  After my recent interview with Jeff Dalton on Software Process and Measurement Cast 433, I realized that I had only read extracts from Holacracy by Brian J. Robertson, therefore we will read (first time for me).

Today, we review Chapter 7 in Carol Dweck’s Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (buy your copy and read along).  Chapter 7, titled “Parents, Teachers, Coaches: Where Do Mindsets Come From? explores the impact of some of the most intimate and earliest relationships on our mindsets.Understanding how parents, teachers, and coaches affect mindsets helps us learn to lead change. (more…)

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Coaches and change agents use many types of influence to help teams and organizations perform better as they lead.  Influence can be applied through a number of highly nuanced approaches. And like many activities, when you find success with one it is easy to fall into a trap of thinking that that approach will always work.  While sports analogies are often overdone, I will add one more to the pile before swearing them off (for this essay at least).  The Super Bowl, the pinnacle of US Football, was recently played and featured a come from behind victory. The New England Patriots won the game despite having many of their top receivers sidelined due to injury. If the Patriots had only one approach to the game based on that set of receivers they would have been blown out. A good coach will be able to leverage different forms of influence based on the context they find themselves face or be able to recognize when dangerous forms of influence are being used.  Recently I ran across a list of 7 approaches to influencing teams or organizations. Some of these approaches can be useful for coaches and some are harmful. The 7 forms of influence, some good and some bad, include: (more…)

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The Software Process and Measurement Cast 394 features our interview with Yves Hanoulle.  Yves returns to the Software Process and Measurement Cast to discuss his experiences as a coach with CoderDojo Ghent which brings coding and life lessons to children in Ghent, Belgium. We also explored how Yves has been able to incorporate the lessons he has learned volunteering into his day job. This is a fun interview that has a profound message about our obligation to the future.

This is great interview to come back from vacation to edit and deliver!

(more…)

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One last week in mixtape format! I am completing a trip that is a mixture of vacation and a board meeting but that does not mean you have to forego your weekly SPaMCAST.  In place of our normal format I am posting a mix tape of the answers to the “If you could change two things” question I have been asking interviewees for nearly ten years.  This week on SPaMCAST 393 we feature our top downloaded podcasts from the year 2010:

SPaMCAST 85 – Cory Foy on Agile Coaching

http://traffic.libsyn.com/spamcast/SPaMCAST_85_-_Cory_Foy_Agile_Coaching_Collaboration_Part_1.mp3

http://bit.ly/1Qmmx0g

Cory used his wishes to discuss the obsession with certification rather than performance and bring user into making critical business decisions so that usability is maximized.

SPaMCAST 92 – Don Reinertsen on Product Development Flow

http://bit.ly/1WERCDZ

Don used his wishes to ask that people understand the economics of product development and then to use that understanding to measure and reduce WIP queues.

SPaMCAST 94 – Ivar Jacobson on SEMAT

http://bit.ly/1SYSmhA

Ivar discussed the SEMAT core defining software engineering and how SPaMCAST listeners can support the development of SEMAT.

If these excerpts tickled your fancy listen to the whole interview by clicking on the links shown above.

Next week we will return to regular programming with a thought provoking interview.

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Why would a team and/or organization want an external coach? In previous entries we have discussed the attributes of a good coach  and what a coach delivers, all of which may have whetted your whistle. However, it doesn’t answer the question why you would seek out an external coach. An external coach brings new ideas to the table, different perspectives and a shot of energy. (more…)