Scrum Notes 2013-20

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Not a Coach ▶️

Back in 2012 I wrote a post entitled Thoughts on Coaching,1 a companion piece to Thoughts on Training, also written in 2012, updated in 2015 and included in this collection as chapter 21. I claim to be neither a trainer nor a coach. That has not changed—but I tell you, it is a struggle to self-identify in this world of categorisation and little identity boxes.

Today, I am doing my best to authentically not be a coach, while using the word "coach" as an attractor, an orientation device. I have become interested over the last year in working more intimately with people, either one-to-one, or in pairs or very small groups. I got to do a little of that in my last full-time job, and I've been able to do a little more in the outside world, including remotely—which surprises me.

But I do not, and will not consider this coaching. The metaphor seems all wrong to me. It implies a dynamic (of power, perhaps, coming as it does from the world of sport) that I do not like and do not seek. What I offer is better described as collaborative exploration. In the past I have also described it as untangling.

With almost every employer, agent and contractor I've had in the past ten years, wanting to refer to me as a coach and a trainer, you can imagine how difficult it is to not be those things, and still show up in a way that is helpful.

Language matters to me. Words matter. Misuse of words bothers me, and when the word and the idea are clearly mismatched it bothers me more. I believe it is sheer laziness that causes us to default to inappropriate metaphors, or some fear that we will be misunderstood (and worse, not hired!) if we step out of that comfort zone.

So, I am not a coach, but if you'd like to engage in some collaborative exploration, walk a few edges, untangle a few threads, and pay me a little for my time, then please get in touch. It could be fun.

1 The audio recording of this piece includes a recording of the original 2012 essay.

Idaho Falls, 15/09/2015   comment