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Naresh Jain's Random Thoughts on Software Development and Adventure Sports
     
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Advantages of Part-time Coaching

Often companies undervalue the part-time coaching model.

What do I mean by part-time coaching model?
A coach is onsite, working hands-on with the team for a week and then offsite (accessible via email & phone, but off the project) for a week. Basically, the coach is available on-off either alternative weeks or a some other timeframe.

Personally I’ve experience the following advantages of a part-time coaching model:

From the company & its employees’ point of view:

  • When I’m not there full time, teams realize they cannot fully depend on me. I’m not the bottleneck for making decisions. The teams start to take ownership and make more decisions on their own (usually by consulting me, but not waiting on me.)
  • When I steps out for sometime and come back to the team, I bring a slightly fresh perspective and can pay attention to weak signals. Many times we get so engrossed in what we are doing, that we might miss out paying attention to something else.
  • Coaching can be intense. Having a little time off from coaching helps the teams get a breather. Which makes the overall coaching more sustainable.
  • As coaches we expect things to change much faster rate than usually they do. If we are there full-time, it might start to bother us. But with the on-off model, the slower rate of change seems more acceptable. Similarly the team does not feel pressurized to accept change at a rate that might not be sustainable or acceptable to them.
  • The management seems to get more confidence in the whole engagement, because they can see things are not blowing up when the coach is not around.
  • Last but not the least, it does have a good financial incentive for the company.

From the coach’s point of view:

  • Having some downtime is good for the coach to build/upgrade their skills.
  • Can help achieve a better work-life balance.
  • From a risk management point of view, it allows a coach to take on multiple part-time client.

Hopefully, all of this leads to a more effective coaching engagement.

  • http://twitter.com/mydibba AK

    Naresh, I have no problems with part time coaching. However, I will be careful about making this as a generic statement. It all depends on the context. When the teams are starting out in their journey of agile adoption, then part time coaching may NOT be enough. However, may be after a few iterations of hand holding, its good to let them go for an iteration and set up checkpoints at regular intervals for any course corrections. Also part time coaching works well, when the team in question has few members who understand the principles and practices well to tweak it to the team’s advantage even when the coach is not present. 

    • http://blog.thecodewhisperer.com J. B. Rainsberger

      Groups new to this working style might need some initial training to get going, but I find that after 3-4 weeks, they just need time to adjust to the changes. They want support, but they feel like they have referees. They need someone to cry with or yell at, and I after an initial period of gaining some trust, I can be their shoulder or their punching bag from 6,000 km away almost as well as in person. :)

  • http://brianclarke2.blogspot.com/ Michael McGee

    You made some decent points there. I looked on the internet for
    the issue and found most individuals will go along with with your blog.


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