Podcasts: The Dark Side of Coaching


NOTE - we’ve had quite a few responses from this episode, ranging from outright agreement to staid disagreement, so we’re hoping to get some dialog going on this thread. Fire away! - Jay

Well this one took a turn…what started out as a discussion around coaching snobbery went down a rabbit hole where the group started discussing the dark side of coaching. Join Andrew Leff, Troy Lightfoot, Chris Murman, and Jay Hrcsko as they discuss what the real differences between portfolio, program, and team coaches are (hint-nothing!), the golden rule when applied to working with other coaches, and how egos can not only get in the way of coaches working with each other, but also have adverse effects on those you’re trying to coach.



@johannarothman you want to jump in :smiley: ?


Why, thank you, Jay, I do!

I am firmly in the camp that various coaching requires different skills. In the agile community, too many people believe that they can use exactly the same skills coaching a team as coaching middle managers and execs. While what I do is similar, it’s not the same.

It’s different because of the feedback loop duration.

When I teach/coach teams, we can see feedback loops daily. (That’s because I work on the flow of work with the team and technical excellence before I work on how to have a standup or a refinement session. Even before planning.) Our feedback loop duration is quite short. If we can’t get to a short loop, we work on that impediment first, before we do anything else. (There is no point in planning for any part of a project if we can’t release useful value every day or so.)

Team coaches can often show a value of 5x-10x of what the org pays those coaches, pretty fast.

Managers have a different duration feedback loop. The value of a coach is in how she can help the managers see their loops and how long their durations are.

Too many managers don’t know how to be useful and valuable managers. That’s why they “revert to” or think that controlling a team is useful. It’s worse, the farther up the hierarchy you go.

Executive/management coaches who help managers see the effect of their actions, who help managers start to do valuable work and stop doing useless work can show a return on the investment of their coaching by many multiples.

That’s the difference between a team coach and a management/exec coach. If you’re paid more, yes, it might partially be about your coaching experience as a coach. If you’re good, it’s about how you help managers understand what their role should be, how to expose the feedback loops, shorten those loops, and help the managers see how else/what else to do.

Simple to say. So excruciatingly difficult to do.

Thanks for this podcast. It prompted a ton of thinking for me.


Thanks Johanna for sharing! If we do a follow-up, I’m assuming we can count on you as a guest :slight_smile: ?


Of course. You know me. Give me a mic. I’m a very happy woman :slight_smile: