My initial reactions were: first, be more assertive - “YOU MUST DO THIS!”. When that didn’t work: “I am a failure, perhaps I am not cut out for this”.
Communicating Ideas Several Times, Several Ways
Skip Angel, SolutionsIQ
Originally posted here: http://www.agileiq.org/2009/04/02/the-moment-of-truth-as-a-coach/ and reprinted with permission.
In my job as Scrum coach, there usually comes a time when I transition my Scrum coaching role to an internal person that will continue in this role as the project winds down. On a recent engagement, the person moving into this new role was struggling with the fact that people weren’t doing what he was suggesting. He felt ignored or rejected and as a result questioned whether he should be in such a role. In watching how I coached, he was both confused and surprised by my approach. Confused because many times I got the same response; surprised because I ended up getting the results I wanted.
“How do you do that?” he asked.
It wasn’t always that way. I understand how he felt because I have been there. I felt ignored. I felt rejected. My confidence was shaken, and my lack of results over time was showing that others thought I lacked confidence. My initial reactions were human nature. First, be more assertive or demanding - “YOU MUST DO THIS!”. When that didn’t work, my next reaction was “I am a failure, perhaps I am not cut out for this”. However, deep (and I mean really deep) inside of me I knew that I was to be in a coaching role. I had moments of success along the way. It just wasn’t consistent and I didn’t know why. Then, the moment of truth came…
They are not ready for what I have to say, so I will figure out when and how to say it differently another time.
Instead of feeling I had no control and should probably give up, this gave me something that I did have control over. I flipped the bit from being a victim to being in control. All of a sudden I had plenty of questions to ask myself and others. Why are they ignoring what I have to say? Is now the best time to provide advice? Am I providing too much information? Are they having a bad day? Do they not see the problems I do? Do they need to experience something painful to learn from it? I had several options available to me on how to approach the problem. As a result, I started to become more effective in working as a coach. I learned to listen more and how important the timing of information is. I became more patient in my approach, and learned that it took several times (and different ways) to communicate ideas before they were received. I put myself in their shoes and looked at things from their perspective instead of only my own.
This was the moment of truth as a coach, or at least the first one of many to come. From that point on, my confidence has increased tremendously. I end up getting most of the results I am looking for, sometimes much better and different results than I had originally thought. Do I still get discouraged or frustrated? Sometimes. However, I quickly get over those feelings and remind myself that there is always another day and another opportunity to make an impact.