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Coaching? Like People

 28. February 2018

Hey, there, it’s GeePaw! And you are watching the first ever GeePaw video aimed specifically at coaches. I hope you like it.

Do you know what the first absolute prerequisite for being a successful software development coach is? You have to like people.

You have to like people. You have to like their style. You have to like their resistance. You have to like when they do the thing you want them to do. You have to like when they don’t do the thing that you want them to do. You have to like people.

We get into this business because we’re very hot on a system, or a method, or a technique, or a something, and we want to share it with everybody.

But it’s really easy to get caught up, caught up in the system, caught up in the method, caught up in whatever flame war is running around the building today. It’s important to remember, though, the secret requirement for all successful coaching enterprise, is to like people.

What I’m Not Saying

Now, before we get very far, we have to address a couple of things I’m not talking about. I am not suggesting that you have to be an extrovert, a person who gains energy rather than losing it by being around other people. You don’t have to be an extrovert.

And I’m not suggesting that you have to be some sort of rainbow-farting unicorn floating up in a blue sky with just enough fluffy clouds in it to prove to you that, truly, every day is a beautiful day.

You don’t have to be either of those two things. I’m not either of those two things, not even by a stretch. But I like people. I like how they think. I like what they smile about and what they cry about. I just like people. What can I tell you?

And if you’re going to be a successful coach, you have to do that, too. Now, listen, I’m a pro. And I always find something nice to say about every team that I work with, because it’s a perfectly ordinary and healthy part of the job. I admit, sometimes, it’s a really big stretch. Gosh, you know, you guys just have the best shoes of any team I’ve ever worked with.

But truthfully, I like people.

I like knowing how so-and-so met her significant other. I like knowing why so-and-so became a geek. I like knowing what happened at the house last night over dinner that was funny? I like knowing that my friend buys tons and tons of video games but never ever has time to play any of them. All of those things, I like about people.

I like people because we’re so messed up and we try so hard.

That’s my secret to liking people. That’s what led me to like them so much.

We’re so broken. I’m broken. You’re broken. Everybody around you is broken. And yet, we’re all trying so hard to be who we want to be, to do the right thing, to be kind, and strong, and fast, and smart.

And that is what let’s me like people so much.

Play More Favorites

Let me ask you something. Do you ever play favorites? Are you ever a little warmer to somebody else because they’re one of your favorites, a little more tolerant of them, a little more cheerful around them, happy to see them, happy to listen to them, happy to talk about things that don’t have anything at all to do with work?

So do you play favorites?

Good.

Keep it up. Play more favorites. Pick more favorites to become your favorites.

Remember The Last Time?

Do you remember how it felt when you were listened to, when you were asked, when you got help from somebody else, or you gave help to somebody else, when you were regarded kindly by someone?

Do you remember how powerful you felt, how much stronger, how much more whole, how much more hopeful about what was coming in front of you, and about the possibility of you actually pulling it off?

So. Dig it.

Do more of that.

I’m GeePaw, and I’m done.