Adding Performance Coaching Skills To Your Technical Expertise

Today’s post’s addressed to anyone who’s firmly in the ‘tech’ or ‘geek’ career camp and wants to add some useful and transferable ‘soft’ skills to their repertoire.

For starters, here are two benefits that can come from applying a coaching mindset to your work:

1- Coaching skills will help you enjoy your tech job even more than before because you’ll be able to excel at sharing knowledge in ways that both honor and challenge those around you.

2- By helping others in such an uplifting way you will become not only a more respected technical ‘subject-matter-expert’ but also a team player with a difference – one who is focused on getting specific results for relevant tasks, usually within limited time frames.

That’s what performance coaching’s all about.

And it’s also point #2 that your boss and other peer level managers are more likely to notice and remember when it’s time to make the tough decisions – over and above whatever technical role you were hired to perform.

So how do you make a start on developing performance coaching expertise?

a- Buy, beg or borrow a copy of Sir John Whitmore’s book “Coaching For Performance“.
Though aimed primarily at managers it’s an excellent primer on how coaching can fuse very powefully with everyday work life.

b- Stay tuned to this blog because I will be discussing coaching (including self-coaching) for a technical audience in more detail.
(Sign up for the email distribution list to get special coaching offers and a short email reminder when a blog post is released, or just add it to your RSS feed. Both options are in the top right hand corner.)

c- Read this article I wrote for a CCIE recruiter’s September 2008 newsletter:
Are You A Performance Coaching Internetwork Expert?

Eman’s newsletter’s growing strongly – so I was honored to be asked to contribute a coaching-themed article for his readers. (I’d appreciate some feedback on that article as it’s my first piece aimed specifically at a technical group.)

– Mark McClure

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2 thoughts on “Adding Performance Coaching Skills To Your Technical Expertise

  1. Simon – Yes, the art of knowing when to remain silent is as much a coaching tool as any “effective question” or “goal setting” technique.

    Have you read Max Landsberg’s “The Tao of Coaching”? It’s only 120 pages and absolutely no fluff – the book’s tag line is “Boost your effectiveness at work by inspiring and developing those around you.”

    For my imaginary “No Manager left behind” campaign it’s compulsory reading ;-)

  2. Practicing coaching isn’t reserved for the very experienced, very old, or very useless. Coaching is something we can all practice if we can add value to someone. I started coaching other IT professionals early in my career, and although I wasn’t a seasoned expert, I was successful because I knew my limitations. I think knowing limitations is important for a coach, as overstepping them results in blind leading blind (to use a non PC metaphor)

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