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what_kind_of_questions_should_we_ask_if_we_are_hiring_a_coach [2019/05/21 07:22]
Hans Samios Referenced existing page for quick fire round
what_kind_of_questions_should_we_ask_if_we_are_hiring_a_coach [2019/12/10 11:26] (current)
Hans Samios [Domain Curiosity or Expertise]
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   * Bonus question: “What was the last book you read?” Coaches need to be constantly learning. Books, blogs, etc are an indicator of this.   * Bonus question: “What was the last book you read?” Coaches need to be constantly learning. Books, blogs, etc are an indicator of this.
  
-====== What Questions Should We Ask Prospective ​Transformational ​Coaches?​======+====== What Questions Should We Ask Prospective ​Transformation ​Coaches?​======
  
 Sometimes you are at the beginning of a transformation for an organization and so the issues you are working with are more related to working the initial contacts with a leadership team. Here are some questions that you might ask in this situations: Sometimes you are at the beginning of a transformation for an organization and so the issues you are working with are more related to working the initial contacts with a leadership team. Here are some questions that you might ask in this situations:
  
   * "You are working with a new organization,​ you've ask for a 3-day workshop to introduce the new approach, and they'​ve allowed you 4 hours. How do you use that 4 hours?"​ Looking for approach that gets you to the workshop that you really think they need. In particular, want to ensure that you don't end up trying to do 3 day workshop in 4 hours. And ideas on how you could focus the session on one or two key ideas.   * "You are working with a new organization,​ you've ask for a 3-day workshop to introduce the new approach, and they'​ve allowed you 4 hours. How do you use that 4 hours?"​ Looking for approach that gets you to the workshop that you really think they need. In particular, want to ensure that you don't end up trying to do 3 day workshop in 4 hours. And ideas on how you could focus the session on one or two key ideas.
-  * "​Describe a situation where you are working with a leadership group that are at odds over something - perhaps there is a discussion about the future of the agile rollout ​and people in the room are trying to see 'where they will end up' which is effecting the decisions. How did you facilitate?"​ Looking for decision where facilitation lead to approach that people agreed to try. "How did you clarify next steps?"​ is a possible follow on question - trying to avoid different interpretations of "the decision"​.+  * "​Describe a situation where you are working with a leadership group that are at odds over something - perhaps there is a discussion about the future of the agile roll out and people in the room are trying to see 'where they will end up' which is effecting the decisions. How did you facilitate?"​ Looking for decision where facilitation lead to approach that people agreed to try. "How did you clarify next steps?"​ is a possible follow on question - trying to avoid different interpretations of "the decision"​.
   * "What was the last organizational / coaching experiment you ran and what was the result?"​ Looking for a degree of comfort in risk taking, and understanding of how an experiment works (PDCA applied to the subject at hand). You will sometimes see people take a while to answer this which implies that they have not really been thinking about their coaching in this way.   * "What was the last organizational / coaching experiment you ran and what was the result?"​ Looking for a degree of comfort in risk taking, and understanding of how an experiment works (PDCA applied to the subject at hand). You will sometimes see people take a while to answer this which implies that they have not really been thinking about their coaching in this way.
   * "If you were to hire a coach, what would you look for and how would you prioritize the skills / values"​. Looking for discussion more about characteristics,​ personality and approach. For example, "​someone who is comfortable working with the CIO in the morning, and a team in the afternoon."​ Also looking for some specific discussion around ability to manage client expectations,​ approach to work yourself out of a job, ability to find where people are at in client organization and start from there, and so on. Values and philosophy are part of this - see [[coaching_values_and_principles|Coaches Values and Principles]] for some thinking.   * "If you were to hire a coach, what would you look for and how would you prioritize the skills / values"​. Looking for discussion more about characteristics,​ personality and approach. For example, "​someone who is comfortable working with the CIO in the morning, and a team in the afternoon."​ Also looking for some specific discussion around ability to manage client expectations,​ approach to work yourself out of a job, ability to find where people are at in client organization and start from there, and so on. Values and philosophy are part of this - see [[coaching_values_and_principles|Coaches Values and Principles]] for some thinking.
   * "The organization you are working with has read a lot about agile and are working to form teams. They understand the idea of a "two pizza team" but are struggling to form these teams in all cases. How would you convince the organization that having large teams is OK?" (Looking for a "​non-religious"​ discussion of a principle that a lot of people think is basic. Aim is to focus on what works for the business. Typically interested in more thought out approaches, than just following standard thinking. Note: this might not be what you want in your transformation - it has been important in some I've worked. And this might be a useful type of question to ask of all coaches).   * "The organization you are working with has read a lot about agile and are working to form teams. They understand the idea of a "two pizza team" but are struggling to form these teams in all cases. How would you convince the organization that having large teams is OK?" (Looking for a "​non-religious"​ discussion of a principle that a lot of people think is basic. Aim is to focus on what works for the business. Typically interested in more thought out approaches, than just following standard thinking. Note: this might not be what you want in your transformation - it has been important in some I've worked. And this might be a useful type of question to ask of all coaches).
   * "You are about to facilitate a leadership workshop, involving 20 people of the extended leadership team. If I were to walk into the room where you are facilitating,​ what would I see? How would you conduct a session like this?" Looking for an environment set up for collaboration and joint decision making. Walls marked of with things like "​Meeting Objectives",​ "​Working Agreements",​ "​Parking Lot", "​Retrospective",​ Kanban version marked "​Agenda"​. Room set up so that it is collaborative,​ seating around tables for example rather than classroom style. Perhaps a mention of a co-facilitator to pair with. Perhaps a mention of preparation work required to get there. Perhaps a discussion about engaging people in activities as quickly as possible, minimal use of PowerPoint and so on.   * "You are about to facilitate a leadership workshop, involving 20 people of the extended leadership team. If I were to walk into the room where you are facilitating,​ what would I see? How would you conduct a session like this?" Looking for an environment set up for collaboration and joint decision making. Walls marked of with things like "​Meeting Objectives",​ "​Working Agreements",​ "​Parking Lot", "​Retrospective",​ Kanban version marked "​Agenda"​. Room set up so that it is collaborative,​ seating around tables for example rather than classroom style. Perhaps a mention of a co-facilitator to pair with. Perhaps a mention of preparation work required to get there. Perhaps a discussion about engaging people in activities as quickly as possible, minimal use of PowerPoint and so on.
 +
 +====== Domain Curiosity or Expertise ======
 +
 +All these situational questions make an assumption. The assumption is that as the coach works the situation, they will have developed a level of understanding and expertise in the area they are coaching, the domain. Sadly, in my experience, this is not true. There is no doubt that you can develop the art and skill of being a coach, and develop their knowledge of agile and lean. But if that is where the coach stops in the learning, then they will be less effective when working with the people in a particular domain. ​
 +
 +The reasoning is no different to the reasoning behind why leadership is more effective when it has good technical expertise. To quote:
 +
 +> "When you begin to look at any of the core skills that leaders have, it quickly becomes clear that domain-specific expertise is bound up in all of them. And the domains of expertise required may also be fairly specific. Even business is not really a single domain. Leadership in construction,​ semiconductor fabrication,​ consulting, and retail sales all require a lot of specific knowledge."​ -- [[https://​hbr.org/​2017/​11/​can-you-be-a-great-leader-without-technical-expertise|Can you be a great leader without technical expertise?​]]
 +
 +If you regard coaching is a combination of leading, teaching, mentoring, communication,​ and facilitation,​ then the benefits accrue when you add in domain knowledge. For example, lets take something where it would seem to be OK to have no domain knowledge - facilitation. If you are functioning as a facilitator of a session, you might find that you will want to intervene when a conversation is taking a long time. Domain knowledge could help you understand better whether the discussion is worthwhile, or not. 
 +
 +You will probably find it hard to always find coaches that have the appropriate background, but this is not the point. At a minimum you will want to find coaches that are willing to do the work to increase their knowledge of your domain. If you don't you will end up with coaches that spout theory, but are unable to make things concrete. ​
 +
 +If I am concerned about this issue I might ask a question like:
 +
 +  * "Tell me what you learned about the business in the last engagement you were at and how did you learn this?" Here are a looking for a discussion about some understanding of the business, perhaps a specific business issue. Further you want to hear some innate curiosity into the business, with deliberate learning approach, rather than just discovering the issue by accident.
 +  * "Its your first day on the job at a new engagement, what are your first priorities?"​ At some level you want to at least hear some view of working toward domain understanding. ​
  
 ====== The “Quick Buzzer” Round ====== ====== The “Quick Buzzer” Round ======
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   * [[https://​evolution4all.com/​agile/​hire-agile-coaches/​|What You Need To Know Before Hiring Fraudulent Coaches]] blog post   * [[https://​evolution4all.com/​agile/​hire-agile-coaches/​|What You Need To Know Before Hiring Fraudulent Coaches]] blog post
   * [[What Are Some Good "Quick Fire" Round Questions We Can Ask to Assess Agile Knowledge?​]]   * [[What Are Some Good "Quick Fire" Round Questions We Can Ask to Assess Agile Knowledge?​]]
 +  * [[https://​hbr.org/​2017/​11/​can-you-be-a-great-leader-without-technical-expertise|Can you be a great leader without technical expertise?​]] which, while written for leadership, I believe has similar implications for coaching.
  
 {{tag>​Consultant Tools Role Coach FAQ}} {{tag>​Consultant Tools Role Coach FAQ}}
  
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