This week I did my first Skype-based coaching session (my first at least as consultant rather than manager) and I’m pleased to report that it was a satisfying experience all round. An away-from-the-Kanban-board discussion avoids getting sucked into day-to-day minutiae; instead it’s an opportunity to step back, review and plan. It has a lot in common with the Agile retrospective, but a good model is A3: we need to get behind the annoyances and what may be over-personalised issues and work hard on finding the words to express root causes and potential ways forward in ways that lead to positive change.
Away from the board we can think bigger too. How can we work better with teams upstream and downstream? Are we involving the right people promptly and effectively enough? Can we help bring about higher level change that would have greater and longer-lasting impact on projects beyond our own?
Of course it helps immensely that I already know the client well, having working relationships and collaborative partnerships that go back several months, spending weeks on site (abroad) getting to know both the issues and the people. From the client’s perspective, it’s a cost-effective way to ensure that progress is reviewed regularly and that appropriate interventions are made before we get to the point where more hands-on support is again warranted (which will happen!). From my perspective, it creates the capacity to support multiple clients at once. Mutually, we learn from each other’s experiences and manage the peaks and troughs in demand. How very Lean!