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How I got into Coaching

It’s hard to know where to start, because it all depends on what you mean by “got into” coaching. I’ve been working with Agile methodologies since roughly about 2005. Often I had a job with a title or description that included the words “coach” or “coaching”. But to keep things simple, I'm going to restrict this story to answering the question “How did you end up with website I am looking at now?“

Like every other practitioner I knew, I practiced Agile on myself: the “self-scrum” technique that I’m presenting on in this post. It worked really well …until it didn’t. That was the middle of 2022. I was deeply depressed and too disorganized to accomplish much of anything. None of the therapists I’d seen had ever been particularly helpful, so I decided to hire a coach. I didn’t know anyone, and I wasn’t expecting very much. I just wanted someone who would be willing to “hold the space” and practice my own technique on me.

 I got incredibly lucky. I found Tasha Chemel

Coaching changed my life. I had never had a dedicated coach before, and (while I knew it worked) that had always been the sort of thing that happened for other people. I knew coaching worked because I could see my impact on my Scrum teams. My colleagues (who had their own coaches) had also enthused about it, and I believed them. But it’s one thing to know something is true and quite another to experience the impact firsthand. My self-scrum technique produces a lot of data, so I had very solid numbers for “before” and “after” I began getting coaching. Six months into our coaching arrangement, my productivity had increased by 300%.

Let’s talk about the money for a minute. I confess that “can’t afford it” was a large part of what had kept me from getting a coach of my own. My colleagues who had coaches were more affluent than I was, and I had more or less mentally filed their coaching into the same bucket as the thousand-dollar seminars they were taking - which also seemed ridiculous to me at the time.

But I could afford some things: I could afford to go out to eat in San Francisco ($200). I could afford to occasionally go away for the weekend ($750). I wasn’t worried about covering rent, and I could afford the occasional splurges, within reason. (I don’t think anyone should ever risk bankruptcy for coaching.) Coaching simply wasn’t on my list of "possible splurges" until I was desperate. And I only spent as much money as I could afford to lose. Which is the rule for making any kind of investment, including one in yourself. 

Here’s the thing about “practical” coaches, like me, and like Tasha. If your coach isn’t delivering value that’s at least double their fees you should fire them. Because that’s the sort of difference you can (and should) expect. Honestly, just having an hour consistently set aside once a week that’s dedicated to whatever it is you want to achieve is enormous. You could be talking to a lamp post about your goals and it would help (so long as you did it consistently and stayed on topic). Even a mediocre coach can do a lot more than that. The impact of caring, human attention is enormous. The effect of skilled caring human attention is literally life changing. 

I'll say it again: coaching changed my life. And because it changed my life, I had the courage to put up this website and ask people to give me money. I have the courage to keep working at the business, and not give up when it gets difficult. Because I’d experienced, first-hand, what it can do, and I understood the value.   

I also, for the first time, had proof there was a reasonably good chance I would be able to earn a living. I connected with my coach just as she was beginning to get into coaching, and (by talking to her every week for two years) I’ve been able to observe her growth from basically zero to self-supporting during that time. Having a relationship with someone, and watching them slowly develop a business was enough for me to know that I could do it too.

So. That's how I got into coaching.

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