Coaching and Producing


or iteration planning sessions, the best coaches know that the path toward sustainable success is paved by allowing the community to take ownership as soon as possible. For me, this means leading the first few iteration-planning sessions. I let the community members lead as soon as they feel (or show) they are ready.

Theme 3: Explaining Why over Telling How
In the studio, helping players use the process to better capture their music is much more important than teaching them to use a piece of gear. Good coaches draw on this wisdom by teaching people the value of any practice as well as the mechanics. Sustainable agility is more common when people see the value of a practice instead of simply being told how to do the practice.

Theme 4: The Importance of Getting Done
While the coach does work with individuals, other times the work is with the larger community. This often includes helping define the ever-elusive "done." From chartering to story writing, story telling, and crafting and using acceptance tests, coaching sustainable success means leaving a community owning and growing their shared use of doneness.

These are just a few of the many themes from music production that can help working coaches find their way. Eventually, each coach needs to find a set of coaching themes. Do any come to mind for you?

Continuous Tuning: The Work of the Producing Coach
Both the producer and the coach have difficult jobs that take great patience and require continuously respectful leadership. Anyone interested in the job should know that coaching is a continuous process and not an event. In rare cases, a single coaching moment results in great change-for example, coaching a community through a tough retrospective may help find a set of changes that make all the difference.

More often, coaching changes happens in a series of small coaching moments that incrementally add up in hidden ways. Good coaches continuously invest in small events that help the community to experiment, examine, and improve in small chunks.

Coaches Tell Stories: When Will You Start?
Whether you are producing records or producing software, storytelling is one of your more powerful tools. You can tell people what to do-a prescriptive style-but they may not listen. Telling them what you have done-a descriptive style-starts a meaningful discussion. Once you engage people, the descriptive style allows you to learn what of your experience may be helpful and what of their experience is best used. Telling stories never fails to start important conversations.

Sharing our stories helps provide richer content, which leads to smarter and stronger problem solving. Time and again, I find that telling my coaching stories is the best way to get others to tell their coaching stories and take the coaching reins. This augments the discussion in ways that help us work toward a coaching plan for their community, while also helping us learn and become better coaches together.

Most people have a coaching story or two to tell. What are yours? If you want to coach or grow a culture of coaching where many people coach, telling your stories is a great starting point. Engage others in the process of change by telling your stories and asking them to tell their stories. If you want to help people change, you will have more success if the change happens with them instead of to them.

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