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I want to coach IT people...why don't they think they need it?

By Plan B ·
I'm confused. I'm a former long-time IT person that has retrained as a trainer and personal coach. I've chosen IT people as my niche - Executives, Managers, and Professionals. As a former IT Manager myself, I used a coach for a year and it changed my life.

I'm on the West Coast of Canada and coaching of all kinds is very popular here - from life/personal to business to career to executive to relationship. Yet, I'm finding the IT people I approach either don't know what it is or don't think it can help them in any way.

Perhaps I'm explaining it poorly? I know IT people in general are very self-assured and analytical. It's difficult to explain the ROI in "real" terms. I had to be convinced that it was worthwhile before I started.

What advice can you give an aspiring IT coach to help connect to IT people that are looking for/needing coaching? Alternatively, how would you explain the benefits of coaching to an IT person?

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Another reason to go through HR first?

by Plan B In reply to mmmmaybe

Interesting points about having to improve yet expected to be at the top of their game. If this is truly the way (and I suspect you're mostly right), then of course people would be leery about admitting they need/want coaching. It might show weakness to their management/executives.

I think this reinforces an earlier point to go through HR to set this up. HR may have been approached by either the employee or management already and asked to look for ways to help while not punishing the employee.

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by michaelemunson In reply to I want to coach IT people ...

I'm coming to IT from hardware service, and am fairly new. i can suggest things I've observed: First, alot of IT people I know (tragicly) fit the stereotype, being poor at face to face, or other direct communication with normal humans. Programmers are the worst. So it may simply be they are NOT resisting your offer to help, onyl giving an oblique replay.
second, here in the mighty US, alot of employees are both told to seek to improve, AND encouraged to claim they are already at the top of their game. They often fear to admit they might improve from coaching, in case the bean-counting management hears, and gives someone who refuses to admit teir need the next bonus/raise/continued employment.
so the two things I've seen in your way are
1:"Tech Psychosis"
2.Stupid Management (the modern most common oxymoron).
Oh... and try not calling it COACHING. use a more business-slang, snooty word or phrase.., like maybe "IT Process Optimization Assistance."

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by DC Guy In reply to mmmmaybe

I think you mean "tautology." ^_^

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Let me guess

by jkameleon In reply to I want to coach IT people ...

I haven't got any answer about what are you coaching, so I took the liberty of doing some research & guesswork myself. You are probably trying to be so called "personal coach"

Well, IT people are supposed to be a reasonable creatures. Job requires it. Guess that doesn't make us a very suitable target public for such newage psychomechanics.

Say- who coaches the coaches?

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*Sound of crickets chirping*

by dave.leigh In reply to I want to coach IT people ...

Well, it's been about 5 days since a good-faith offer was made to provide feedback for Plan B. Since then, no response whatsoever. Not even, "I'll get back to your" or "give me a little time."

I don't know about anybody else, but that tells me everything I could want to know about Plan B Services ( Here's some free advice you may not have heard from your coach... if you aren't going to listen to the answers, don't ask the questions.

I suggest you start working on Plan C.

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by jkameleon In reply to *Sound of crickets chirpi ...

I haven't noticed PlanB's website in his profile.

So, it's business & personal coaching allright, plus teamwork development. "Me team you work" kinda stuff, to quote venerable Scott Adams.

Well.. As I said before, I don't respond well to such psyshomechanics, and neither do guys I know & work with. Even if coaching is not just another management fad, it certainly looks like one.

There is only one thing that can make the team work: Integrity, and fair play. It's that simple. Alas, theese things are pretty much like mineral oil. Once it's pumped out, converted to cash and burned, it's gone, and no ammount of money will bring it back. Similarily, no ammount of coaching will bring back mutual trust once it's been violated.

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Thanks for your postings

by Plan B In reply to I want to coach IT people ...

Thanks for all of the great feedback. I?ve learned a lot from this discussion already. The first lesson ? don?t post at the end of a challenging week. :) It doesn?t come across the way that I had hoped.

I took the weekend to recharge and have been busy with work and family activities since then (part of the whole work/life balance thing I encourage). I apologize for not answering some of your questions more promptly.

I'll try and leave comments/feedback to as many of you as I can.

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by Dr Dij In reply to I want to coach IT people ...

Being IT people we 'know it all' already :)

and also being IT people, we are not 'people people' and would rather dink around with IT stuff than be in a meaningful career coaching session.

One last reason: I'm sure it isn't free, and we could use the money instead for a humongous hard drive (to impress the gal:), a new wizbang gadget, or the latest plasma/LCD TV that doubles as a computer screen. (or take the gal out to see an action / sci-fi movie! w/ dinner)

Did you see the daily show trendspotter bit on 'life-coaching'?

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Helping them become 'people people'

by Plan B In reply to Because

Yes, I'm aware of the 'know it all' tendency amongst IT people. I used to be one myself. :)

I think that's one of the reasons why I want to coach IT people. I found a lot of them to be wildly creative and fun, but seemed to have challenges around dealing with customers (for instance). Because they're typically not 'people people' and could maybe use some help to become one. That's where I always felt I was different than a number of my IT buddies. The computers were fun; but working with the people was much more fun. I don't want to coach anyone to be better at IT - they know how to do that and there are plenty of courses, books, and certifications to help. I want to help IT people improve their relationships (with bosses, co-workers, customers, and yes even their family). I want to help them lead more fulfilling and balanced lives. And I want them to become that rare species - an IT person that knows technology and that people can relate to.

It's not free so that adds an additional challenge. A lot of people are more willing if the company picks up the tab.

I did see the Daily Show bit. A perfect example of why I don't like the title 'life coach'. I prefer 'personal coach'.

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Solve a problem.

by dave.leigh In reply to Helping them become 'peop ...

If you don't want to help anyone be better at IT, then why bother to position yourself as a coach for "IT people"? Those "non-IT" skills are pretty important for anybody who's not a lone coder in a box. But I posted at length about that elsewhere.

As to what you want to help people become... who cares? Is that your job as a coach... to turn people into what you want them to be? Or is it to help them become what THEY want to be? There's nothing at all wrong with being machine-oriented rather than people-oriented unless it becomes an actual problem professionally or personally.

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