If your question isn’t answered here, please don’t hesitate to get in touch vie email at ‘dave’ at this domain.

What is Coaching? What should I expect?

These are covered in Dave’s Coaching Approach and What to Expect - I’m hoping those pages continue to cover most FAQs, so if they seem incomplete to you, please let me know.

What Qualifies you to be a Coach?

As I mention in Dave’s Coaching Approach, there are no real qualifying attributes to call yourself a coach.

However, I believe the following mean that I’ll be an effective coach for many folks who might be interested:

  • 15+ years in management and executive leadership in tech, taking a coaching approach to both.
  • Qualified with Distinction in Professional Diploma in Coaching and Mentoring with Kingstown College.
  • ICF and EMCC member.
    • The above Diploma qualification (or similar) is a pre-requisite for membership.
    • I am bound by the codes of ethics of both bodies in my practice.

Will Coaching help with Career progression?

Probably. Everyone is able to self-motivate or self-direct to an extent, and many do very well for most of their career without specific guidance. However, everyone progresses (toward career success, or happiness, or both) through the intervention of others, be it a leader, a peer, or someone sensible who has your best interests at heart and can provide another perspective. If they can get a little bit into detail and try to keep you honest on really moving toward your goals, so much the better. That is, in essence, what the coaching relationship is.

Do I need to be in Ireland?

Not at all! Most of my coaching engagements are managed completely remotely, and I have extensive experience working with odd time zones. If we’re setting up sessions, I use Calendly to manage those, and you can find a time that suits you.

If you do happen to be in Dublin, I am happy to meet in person, either at your office or elsewhere. Somewhere with secure parking for a motorbike and good coffee is a bonus :-)

Is it Expensive?

I’m going to briefly overcome generations of Irish guilt and self-deprecation to mutter something about how I’m good at this and have a lot of experience, a solid track record and an array of skills and tools that are very valuable. You’re getting someone with decades of experience in many different types of teams, organisations and companies. If you’re in the Production Engineering/SRE/DevOps space, I also have more experience than most in the methods, tools and approaches there.

So, let’s put it this way: if you’re an individual paying out of pocket (and paying VAT if you’re in the EU), the answer is probably yes. Drop me a line and I’ll be happy to give you an idea, with no obligations.

However, I would expect the amount paid in relation to impact and outcomes to be a rounding error in the People Development budgets of most employers. So, the usual route would be for an employer to sponsor coaching for an employee that needs it. If you need advice on convincing your boss, I have a 1-pager ‘brochure’ that can also serve as a ‘convincing your boss or HR department’ document.

I’ve found that many employers also have an individual ‘personal development’ budget that might cover coaching, and that many folks don’t know about until they look.

Can I arrange coaching for one or more of my employees, and can we figure something out?

Certainly! Most of my clients are via a ‘sponsor’ employer, who suggest a coach to folks as a means of working on various things. Working with several people within one company or organisation works out well for me also, as I can become appropriately familiar with how the culture of the org can factor into how people think. So, let’s chat – hit the big orange button and find a time.

If I’m getting coaching via my employer, do you report back to them on what we talk about?

No. The only thing your employer gets is info on when sessions happened for the purposes of billing. This is standard practice for certified coaches, and is very strictly set out in the codes of ethics of ICF and EMCC. Any notes I take or documents I work on with you are stored securely, and can be sent to you (and only you) on request.

The only instance where I’d talk about anything in a client session is if the client indicates that they intend to hurt either themselves or others. At that point I have a duty of care to let someone know.

Why ‘Strategic Hopes’?

I spent about 17 years as an SRE at Google, our semi-official motto was “hope is not a strategy”. I think that’s a fine motto for an engineering function that makes sure the latest disaster isn’t as disastrous as it could be, due to careful planning and defense in depth.

However, humans still have hopes. They’re often nebulous or partially-defined. They’re often one of the things an employer is only too happy to provide if the employee doesn’t bring their own. A frank discussion of where you want to be and some idea of what’s next to move towards there is often an ideal outcome from coaching. If you know what you want, then the job of reconciling that with what is expected of you is closer to being under control.

So, somewhere between having your future completely mapped out, and aimlessly coasting is the sweet spot. The future doesn’t always cooperate (that’s the thing with the future), but you can hope for something more in line with your ideal outcome, and have as much of a strategy as suits your personality and circumstances to get there.