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Coaching in Software Development – Which Core Competencies are needed?

I’ve worked as a Software Developer, a Software Developer Manager, a Team Leader, and a Solution Architect across the world for decades. To do what I do for a living, I must be involved in activities that help develop and train others.

In this profession, there are numerous responsibilities and talents available, particularly in Software Development, where personnel is trained and supervised.

Coaching allows us to explore new ways of doing things while also letting go of old ones. With the help of coaching, different views and points of view can be moved and developed, resulting in more action opportunities.

Many of these positions are known as ‘Coach,’ ‘Agile Coach,’ ‘Software Coach,’ and ‘Personal Growth Coach,’ to name a few. The contrast between various types of therapy and their accompanying contexts and tactics is fascinating. It comes to reason that a software development trainer or mentor would need to have a high level of expertise in the software business to bring a student up to the trainer’s level. A life or career coach, on the other hand, is objective and does not have the essential skills or is already where the coachee wants to be.

The term “coaching” denotes an industry trend in and of itself. Individuals misuse this term to refer to a wide range of direct personal activities that have nothing to do with coaching. Activities include coaching, treatment, and counseling. Both training and mentoring happen in a similar setting.

For example, a trainer or mentor works on factual and abstract topics with almost fixed goals and, in most cases, a structured path and a systematic approach. However, therapy or coaching mainly focuses on things from the personal context. (Drath, 2013) From a different point of view, coaching and training are more geared towards solutions than conflicts. (Drath, 2013)


The Delimitation

Coaching is a vague term everyone understands or only uses because it has a positive tendency to it. (Backhausen, n.d.) Different contexts and, of course, business cultures in different nations have a significant impact on how coaching is perceived. It comes from the definition of the coaching requirement. On the other hand, the definition of coaching varies according to field and activity. For instance, a sports coach’s relationship with his coachee is distinct. It is both a constant coaching procedure on a personal level and a solid transfer of topic knowledge. Even in this situation, it is critical to acknowledge, for example, that a coach of a football team is not necessarily the best football player. Still, their expertise enables them to recognize how a player may perform at their best as an individual and a team member.

Looking back over the last 50 years, we can see that the “coaching kitchen” has only recently begun with its gourmet piece. Based on the United States and the United Kingdom’s success and drawn from the life coaching concept, Germany and other European countries began to shine in this field. (Drath, 2013)

Figure 1. Delimitation according to the method (Drath, 2013)

Coaching was first utilized in the early twentieth century. With his book “Adult Games” in 1970, Eric Berne established himself as a pioneer in coaching today. Companies began to offer coaching as a service years after Eric Berne was discovered.

Accepting that there is no proper definition but rather a helpful and workable definition is the most effective and most practical method to comprehend what coaching truly is. As a result, we are not discussing an accurate definition but rather a clear distinction from other methods.

From many references, we can define coaching as an external, professional form of individual advice in a professional context with a time-limited system. (Meier and Storch, 2013) (Drath, 2013) (Baxter et al., 2008) (Backhausen, n.d.)

Figure 2 shows the areas of tension in coaching. When discussing coaching in a non-private situation, it is essential to remember that the emphasis is not on private life and that the coaching activities may have various viewpoints. It is an element of the change process; it is a process in and of itself, including all facets of personal and professional life.

Figure 2. Areas of tension in coaching according to Berkhausen o.J.

Compared to psychotherapy and its methodology, which has existed for over 100 years (Drath, 2013), the concept of coaching can also be viewed as a confidential process-oriented method. However, the most crucial difference between these two methods is the psychological status of the target group. Psychotherapy is about focusing on a thought or behavioral disorder that needs to be resolved. There are several methods of finding the cause of the disorder and finding a helpful way to mitigate the effects on people’s behavior. The same methods are used in coaching, but with one significant fundamental difference. In coaching, we explicitly speak of mentally stable people. In addition, we do not focus on a disorder but on stabilizing the coachee’s behavioral pattern. (Drath, 2013) Coaching is helping people to help themselves (von Schumann, 2014). It is a positive process of change in a person’s behavior and thought pattern under consideration of the motivational forces of the past (Baxter et al., 2008). If anyone wants to change, these schemes need to be improved. (Backhausen, n.d.)