A bit about coaching, a bit about cheating this time.

A colleague asks me for help with some random problem about random technology.

I might say: “push here, run that, do this…”

Or I’d say: “I don’t know. What do you think? Hang on… I bet this tool should allow doing something like that. Let’s pair on this for a moment…”

A geek like me tend to enjoy showing off with how much he knows. Sometimes it’s really hard to shut up and pretend I don’t know. There is a reward, though. It’s when we finally work out the solution together and I feel we both made a little step ahead to be better software engineers.

One wants to get things done. One aims for fabulous architecture. Many times I seem to have quite different agenda. I’d rather make someone learn stuff. So I might say “I don’t know” even if it means things are not done as quickly or the design ends up imperfect. Is it clever or just… unethical?

Whoa, deep blogging. I bet it’s this Christmas time inspiration. This blog post is sponsored by Mariah C. (All I want for Christmas is… closure in java?).

5 Responses to coacheating

  1. Andy Palmer says:

    Do you always do things exactly the same way?
    One of the things that I find myself saying when someone asks “How do you do ?” is “I’m not sure, let’s sit together and see what happens”
    I’m not lying because I approach every problem fresh (although each time, I have a little more experience of what not to do :-) )

  2. szczepiq says:

    :) very nice indeed.

    Plus, I’m adding your text to my toolkit…

  3. Asking questions in order to answer a question is as old as Socrates, at least!

    One of my favorite essays… a teacher taught binary arithmetic to 8 year olds by doing nothing but asking questions:

  4. Igor says:

    This works really well when you teach/pair with people who expect to learn something and are open.
    However, from my experience, may be hard to apply when facing people, who thinks they already know what you try to “sell”.

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