Career Talk Therapy at Agile2012
by Suzanne Johnson
I'm still coming down off a high from the Agile2012 conference. I tremendously enjoyed meeting so many people who are passionate about Agile -- the feeling was infectious. I don’t develop software, I’m a recruiter. So I come at Agile from a different perspective -- I get jazzed about the people and behavioral aspects. It dawned on me during of the keynotes that Agile is about changing people’s mindset and, in turn, their behavior. And I believe it’s for the better! A person is evolving when they demonstrate the Agile principles of communication, collaboration, and transparency … getting out of one’s comfort zone and developing/enhancing skills that, in my book, can only be described as a good thing.
At the conference, I set up shop at the Agile Coach’s Clinic within Open Jam with a sign saying “Career Questions? Ask Suzanne”. I was the only "Career Coach" among several Agile Coaches. The goal was to provide a different type of coaching than specifically around Agile process/practices, but one which could also be of value to conference participants. A person could sign up for a 15 minute session with me (which many times turned into quite a bit longer, as long as no one else was waiting) to discuss any career questions they may have. Since my background is in recruiting for Agile professionals, I knew it would be a fun assignment.
I had a blast talking with the participants. When someone asked me for guidance in his career, my follow-up was to ask him questions to find out more information before composing a response. What I found particularly interesting was that everyone was so open and thoughtful. These turned into conversations certainly beyond career and current job … they turned into conversations that were really about motivations and desires and fears -- the core issues that make us who we are and that are part of our daily lives. The consistent thread was that people were looking to progress not only in their career but also as human beings.
In most cases, I think the person already knew the answer to their question(s). Just listening to them may have helped or I may have provided some nugget of advice, something that could have provided a different perspective. And if that’s the case, I’m happy -- it’s progress.