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Nurturing Growth and Listening Skills


Over the past year, I've been exploring various coaching methods, and integrating self-directive coaching has significantly impacted my day-to-day interactions with the incredible teams and guilds at Potato. In line with the ethos of my recent article, I'm eager to share my insights with the community. Before we delve into the details, let me lay down the fundamental principles.

Understanding the Heart of Self-Directive Coaching

The essence of self-directive coaching invites you to take the reins of your personal and professional growth. Unlike traditional coaching, self-directive coaching places you in the driver's seat, fostering autonomy, creativity, and self-awareness. Explore the heart of this transformative approach as it encourages you to uncover your innate wisdom, set meaningful goals, and navigate your unique path. Dive into a coaching experience that empowers you to become the architect of your own success, not just about finding solutions but shaping a journey that resonates authentically with who you are.

Directive vs. Self-Directive Coaching: Embracing Listening Skills

Picture directive coaching as the conventional teaching style where the coach dictates what needs to be done. While it has its merits, it might inadvertently limit autonomy and creativity.


  • Coach takes a more active role in providing direction.
  • Emphasis on instruction and feedback.
  • Suitable for situations where clear guidance is needed.

Examples of scenarios where directive coaching is effective:

  • When the coachee lacks specific knowledge or skills.
  • In urgent or time-sensitive situations.
  • When the coachee requests clear guidance.

Now, for self-directive coaching, it's a realm of self-discovery where the coach isn't a presumed "expert." Instead, they become your listening companion, aiding you in uncovering your unique insights and solutions. Here, the emphasis is not just on your perspective and self-discovery but also on the crucial skill of active listening, empowering you to take charge of your goals and actions.

Characteristics: Coachee takes a more active role in their own development. Coach facilitates self-discovery and problem-solving. Encourages autonomy and independent thinking.

Examples of scenarios where self-directive coaching is effective: When the coachee is seeking personal growth and empowerment. For long-term development and skill-building. When the coachee prefers a more independent learning approach.

The Added Edges

Self-directive coaching not only places you in control of your life but also accentuates the importance of active listening and effective communication. It ensures that you don't merely depend on someone else's solutions but actively engage in understanding and processing information.

Authenticity is pivotal: Your values, desires, and journey take center stage, fostering a profound sense of fulfilment and alignment with your true self.

Sustainable Growth: The natural outcome of self-directive coaching, equipping you with skills that transcend quick fixes.

Creative Problem-Solving: Together, you explore new perspectives and solutions that may elude a directive approach.

Ownership remains paramount: Setting the pace, measuring success, and celebrating victories, big and small.

In Conclusion

I enthusiastically embraced the principles of self-directive coaching through the coaching guild at Potato, seamlessly integrating them into various Agile ceremonies. Even in their condensed form, these subtle adjustments have proven to be significant triumphs. Wondering how this translates into our daily routine? For instance, every Monday has transformed into a team ritual where we collectively reflect on a small or big win from the previous week. During this time, we wholeheartedly focus on the person sharing, honing our listening skills along the way. It's all about fostering a habit of self-discovery and empowerment within the team. Taking it a step further, we encourage each other to set personal goals after engaging in a wheel of life exercise, and we review them monthly. This not only cultivates a strong sense of ownership but also empowers each team member individually.

To disrupt the usual retrospective rhythm, consider adding a powerful question such as:

  • Were there any moments when you felt overwhelmed or stressed, and how did you manage those feelings?
  • Did you embrace change and adapt to new requirements effectively? How did you handle uncertainties and ambiguity?
  • What did you learn during this sprint, and how can you apply those learnings in future sprints?

We recently experimented with a self-reflection workshop, delving into our strengths and weaknesses. This allowed the team to explore specific aspects of their performance in both professional and personal lives, aiming to create a deeper understanding of ourselves and each other if individuals are willing to share.

If none of the above resonates with you, I encourage you to consider this last recommendation: make it a point to publicly celebrate personal or team achievements, giving kudos to highlight individual or team success then ask them what they have learned from this win. The combined recognition, along with a powerful question, acts as a potent motivator, creating an atmosphere that values and promotes ongoing growth and success.