Is a coach a musician or a DJ?

In the agile world we have lots of people that have some kind of musical background.When I started presenting, I had the feeling I had to have original content. As if I could only be a good presenter with original content.Now I know that my presenter gift is story telling.  It doesn’t matter who’s content it is.
Jurgen received some critique for his management book because he was recycling others’ ideas, but I don’t mind. Actually, it’s one of the things I like about his book.(It’s also not true as he has some great toolsin the book.)If I think some further, agile is doing the same. We are gathering great practises and combine them in supporting frameworks.

Some time ago when I first had the idea to write a book, I told myself that whatever I wanted to do, I only wanted to add my ideas to a book, if they were significantly better then things I knew from other people.

Just as a lot of coaches I have an ego, yet it’s not that big that I think my ideas are better then everyone else’s. And then it struck me. That is exactly what I did as a DJ. I played other people’s songs to give my audience a good time. Although I’m not the one writing songs, I am the one throwing great parties. (I see kanban, scrum, TDD as songs). I see my role in the agile community more as a story teller, making publicity for others people songs.

My friend, Johanna told me I could write content, yes I know just like I know some DJs are making music or we have cover bands. I think that if you want to entertain an adult crowd, your songs have to be of great quality. Until now I don’t think I added new songs of quality. Don’t understand me wrong, I don’t mean that in a negative way. I am very proud of my story telling and my mixing of others people songs.

And I think that when you go to an unknown audience you are better of with a collection of CDs than your own songs. Or in coaching language, with any company you are better off with an unlimited tool set than just with your own invented framework.

And yes, some DJ’s only do one genre. And as an audience member, it’s great to go to a rock party or a Gothic event, it’s great because everyone expects this and we all have a good time. And it’s easy as a DJ as he or she can predict what songs the audience will love.
It’s a lot harder at a wedding or a party in a holiday center disco.  There you have all kinds of people, some from countries you have never heard of. You have no idea what songs or even genres they like.

That’s the job of the typical coach who is called in to make an organization agile. When I go into an organisation, I have to blend practises from many cultures to fit the company culture.

Yes I could focus on scrum because that is trendy today, but at some parties that latest bilboard hot 100 song just won’t work. And for some company cultures La Bamba might work and others don’t like touchy feely stuff…

The larger your tool set, the more chance you have to find the sweet spot of an organization. With a DJ people have the habit of asking for songs they like. Some people have to have fun before they will ask for a song. Others will requests songs because they want to help you to start the party. With a band we will expect them to have their own set list.

And yes when I coach, people expect to want a silver bullet from me. (Just like a 16 year old expects the band to play the perfect love song to seduce that beautiful girl he has been watching all night.) As a DJ it’s easier to find the perfect mood.

People don’t like it when I want to listen to them, to know what songs or solution would work.  But for me it’s easier as a coach with a public toolbox then one with my own theories.