S12-201: Coaching Testers

Track: Leadership Perspectives for Testers

Coaching is no longer belongs solely in sweaty football rooms and is increasingly becoming an invaluable tool in helping us educate testing professionals. More and more we are seeing how coaching can help us in our day to day lives, in developing talent in business and more closely in agile projects.
Introducing tester coaching, where instead of focusing on improving your penalty goal, the coaching focuses on improving tester skill.

Coaching differs to traditional teaching and training as its the student who takes charge of the learning, they chose the learning objective, not the coach. Because of this, a student is likely to be more willing to learn the topic in hand.

Tester coaching is focused on learning through solving problems and much of the concepts come from the socratic teachings. A coaching session typically revolves around a testing task that the student applies themselves to.

My talk is a result of my experience in coaching testers both remotely and within a test team. Coaching testers remotely is performed using online messaging. The coaching sessions are performed one on one, where the tester is given a task or exercise to perform based on a learning objective they have.
Coaching testers is a more traditional approach but is an effective tool for a test manager to help testers improve their skill within a project context.

There is a Latin saying “docendo discimus” which translated to english means by teaching we learn. If you ever truly want to understand what an oracle is, try teaching it to someone. This is why coaching is beneficial not only to the student but the the coach as well.

As part of my work with James Bach on coaching, I will explain some of the complexities of coaching such as understanding a student’s attributes, what a task is and the importance of energy within a coaching session. To do this, I explain what a coaching space is and how I use coaching patterns to help me through a coaching session.

The talk will end with an online demonstration of an instant messaging coaching exercise.

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Session Speaker:

Anne Marie CharrettAnne Marie Charrett – Testing Coach and Trainer, Testing Times
Anne-Marie Charrett is a testing coach and trainer with a passion for helping testers discover their testing strengths and become the testers they aspire to be. Anne-Marie offers free IM Coaching to testers and developers on Skype(id charretts) and is working on a book with James Bach on coaching testers.