Spotting the Balance

Posted by on Jul 1, 2011 in Balance, Community, Conference | 3 Comments
Balancing Sunlight

Balancing Sunlight – by Pink Sherbet Photography

At the AgileCoachCamp Germany last weekend, I hosted a session about Balance. As coaches, we are working on edges. Between order and chaos, command and self-organisation, the status quo and the status to be… Some of these edges we need to guard so that people don’t cross them. Some others we need to guard so that people do come over…

“We look to . . . the edges,” said Mistress Weatherwax. “There’s a lot of edges, more than people know. Between life and death, this world and the next, night and day, right and wrong . . . an’ they need watchin’. We watch’em, we guard the sum of things. And we never ask for any reward. That’s important.”

Granny Weatherwax is a witch, and in this quote explains what Discworld’s witches do—to the young Tiffany Aching, in Wee Free Men (a wonderful book about growing up, and as most of Terry Pratchett’s books, as exhilarating as philosophical). I think it wonderfully describes what we do as coaches. And, it shows clearly why coaching is hard. You don’t expect people to like you. You don’t do it for the money. (Witches are well paid on Discworld, too…) In the session, we collected quite a few areas where you need to find your balance as a coach. And keep it as you make things move… The change you induce leads to the necessity of you finding that balance again, and again… You get my point. This is the start of a series. I committed to writing one post every two weeks about one of the topics below. (And, you know how this works, you may suggest more in the comments…) These are the topics we collected, ordered by importance to the crowd in the session:

  • Teaching vs Coaching, Coaching vs Leading, Leading vs Following, Authority vs Being a Part
  • Challenging vs. Pleasing others
  • Being blunt vs. being nice
  • (Passive) servant leadership vs. more “direct direction”
  • Free time vs. work, work/life, work time vs. out-of-office time
  • Choosing your fires, balance between passions and interests
  • Let go/watch vs. intervene (in a team)
  • Balance vs. Forward movement
  • Balance between Innovation and Digestion
  • Ignore vs. point out (organisational)
  • Perfect vs. Quick Implementation
  • Balance between using your energy and refilling
  • Functionality vs. Quality
  • Tech stuff vs. People Stuff
  • Passion vs. Extremism or Fanatism
  • Taking care of myself vs. Taking care of others
  • Passion vs. Duties
  • Spending vs. Earning
  • Authentic expression vs. empathic listening
  • Balance vs. Forward Movement

Having reread this list now after two weeks, I look forward to writing about all these topics… But, if one of these is close to your heart: I’m interested in collaboration. I’d like to pair-write with some of you, feel free to volunteer!



  1. agile42 | Awesome Coach of the Week: Michael Sahota
    July 5, 2011

    […] recently thinking a lot about Balance. In coaching, one of the dimensions I need to keep my balance in is that of Being Blunt vs. Being […]

  2. Irene
    July 8, 2011

    Ich bin eher ein “Let go/watch”-Typ, stelle aber fest, dass das nicht immer reicht. Wenn du immernoch ein Pair-Writer suchst für “Let go vs. intervene” bin ich dabei.

  3. Michael Sahota
    July 21, 2011

    Love the thinking. Love the list. Really strikes a chord.

    I’ll add another one:

    Exploration vs. Harvesting
    or (rewording)
    Learning vs. Doing


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