Coaching For Technical People
As a junior engineer, once you get past the initial overwhelm, it's almost simple to progress in your career. It may not be easy, but your direction is clear.
Your focus is on technical skills; every project is practice and there are innumerable free and paid options to learning new programming languages, new frameworks, and new techniques.
If you get stuck, you can always go to Stack Overflow.
If only it were so simple as your career progresses.
Somewhere along the way, you start to run into barriers that go beyond the technology.
- Maybe you need to convince your peers of the right way to do something, and they're just not listening.
- Or have to justify an engineering project to a VP, and you don't know how to craft the right story to convince them of the benefits.
- Maybe customer requests are pouring in and you don't know how to explain to Customer Success what they're asking for just isn't possible.
- Or maybe you accept a promotion to manager and you want to do the best for your team but you aren't sure where to start.
If one of these sounds like you, congratulations. You have reached the border to becoming a senior contributor.
From this point forward, your human skills (sometimes called "soft skills"), are equally if not even more important than your technical skills in your success.
You need to become as good at crafting a presentation as you are at crafting an application. As skilled at interpersonal influence as you are at interprocess communications. As deliberate at designing a workflow as you are at designing a development environment.
And unfortunately, there's no Stack Overflow for human problems.
You need a coach.
Maybe you're lucky, and you have a manager who is great at guiding you through this transition. Or even luckier, you have a more senior peer who can serve as a mentor without the conflict of interest of also being responsible for your work. But most of us aren't that lucky.
A coach can give the guidance and clarity you need to keep moving forward, navigate the transition from execution to influence, and level up your impact and career success.
This is where I can help.
Hi! I'm Kevin Ball, also known as KBall, and I've been working in the tech industry since 2004.
During that time, I've worked at big companies and small, cofounded startups and worked as a freelancer, individual contributor, manager, and mentor.
I've organized meetup groups, spoken at conferences, hosted a top industry podcast, and ran a large open source project.
In short, I've been successful in a wide range of companies and roles.
But throughout most of it, I struggled.
I burned myself out in the first 3 jobs I took, each one taking months and months to recover from.
I clashed with my startup cofounder, struggling to understand her perspective, and though we were ultimately able to forge a successful and strong relationship, it took years of pain to do so.
And I struggled in my first few times as a manager, having challenging relationships and difficulty balancing between product delivery and fostering individual and team growth.
My first time working with a coach was in 2018, and it was a life changing experience for me, helping me re-imagine my relationship to work and many other parts of my life.
It not only helped me with my personal effectiveness, but also with my mental health and my approach to relationships at work.
And it is ultimately why I'm now offering coaching as a service.
Coaching for techies, from a techie
When you're looking for a coach, you want someone who understands your context. Someone who can help you see your situation more clearly, not someone you're constantly having to explain the situation to. But also someone who knows things you don't, and can help you in going further.
If you're a software engineer or engineering manager, that's where I come in.
I'm a proud technologist who has worked in the software world for my entire career. I've navigated hypergrowth startups, scaled web products to hundreds of millions of users, and continue to write my own software. As a micro-example, this website is hand-coded using Eleventy and hosted on Netlify.
But I'm also deeply invested in the coaching and training side of the world. I've worked almost half my career as a manager honing my ability to help engineers develop, spent years studying communication and public speaking, and am pursing certification through the International Coaching Federation.
I'm here to help.
What people say about working with KBall
Kevin has a skill of asking questions which enabled me to clarify my own feelings and discover an answer from within. He is a scholar of people, always interested in learning more about how to help others reach their potential. I always left our discussions with a plan and feeling energized.
The way that Kevin approaches growth is different from what I’ve experienced previously. He has a set of growth conversations that talks growth and development in a holistic sense. Thanks to him, I was actually able to identify and work on some things outside of work that I had putting off that I didn't even realize was affecting me throughout the day. Finally working on these things has allowed me to be better outside and inside the workplace.
I am so grateful to have crossed paths with Kevin when I did. He helped me identify what I want from my career, and through that I was able to rebuild my confidence and effectiveness as a software engineer. Through one-on-one sessions, he helped me identify my strengths, weaknesses, and wants. We then came up with a holistic and practical plan to work effectively _with_ those traits to achieve growth, rather than trying to ignore weaknesses.
Try before you buy
It can be hard to try something new, and if you've never worked with a coach before, you might be a bit skeptical.
And, even if coaching is right for you, I may or may not be the best coach.
That's why I'm reserving time every week for free exploration sessions. These are 1 hour long, individual coaching sessions that let you "try before you buy" and learn what it's like to work with me as a coach.
Maybe you're feeling stuck. You want to have more impact. You're ready to work on yourself and your career, and take your contributions to the next level.
Whatever the reason, you feel ready to try it.
Don't wait. Sign up for an exploratory session today.