Why software developers hate coaching bosses.

I guess we could speak about several types of bosses that software developers hate, but today we will focus on a specific one — ‘the coaching boss’. Or as they prefer to call themselves — ‘a coaching leader’. You’re probably familiar with this kind of images on your Linkedin feed or an office wall.

At the age of 17 when I’ve joined a company in gaming/e-commerce field I was doing some crappy banners design and cutting shit to HTML. Our CEO was an extravertic coach who loved public speaking. His first company had bankrupted and he decided to teach people how fails make you stronger. On his website, he bragged that he read over 300 books (sic!). I think I know what kind of books he was talking about…

Jokes aside, he was pretty cool guy and his business skills were indeed impressive. As a youngster nerd, I wanted to be like him, so I’ve followed his bits of advice — read his books, gotten into NLP and sales techniques, tried to be proactive.

In the end, I’ve failed to be ‚the next great CEO’ in a fancy jacket.
However, working within sales-oriented company for 4 years taught me something, luckily for me — in the early stages of my life. Years went by, I’ve quit the company, but still the coaching managers seemed to be a fairly common thing.

I have to try to figure out why their advices, which supposed to make me happier, had exactly the opposite effects.

Coaching gives a general advices instead of solving real problems.

If you go into the self-improvement book genre you will find just general advices which don’t necessary apply for individual cases. It is exactly the opposite to what developers are accustomed. We are living in a very strict world and spending years on solving opinionated problems.

Hearing advices like ‘seek for win-win solution’ or ‘put first things first’ seems obvious to us. We want help with a problem that requires a deeper understanding of given circumstances.

Not everybody has a need to be perfect.

Some people just want to do what they love and be the best in their field. Based on my experience, rushing to be a fucking TOP1 at everything makes you unhappy. Which is completely opposite to how coaches are selling it.

What has always interested me is that coaching bosses are motivating developers to be a great leader like them. Which doesn’t make sense.
Companies have problem to find good developers because there’s so much need on the market. If we have 5 managers and 2 developers we will go nowhere.

There are no movies about plastic characters.

I bet people like Niki Lauda or Steve Jobs DIDN’T use their time in a peak moment of their careers to read books ‘How to win friends and influence people’. Yet, they are kind of people we watch movies about. Being dramatic is beautiful in its own way.

In Poland, we got a movie called ‘Gods’ (Bogowie). It’s an authentic story about Polish heart surgeon prof. Zbigniew Religa. He did the first successful heart transplant in Poland. This man, although, had a lot of demons…

Picture shows exhausted professor after the surgery. In the background, you see a sleeping and exhausted assistant. Patiently lying on the table is Tadeusz Żytkiewicz, the longest living person after heart transplant in the country.

I’m not saying that the idea of self-improvement is bad in general. It’s hated because the ‘coaching-genre’, due to generalization and monetization, focused on selling feelings instead of an empathic understanding other people.

There might be a common denominator of successful people yet some of us might not be interested in because exploration is giving so much fun.

We should focus on doing what we love, because coaching advices alone will not give enough power to have an impact on the world.