Truth

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Truth

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I was talking to a fellow agile coach the other day who’s leading her own coaching practice. She’d completed several engagements partnering with two experienced agile coaches and there had been some “rocky exchanges” along the way.

One of the things she said to me that the coaches have given her some really hard feedback of late. Sort of like a firehose of feedback. And that while she appreciated all of it, it was really hard to digest it all. And all of it seemed to be constructive/negative in nature. So, lots to think about and she seemed overwhelmed by it.

I asked her to – look for the truth in it.

And she said something interesting. She said that – it was ALL true.

And I thought for a moment and responded.

No, it’s not all true!

It’s only true from the perspective of the coach’s giving you the feedback. Certainly 100% of what they told you can’t all be true. Nor do you want to take action on all of it.

I said that, from my perspective, the truth lies in at least three points of view:

  1. There is the point of view of the coaches giving you the feedback. That is their truth.

  2. Then there is your point of view. That is the perspective of the person receiving the feedback. What truth can you glean from it? This is your truth.

  3. Finally, there is the relationship or the systems perspective. That is the relationship between the two of you. Your 3’rd Entity if you will. What is its truth?

I tried to explain, that I think the TRUTH lies in the middle of all of that. And it isn’t necessarily so cut and dry. It’s an aggregation. It has to be teased out. And it has to be thoughtfully digested.

Gerald Weinberg established a Rule of 3 in his The Secrets of Consulting book. It was intended as a guide to problem solving or looking for problems and risks in our plans. Its guidance was that as consultants we needed to come up with at least three possible “solutions” for every problem we encountered with a client or in our plans.

You can hear Johanna Rothman discuss it in this InfoQ recording.

The rule calls one solution a trap, two a dilemma, while three breaks the logjam in our thinking. Leading to more options, better thinking, and more open-ended solutions.

I’m proposing that same thinking here. I don’t want us to have a singular truth, but have options for our truth. And I think three is a really nice number. Thanks, Jerry!

I hope my coach colleague understood what I was saying so that she rose from being burdened down with so much truth.

I think the key point is that we’re receiving feedback all of the time.

We need to wade through it all, carefully considering it, and then find our own truth. Perhaps the metaphor, The Truth is Out There, can help with that?

Stay agile my friends and may you find your truth,

Bob.

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