5 Whys is a blog about technical leadership in the software world.

How to be an effective code coach

As a technical team leader, you might expect others to become better coders. You can also be a coach for them by pairing with each person for a few hours each week.

Being an effective code coach means that you pair with someone, but you write less code. You mainly sit there next to them and help them out as they struggle out writing the code on their own. You might jump in, but most of the time, you should restrain yourself, and let them solve their own problems to completion. Additional techniques include asking them leading questions and jointly planning effective implementations. Remember to always be an overall coach and mentor.

It's all too easy to jump in and take the reigns from a coder with less experience than you. It's much more effective to not do that - but intend give them sense that you trust them, and that it's ok to go slower, but you expect them to challenge themselves and to ask tough questions, even if they seem silly.

You may find that being a code coach, you struggle just as much as your pair - but you struggle at learning to lead and coach. they struggle with learning to 'get' code.

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