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Submitted by RichRuh on


Our software company has a position called "Technical Lead Engineer". These people are senior-level programmers, with a twist-- at least as important as technical acumen is leadership ability.

I have an employee who I am trying to groom for this position by coaching her in our weekly O3 meetings. I'm trying to define coaching goals for this person.

Some goals are easy-- for example, technical leads hold code reviews. Ergo: "Organize and hold 3 code reviews in the next quarter."

But as I mentioned above, the real differentiator for this position is "Leadership skills", and how do you coach that? Any ideas for specific measurable goals?



juliahhavener's picture
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Is there a team member who could benefit from individual coaching efforts/skills this woman has? Are there communications skills in need of development? Does she have a good grasp of what the job entails and how to go about doing it? Coach to the skills she will need, identify areas she may be able to 'practice' those skills in beforehand.

sklosky's picture


Some thoughts.

Maybe a preliminary goal for her is to identify 3 to 5 leadership skills which apply to her role. Even better, have her come up with the goals and the measureable metrics.

Another idea -- review her position description and identify line items that are in the description that are not her strengths. If her position description it too vauge (often the case with my firm), maybe a goal is to update her position description with line items that specifically call out related leadership skills.

Another idea -- review her resume with her and her accomplishments. Identify other accomplishments that would add nicely to her resume and set those as goals.

Another idea -- review position descriptions of positions above her's in the organization and identify crucial skills which she currently lacks.

Just some thoughts.

Good luck,

Mark's picture
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- Have her coach someone, after studying the coaching model and briefing you on what her plan will be for someone who works for you.

- Have her give feedback - a certain amount over a certain period.

- Have her lead a brainstorming session. Assess breadth of input sources and amount of ideas.

- Have her take over your one on ones for a couple of weeks.

- Give her 1-5 things to delegate using the model, and have her report on follow up and project completion.

- Assess her meeting management skills.

It's a start.


RichRuh's picture
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Wow! Thanks for all the great ideas!


cwcollin's picture

....from my experience are the 2 hardest "leadership skills" for Senior Level programmers to pick up in transitioning to a management role.

They want to fix problems fast instead of working with others ( who are responsible ) on the solutions and coaching them through the processes.

I think that it is very important that you share with them that whether they do their next job well will be wholey based on how others perform.
Instead of starting their day thinking "what do I have due today" they will need to start by thinking "what does everyone else have due today and how can I help ( or how am I hurting ) them with it"

I would build all of your coaching sessions around this concept. The technical expertise is just an extension of their current role and should not require as much focus as this mindset change.