This post is part of a series where we discuss the evolution of our learning and development program at Commit. In this post we talk with Commit Engineer Thiago Araujo, about his experiences so far with our coaching pilot program.
To start off with, what were your initial expectations of coaching?
I was really interested—I thought it would be good for me. I’ve always been interested in coaching, but never had the opportunity or the time to do it.
Were there any areas in particular you wanted to focus on?
In the past I’ve been a bit negative, a bit pessimistic. I thought it would be a good opportunity to develop more consistency, set some goals for the future, and be a little less stressed about things. Also: to develop myself more as a leader, to become better at talking to customers and grow in other areas related to business—not just software engineering.
Did you have specific goals in mind, or did the coaching process help you consider what what areas you want to grow in?
I knew what I wanted to do. I have a podcast that I run with my wife, called Hexdevs. It’s an interesting project of ours. I actually have a couple side projects that I’m always looking to grow. One of my goals was to be more consistent doing the podcast and getting better at talking to people, because I used to be quite shy. So that’s always been an area that I needed to grow in—to get comfortable randomly talking to people and interviewing them. Those are the areas that I wanted to grow in with the help of a coach.
What do you mean when you say you wanted to become more consistent?
I’ve always tried to be productive. I’ve been into life hacking and that kind of stuff, but it was never easy for me to produce content or consistently put things out, because I’ve always been a perfectionist. I’m very self-critical. I would get anxious about these things: I’d write a blog post, put a podcast episode out—even coding and sharing the stuff I’m working on. There’s always been resistance there, and I think it’s blocked my progress on things that I needed and wanted to do.
So becoming more consistent is not so much about productivity, but more about how can I remove the resistance and do the things I want to do.
What was your first experience with the coaching program like?
I started with four or five short meetings with different coaches in the first two weeks, and ultimately chose two coaches that I connected well with. One is focused on business topics, the other on productivity-related issues.
How have they helped you with the goals you mentioned?
Both have been really helpful. In fact, I feel like I’ve made a major breakthrough recently. It’s really helped me consider my purpose in life, by thinking about what I value most, the things I want to accomplish and the people I want to help. After one very powerful session in particular, I felt an overflowing sense of purpose and freedom.
That’s the interesting thing about coaching: it helps you unblock yourself. Sometimes I get in my own way.I find already that I’m much more productive and more open to things, and I don’t worry so much about the outcome. Before, I was always overplanning and overthinking things, so I wouldn’t be able to do as much as I wanted to do. But now, it’s much easier. It just kind of flows. I don’t have that anxiety anymore. I’m still working on some things, but there’s less resistance. I feel much more motivated and productive and confident in myself, which is pretty amazing.
How often do you meet with your coaches these days?
Every two weeks. I come with something I want to talk about, some area of my life I want to work on. The coaches don’t tell me what to do, they offer suggestions and ask me questions, and those questions open new pathways in my mind. Questions like Why do you want to work on this?Why do you think that’s important?What’s blocking you? And then, from those questions, my perspectives change. Instead of being judgemental or trying to force myself to do something, it changes my mindset to be more curious and see the possibilities, instead of how it’s going to fail or how it might not work.
Where do you see the coaching taking you over the next six months or so?
I’m finding that it not only helps with my work and my side projects, but also with my personal life, like the way I interact with my wife or friends, or in other areas. I used to be quite stressed, now I’m much more open to try new things.
I started meditating and doing other activities that I thought I would never do, because I was always procrastinating. Now there’s no resistance—I feel that I’m doing so much more. I can wake up early and I feel productive. I feel like I’m in a flow state much more often. Whatever I want to do, it’s going to be easier for me to just do it. In the next six months I think it will help me grow the podcast and will help me experience more growth in my personal life.
Coaching has been a great experience for me. I really recommend that everyone do it, because it can help a lot.
Thiago Araujo is a Senior Software Engineer who believes firmly in the principle that technology is all about helping people. For over a decade he has practiced empathy and open collaboration to solve human problems with code.
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