Aug. 31, 2011

Awesome Coach of the week: Brad Swanson

We honor Brad Swanson as Awesome Coach of the Week 35, 2011!

You've got to love Brad. He's one of those all-round Agile coaches that excel at both sides of the art. He's naturally good at talking to people and tear down culture barriers, so you might be forgiven for thinking he's coming from management. Then, as soon as the conversation gets technical, you realize that Brad is actually an alpha geek, just as comfortable learning the latest programming language as he is managing corporate politics. If there were a "two for the price of one" sale for Agile coaches, this guy's face would be on the ads.


Cool Under Pressure

Talking of two for the price of one, Brad has two perfectly complementary qualities: passion and coolness. On one side, he's the kind of person who will stay up late in the night to prepare the most effective retrospective for a troubled team, or learn basic Chinese so he can do a better job on a coaching gig in Asia. On the other side, even while taking thinks so dearly, he always manages to stay cool and relaxed. A lesson we learned from Brad: you can be profoundly passionate and laid-back at the same time. This is probably why he can introduce change without causing conflict.

Huge Bag of Tricks

Nobody knows everything, but Brad Swanson looks like getting close. We remember one time when we were dealing with a group of executives who'd been fascinated by the latest buzzword. We felt that in their eagerness to change, they hadn't really understood the topic. We figured we'd have to study the topic and build training for them, so that they could make informed decisions.
Enter Brad. He "just happened to have a short speech ready about this", and he delivered it almost straight away. Once he was over, everybody felt like understanding the topic for the first time.
That was typical Brad. Whatever topic you throw at him, he seems to have a short speech ready, deliver it, then take a quick 10 Km run before going back home to the kids. Where the heck does this guy find the energy?
Bottom line: if you happen to need an Agile coach who has a solid technical background and can also talk to managers, and run a marathon to boot—Brad Swanson is your man.

Awesome Coach of the Week

This is why we think Brad Swanson is an Awesome Coach. If you can add an awesome experience with Brad, please do so in the comments. We honour one Coach a week—suggestions welcome!


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