· thoughtworks-university

ThoughtWorks University: Balancing helping and learning

6 months after my first attempt to train one of the ThoughtWorks University batches was cut short I’m back in Bangalore again and spent the first few days of this week pairing with the grads.

It’s been interesting for me trying to balance how much I help and suggest ideas while still allowing them to learn at the same time.

At the moment I think I’m leaning too far towards helping and not realising until later on that my colleague hadn’t quite understood why I’d suggested what I did and therefore hadn’t learnt anything from my suggestion.

In one case we came across a similar problem later on in the day and I realised my colleague hadn’t understood exactly what I meant before.

This time I let them run with it for a bit until they came to the realisation that their approach probably wasn’t going to work.

They were then able to come to the solution that I’d been thinking about originally by themselves which I think is much more valuable than me telling them it up front.

A couple of times I’ve made the mistake of saying ‘yeh I know’ when they’ve pointed out that their approach isn’t going to work but hopefully I’m getting better at being less smug and keeping my mouth shut!

The other interesting thing about letting them run with it for a bit even when I think I know better is that there have been occasions where I was wrong and we ended up with a better solution through their exploration.

We’ve got a few weeks until the next ThoughtWorks University starts but hopefully then I’ll get even more chances to find the right balance between these two things.

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