Here, Clickatell agile coach, Justin Kotze, guides you through implementing coaching circles within your company to streamline productivity and reenergize your workforce.

The basics: What’s a coaching circle?

Quite simply, a coaching circle is a group of people who get together to explore ideas and topics for a set period of time and frequency.

Having run these circles for the past few years at Clickatell, we’ve found that they help to complement each team member’s abilities and encourage collaborations. They’re a great way for us to brainstorm ways to enhance our SMS Gateway and messaging solutions. As a respected bulk SMS sender, we’re always working hard to improve.

Our teams meet as frequently as needed to explore new ideas on delivering the best value to clients. These circles have enabled us to, for example, deliver many of our SMS API libraries, which you can view on Github. They also sparked some ideas around two-way authentication and multi-factor authentication.

If you’re ready to set up coaching circles in your organization, it’s simple to get started.

What you need to set up a coaching circle

1. Meeting spot

This should be the first thing you establish so that meetings can always commence as planned. We’ve found that it’s important for your group to have a home, be it the office rec area, a boardroom or even someone’s home. Just make sure it’s a spot that will always be available at meeting times.

2. Topics or themes

At your first meeting, determine the topics you’d like to cover over the coming weeks and months. Be sure to schedule them. If it’s easier, divide them into themes.

Some of our topics:

  • Weekly coding katas for our developers.
  • Release planning: product managers meet for a set time with the purpose of exploring new release planning techniques. If anyone is reading books or learning material about the subject matter, their discoveries can be shared at these meetings.
  • 101 business ideas: our developers meet, discuss and prototype some of the ideas in Clickatell’s 101 Business Uses for SMS guide. They often make some of the code available on Github.

3. Meeting time and frequency

Because it can be tricky to ensure members commit to all meeting slots, we recommend that a coaching circle run for no longer than one quarter. We usually meet once a week for 12 weeks to explore the topics we’ve identified. People may join for a quarter, take a quarter off, and then join once again. It also depends on each individual’s interest, enthusiasm and energy levels.

4. Communication tools

Agree on a communication medium that everyone’s happy with. We use SMS notifications through our REST API to remind the group of the meeting times and to share photos. We use email to send notes from the sessions.

5. Volunteers

For coaching circles to work productively, participation must be on an opt-in basis. This also ensures that everyone taking part actually wants to be there, and this contributes to success. We welcome people from all roles in the company.

Coaching circles are not just for offices

Coaching circles are not only great for businesses – they can also be beneficial to communities in which people are interested in expanding their knowledge and learning more from others.

Find more helpful developer resources on our website, or visit our page on GitHub for readymade SMS scripts and libraries.

Platform

Clickatell Platform is a bulk SMS system that enables you to send messages securely, reliably and instantly, sparking a dynamic dialogue between business and customer.

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