Should I Hire an IT Architect Career Coach?

Posted by on Oct 19, 2009 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Should I Hire an IT Architect Career Coach?

There are lots of reasons why a junior or new enterprise architect should hire a mentor/coach. There are a number of skills that can only be really developed under the focused leadership of someone who has “been through the mill”. For instance do you understand the decisions and constraints in the wider scheme of things when you analyze the whole of the solution? This skill includes the ability to look at problems in an abstract way. This is called systems thinking. Few understand the organizational politics of the organization you are working in. Do you currently understand how those under-currents influence you and the outcomes you are trying to produce?

Can you clearly communicate without stepping on too many toes and still get your point across? You possibly need improvement in this area – most people do. Do you understand that people aspects and dynamics in human factors which influence the business? It’s called human relations and includes being pragmatic as well as understanding team plus personal dynamics. Have you had any training in strategic thinking and understanding how decisions are made on the constraints and alignments that affect the overall business of the company?

Not to mention leadership which basically means how to influence others to accomplish tasks and follow your guidance. If you are lacking in these skill areas then a good enterprise architecture mentor/coach can help you develop the skill sets needed so that you can effectively use these “soft skills”. And don’t dismiss these soft skills as being secondary to your role as an IT architect. After all if you don’t understand the business, the people who work in it, and the people who they work for (that is the customers) then you really have no way of designing a useful and profit driven IT architecture.

One of the reasons why you should hire a coach is so that you can take training and skills development in the “soft skills” areas at the right time in your journey from beginner to accomplished IT architect. A good enterprise architecture mentor/coach understands the importance of these skills and will enable you to plan (and give feedback on) your skill development as your career progresses. Soft skill development alone is probably one of the biggest reasons to hire a coach, because IT people are generally well known for their non-people skills. An effective enterprise architect is also a very strong influencer right from board level to the fellow who is cutting code. IT architect coaching is the fastest way for you, as an IT professional, to become an excellent people influencer.

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