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Coyote Teaching: A New (Old) Take on the Art of Mentorship


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Coyote Teaching takes from the ideas of Tribal Cultures and focuses on the essential elements needed to make long lasting memories and connections to real skills transfer. In this presentations Harrison Lovell and Michael Larsen discuss the steps and approaches used in their mentoring relationship, and what they learned along the way.

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Coyote Teaching: A New (Old) Take on the Art of Mentorship

  1. 1. Coyote Teaching: A New (Old?) Take on the Art of Mentorship Harrison Lovell - @lovellingit Michael Larsen - @mkltesthead
  2. 2. Michael Larsen Senior Quality Assurance Engineer, Socialtext Michael Larsen is Senior Tester located in San Francisco, California. Over the past seventeen years, he has been involved in software testing for products ranging from network routers and switches, virtual machines, capacitance touch devices, video games and distributed database applications that service the legal and entertainment industries. Michael writes the TESTHEAD blog and can be found on Twitter at @mkltesthead. Harrison C. Lovell Associate Engineer, QA, Virtusa Harrison C. Lovell is an Associate Engineer at Virtusa’s Albany office. He is a proud alumnus from Per Scholas’ ‘IT-Ready Training’ and STeP (Software Testing education Program) courses. For the past year, he has thrown himself into various environments dealing with testing, networking and business practices with a passion for obtaining information and experience.
  3. 3. Intro • Skills Transfer/ Simplifying the process • Fastest way to proficiency • Their way, their experiences • Different contexts. Metaphors and Analogies • Lost in translation
  4. 4. RUAPA • Read, Understand, Apply, Persist, Achieve • Teach people to teach themselves • Primitive: hunt, fish, knots • Un-evolved people. • We aren’t smarter. • Tech veneer. • Double Edge sword • Tribal skills
  5. 5. What is Coyote Teaching? • Tom Brown, Jr and Jon Young • No direct answers, ans. w/ questions, dig deeper, embed and connect lessons • Inspires to independency • Adapt to teaching style
  6. 6. Coyote Teaching: Extended • Limited habitat. Man shapes their environment. Adapting is key • World of extremes, unlike other creatures, can settle anywhere • Go beyond “learn and you’ll be okay”
  7. 7. Becoming a Coyote • State the obvious • Trickster myths. Pair hunting. Small size • Observed behavior = Core teaching approach – Unique skills – Engagement • Passing on traditions
  8. 8. Environmental Saturation • Allow people to utilize the environment they are in • Start where you are, use what you have, build what you need • Authentic problems
  9. 9. Creating a Need • Snowboarding • Balance point • Analogy that I would understand • Five gallon water bottle
  10. 10. Art of Questioning • Focus on giving the answer to a question • Comprehending what we are presenting • Answer to make us happy • Socratic Method – answering questions with more questions
  11. 11. Trickster/ Transformer • Transforming the situation • Calvin and Hobbes • a curve ball
  12. 12. Story-Telling Culture • Tribal societies • Analogies are frequently used • Simple analogies vs full story-telling
  13. 13. Edge Experiences • What makes a story more exciting? • Different type of experiences • Strong emphasis on stretching rather than freaking someone out • Edge case examples
  14. 14. Edge Case • Stepping out of comfort zone • Line between growing and freaking out • Push effectively without pushing you off the edge
  15. 15. Constraints and Taboos • Idea of Taboo • Strong word • Learning with constraints • Children, Tech, and Boarders • Interchangeable
  16. 16. Summary • This stuff is HARD • Principles can be applied on a continuum • Level of relationship and commitment informs the level of mentoring • Limitless potential, if both are willing to invest • When one is raised by a Coyote, one becomes a Coyote.