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The Coaching Catalyst: A Series on Empowering the 21st-Century Business Analyst

Updated: Mar 12


The sweeping wave of digital transformation has ceaselessly stirred traditional business models, leading to a substantial evolution of the business analyst's role over the past four decades.

Once perceived merely as note-takers and process documenters, business analysts have morphed into strategic contributors, decision-makers, and capability builders. This significant transformation in the business analysis profession is nothing short of groundbreaking. It necessitates an adaptive shift in leadership style — one that is inclusive, accommodating the diverse insight and innovation this new era demands.

The Leap to Collaborative Leadership

As I highlighted during my presentation at the IIBA SA's BA Summit in 2023 themed "The Collaboration Conundrum", I strongly believe that our next big leap as business analysts are to conquer, with vigor, the role of collaborative leaders.

Presentation slide showing the different roles of a business analyst
The Business Analyst Role Today

Being a collaborative leader in the realm of business analysis is not merely about marshaling facts and figures; it's about fostering a culture of shared knowledge and collective wisdom. It means actively listening to team members, stakeholders, and customers to weave a mosaic of insights into actionable strategies. Collaborative leaders empower others by facilitating cross-disciplinary teamwork and encouraging open communication, which helps in breaking down silos and developing solutions that are not only robust but also holistically informed.

Anyone familiar with leadership knows it's not always a smooth path forward. Leaders, including business analysts, often fall into what we refer to as 'destructive cycles.' While these cycles might seem daunting, a coaching mindset can provide the tools to navigate these tricky terrains.

The Analyst as Coach for Strategic Evolution

This transition from analysis and leadership to coaching isn't an abrupt shift but rather an integrated approach, an evolution of the business analyst role that better equips them to tackle these common obstacles confidently and effectively.

In his acclaimed book, "The Coaching Habit", Michael Bungay Stanier identifies three significant, yet destructive, cycles that occur in the workspaces; dubbed the Bind, the Grind, and the Resigned.

As we go through them, I do not doubt that you will be able to relate.

The Bind: Creating Overdependence

As BAs, our job requires us to be versed in a vast array of information. Hence, it's not surprising that we often become a quick-fix resource for others in need of clarification. While lending a helping hand is commendable, it often leads to a spiraling cycle of over-dependence - as you help more, you're sought after more, thus investing more time in assistance.

One person helping another on a computer

The Grind: Getting Overwhelmed

The BA’s role often pulls them into various directions—meeting schedules, overflowing backlogs, and e-mail influx are just some of the burdens they bear. This constant shifting focus can lead to overwhelming feelings, forming another destructive cycle.

Woman sitting in front of computer looking overwhelmed

The Resigned: Becoming Disconnected

A catalytic result of cycles of over-dependence and overwhelm is the disconnection from work that truly matters – both for the organization and our personal fulfillment. We find ourselves distanced from impactful, meaningful work that fuels our passion and drive.

As BAs, using a coaching approach to tackle these vicious cycles not only benefits us but empowers others around us. It encourages individuals to break out of their comfort zones, promoting growth and ownership.

Man sitting on windowsill looking out over the ocean

Future Series: Coaching Techniques for Analysts

In this forthcoming series of articles, we will explore in depth how business analysts can adopt and integrate proven coaching techniques to overcome the "Bind, Grind, and Resigned" cycles, create sustainable solutions, and foster empowerment in their teams.

Join us on this exciting journey over the next posts, as we delve into the world of coaching for business analysts. Stay tuned!

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