As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I want to recognize people who have had an impact on me and who may provide examples and inspiration for you. Today, I listened (again) to a great podcast with Don Gray and Ryan Ripley on coaching, systems thinking and why you always want to expand your coaching toolkit. It reminded me of how much I appreciate Don Gray.

I first met Don at the 2009 Retrospective Facilitators Gathering in the mountains of Boulder, Colorado. We were in several sessions together and I first appreciated his questions and insights on many topics. I also appreciated his rapid and quirky wit.

I bumped into Don in several conferences after that and would frequently enjoy sharing puzzles and insights with him. What I appreciated about these conversations the most is the way Don could probe assumptions and gently challenge them.

I’ve also had the opportunity to collaborate with Don on a few small projects. In February 2015, I convinced he and Esther Derby to come teach their Coaching Beyond the Teams course in Orlando, Florida. In preparing for that event, I came to understand how Don collaborates and how he honors his commitments to his collaboration partners. I also discovered he and Esther had five days worth of material for their 2-day course! Years of adding to his own toolbox showed he had much to share. I look forward to taking the class sometime in the future to see what else I may learn from Don and Esther.

This year, Don asked me to join him on the Agile2016 Leadership track as a reviewer. I had been a reviewer on other tracks and conferences in the past, but never the Leadership track. It was the most fun I have ever had as a conference reviewer and the most collaborative review team I’ve ever experienced. Again, that was due to Don’s example of collaborative leadership with his co-chair, Cheryl Hammond.

It wasn’t until recently that I discovered Don’s blog. There is a tremendous depth to this blog and I look forward to reading more.   But it’s not just about Don’s work. He is quick to share the work of others through his blog, podcasts, talks, and workshops. He leaves many trail markers for those who want to deepen their systems thinking and organizational coaching.

So I want to say “thanks Don” for your insights, your wit, modeling great collaborative leadership in the agile community, your wit (yes, I repeated that intentionally), your critical thinking and how you share the knowledge of others as well as your own. I now need to go purchase more of the many books you recommend. I expect Amazon thanks you as well.