Coaching Company Guide

Do you have free space for at least a two-person team to work? Do you have developers passionate about helping newcomers and working on Open Source?

You might just have what it takes to be a coaching company.

When Summer of Code students undertake their scholarship for the summer, they need a place to work. While working from home is an option for some participants, having the exposure to a productive work environment and ready access to coaches can really make a difference between a life-changing or stressful Summer of Code experience.

Here’s where you (and your company) come in. Being a coaching company is not only super rewarding for your developers and team, it is also a great way to show your support for the Open Source and your local developer community.

Why should I be a Coaching Company?

There are tonnes of good reasons to be a coaching company; altruistic fulfillment, the good of the developer community, a more diverse Open Source contributor network, and much more. However, one of the best parts of being a Coaching Company is the huge amount of organic publicity your company garners.

Here are some selected blog posts from 2013 to help illustrate what it means to support a team:

Coaching Companies get a lot of love from the community. Tweets, blog posts, personal recommendations from participants, and mentions at conferences. The reach of where you can take your support is really only limited by your imagination.

Being a Coaching Company has a very direct effect on the lives and projects of participants, and makes your company an extremely attractive one to potential hires, conference organisers, tech bloggers, journalists and media outlets.

What makes a good Coaching Company?

Any company with a respectful and inclusive culture, desk space, good internet, and a team of developers could make a good coaching company. That really is it. Great examples for Coaching Companies include Absolventa and Travis CI (2013), 6Wunderkinder (2014), and SoundCloud (2013, 2014).

Some Coaching Companies have supported participants who already work for their company. Companies who want to host a team of their own employees should make sure they state this in their application, so we know you have a specific team you would like to support.

You might choose to come up with a plan for when participants work with you, or may have them come and go like normal employees in a work day. You could even be a co-working space who wants to host a team, and has gathered a roster of coaches to help.

We expect coaching companies to host teams in a safe and productive work environment, but other than that, there is no “one size fits all” coaching company. The one thing they all have in common is the inherent value they see in supporting a team in and of itself.

What does a Coaching Company do?

In essence, you give away a piece of space in your office for your team to work in and make sure that team have access to developers to coach them. All of the extras are up to you. You might want your team to present their work at weekly team meetings so you can stay up-to-date on their progress, or support them to attend conferences and meetups.

What Coaching Companies don't do

  • Coaching companies do not provide financial assistance to teams, nor should they use remuneration as an incentive to attract a team.
  • Coaching companies don’t get teams to work on their own non-Open Source product.
  • Coaching companies can’t demand their teams be chosen.

Teams who don’t get a sponsored seat but still want to participate and work on their project are called volunteer teams.

So what if you don’t have a team you want to support? If you want to offer your company to potential participants, drop us a line or register your company by emailing us:

Where are Coaching Companies located?

Planet Earth.

Rails Girls Summer of Code is an international initiative, and our participants work on their projects all over the world.

We highly encourage companies from all over the world to get involved. We are aiming at having participants from a greater variety of countries in 2015, so regardless of your coordinates on planet Earth, there is probably a team that could do with your support.

How to become a Coaching Company

1) Look for a team in your city; this might require reaching out to your local Rails Girls chapter and to development communities such as your local Ruby groups to let them know that you’re willing to host a team.
2) Also send an email to the Rails Girls Summer of Code community mailing list, offering your space and coaches. You can spread the word by mentioning us on Twitter (@RailsGirlsSoC); we’ll retweet and help you connect to students.
3) Register yourself and your coaches here: so that students applying can find you.

I have more questions!

If we didn’t cover your question here, then drop us a line! We’d be happy to talk about what you have to offer as a coaching company.