Agile Coaches have many Complementary Roles (Please refer to Lysa Adkins's Agile Coaching Competency Framework
Human brains are wired to hate change, coaches must find ways to inspire or motivate teams and individuals to try new things. Following are Seven Habits of a Successful Agile Coach which enable conversations that provoke thinking in individuals as well as in teams (Below 7 habits below are useful when coaching 1-1 or in the context of team coaching)
As a coach, having the right questions is more valuable than having the right answers. When people come up with their own solutions they’re more likely to follow through. A good question at the appropriate time can set change in motion for your clients by creating insight or inspiration.
Ask questions – in a curious way – that help people see that what they are doing may not be moving them toward their desired outcome. When you’re learning coach skills, you can be distracted by needing to “get it right.” Rather than following a script, a coach navigates the conversation via curiosity.
As with any communication, the more you focus on the audience the more confident and effective you will be. It takes the spotlight off you and what you’re doing and shines it on the clients and their needs. Keeping your attention –and the client’s – on the desired outcome is the key to both their success and yours. Here are the types of questions you should be asking-
Definition (The) ability to ask questions that reveal the information needed for maximum benefit to the coaching relationship and the client
Asks questions that reflect active listening and an understanding of the client’s perspective
Asks questions that evoke discovery, insight, commitment, or action (e.g., those that challenge the client’s assumptions)
Asks open-ended questions that create greater clarity, possibility, or new learning
Ask questions that move the client towards what they desire, not questions that ask for the client to justify or look backward Video: https://vimeo.com/73959726
Dialogue is all about us, not about the person we’re talking with. Level II – Focus is on the other person, their words, tone, pace, feelings, and even what is not said. Level III – Goes way beyond words. Involves energy and intuition, all the senses.
Definition Give full attention to the words, nuances and the unspoken meaning of the client’s communication. The coach is more deeply aware of the client, his or her concerns and the source of the issue by listening beyond what the client is able to articulate. - International Association of Coaching
One of the key skills required for a Coach is Observing and Sharing Observations. The primary goal of coaching is to guide clients toward self-improvement through observation and guidance. A good coach must learn to observe and listen, keep your own biases in control, not jump to premature conclusions, and communicate well.
This naturally affects how you are aware of yourself, how you react to other people, and how others perceive you. Observe how the team works; challenge and question their assumptions and status quo, how practices are being effective/ineffective, hidden impediments, what’s blocking the team from achieving its goals, etc.
When you are working on helping your teams or trying out new practices and behaviors, you won’t have the time to stand separate from the situation and observe yourself. An Agile Coach in the Reflective Observer role will notice the interactions and reactions and, without judgment, provide you with a perspective you may not have noticed. Here is what a reflective observer (Agile coach) does-
Definition As a reflective observer, your Coach observes interactions between everyone within the organization, often opening up an external perspective they may not have noticed themselves before
Step 1: “Ask for Permission” – Just ask, “Can I share some feedback with you that I hope will be helpful?”
Step 2: “Current Behavior” – Be clear, concise and come armed with recent examples to illustrate what you’re talking about”
Step 3: “Effect of Behavior” – Go gently in sharing the effect that you see someone’s behavior has on you and other people and how it can impact their future
Step 4: “Desired Behavior” – State the behavior you would like to see more of. The more specific you are, the better. Simply put, prepare a feedback sandwich.
Since you already know the ingredients, this is how it should look like.
Definition The goal of giving someone feedback is to help that person/team with personal growth. It needs to be valuable and relevant to them. Ideally, uncovering blind spots which that person didn’t see before. It’s about them. Not you.
Build out that picture of what their desired future state looks like. The more visual and emotional this becomes, the easier it is to start taking steps to make it happen. From this expansive place, it is easier to break down limiting beliefs and challenge assumptions. Don’t be afraid to challenge people and teams. Challenge their limiting beliefs, their excuses, and their assumptions. Challenging long-standing assumptions may appear difficult. But it need not be if you follow a few simple steps-
Want more for them than they want for themselves. Help them get past their comfort zone to find their growing edge. Coaches:
Lysa Adkins – Coaching Agile Teams Book
Sue Johnston – ICP-ACC Course Material
IAC Coaching Masteries
|Scrum Master (PSM) Training||Leading SAFe® 5.1 Training with SAFe® Agilist Certification||Implementing SAFe® 5.1 Training with SPC Certification|
|Product Owner (PSPO) Training||Certified Agile Coaching (ICP-ACC) Training||Agility in the Enterprise (ICP-ENT) Training|
|Professional Scrum with Kanban™ (PSK) Training||Advanced Scrum Master (PSM-II) Training||SAFe® Lean Portfolio Management (LPM) Training|
|Agile Fundamentals Bootcamp (ICP) Training||Advanced Product Owner (PSPO-A) Training||SAFe® Agile Product Management (APM) Training|