Viewing entries tagged
continuous learning

The first rule of agile coaching…BE coachable!

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The first rule of agile coaching…BE coachable!

I have some coaching acquaintances who’ve joined a relatively large firm. They’re tasked with being the internal agile coaches and leading the organization’s agile transformation.

Several times members of the organization’s leadership team have reached out to me to come in and discuss various aspects of high-performance agility. Topics like culture, scaling, and leadership agility was of heavy interest. I think they were simply looking to get an outside, experienced coach to come in and provide insights. Not undermine the internal coaches.

But each time the internal coaching team squashed the inquiry and insisted that they do the session. In fact, in other cases of invitation, they wanted to go over my “talking points” to ensure that I wouldn’t say something that differed with their guidance or perspective. Given that level of scrutiny, I respectfully withdrew any interest.

This is an actual example. But I’ve seen and heard it repeated many times in my own agile journey.

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Assessments: A Scary Investment

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Assessments: A Scary Investment

Quite a few years ago, while I was working at iContact, a fellow agile coach approached me with a free offer.

It seemed that he had developed an agile maturity assessment (framework, tool, approach, strategy, etc.) and wanted to try it out somewhere. I’d known him for quite some time and he had some solid agile coaching experience under his belt.

I politely told him “thank you” and that I would “think about it” and quickly closed down the discussion. To be honest, I was initially close-minded to the idea. Here I was an internal technical leader and agile coach in my company. And, to be honest, we were kicking-ass when it came to agile performance and delivery.

But the more I thought about it, the more I started to convince myself that it would be a good idea. Regardless of our performance, we could always get better…couldn’t we?

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Sharpening the Saw in 2017

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Sharpening the Saw in 2017

Every year I try to spend time on my own training. I usually start thinking about two things the year before:

  1. What are some knowledge gaps that I have that I’d like to fill, and
  2. What are upcoming trends that will cause me to become obsolete if I don’t get ahead of them?

Then I review the available courses and I’ll try to come up with 2-3 things that I’ll focus on for improvement.

Last year I posted my first "Sharpening the Saw" post in June. That inspired me to do it again for 2017, but closer to the beginning of the year. You'll probably see this become an annual post to remind me (and perhaps you) to plot a journey of continuous learning.

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I am a Professional Agile Coach

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I am a Professional Agile Coach

I read an article on LinkedIn by Ewan O'Leary that really, really resonated with me.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/i-am-professional-agile-coach-ewan-o-leary

I fell in love with his list. Mostly because it shined a light on my own journey and the work I need to do each and every day to become a better, more present, and more connected coach.

#5 is an area where I often fall down in my journey. I sometimes use the term "that's not Agile" in my coaching, passing judgment and elevating agile above everything else. I need to stop that. I also continuously check on #8 as I engage so many people and contexts as a leading agile coach.

Anyway, without further adieu, here's the list:

  1. I believe in the innate value and potential of all human beings. 
  2. I believe that Agile is a mindset that orients me towards human excellence.
  3. I believe that my own transformation is the path to transforming others, transforming organizations and transforming the world.
  4. I believe that I should do no harm, and wherever possible, improve psychological safety.
  5. I believe I should avoid judgement of others who I may feel are operating from a different developmental level.
  6. I embrace my own authenticity and share it in connection with others except where my authenticity may create unsafe conditions for them.
  7. I believe that I am oriented towards using my capability for good in the world.
  8. I practice humility and compassion, with a focus on kindness, recognizing my own shadow as it shows up in the work I do with others. 
  9. I honor and respect each individual as the author of their own journey, free from manipulation or coercion. 
  10. When I fail to adhere to these principles, I acknowledge my failure and its impact on others and harness it for my own development.

I am a Professional Agile Coach

I want to strongly encourage you to read Ewan's post and the comments it's received. There are great insights there as well.

And even though I'm continuously working on the list in my coaching and personal journey, I do believe:  I am a Professional Agile Coach.

Stay agile my friends!

Bob.

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Is It Safe?

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Is It Safe?

There is an old, old movie called the Marathon Man with Dustin Hoffman. In it, there is a compelling scene where the evil doer continues to ask Hoffman – “Is it safe?” while giving him a free dental checkup.

You can watch the scene here, if you’re up to it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzw1_2b-I7A

There seems to be several things that are incredibly difficult for many folks to do.

You see it in general, but it’s particularly interesting in agile contexts. Agile Teams seem to rarely want to:

  • Ask for help
  • Or say, I don’t know

I’m wondering why?

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Sharpening the Saw

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Sharpening the Saw

Every year I try to spend time on my own training. I usually start thinking about two things the year before:

  1. What are some knowledge gaps that I have that I’d like to fill, and
  2. What are upcoming trends that will cause me to become obsolete if I don’t get ahead of them?

Then I review the available courses and I’ll try to come up with 2-3 things that I’ll focus on for improvement.

This year, I’ve planned on the following:

  • Training from the Back of the Room, by Sharon Bowman
  • The Nexus framework for scaling Scrum, by Ken Schwaber and Scrum.org, in July
  • And Leadership Agility 360 workshop, by Bill joiner, in November

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