A New Person after a 9-week Agile Coaching Experience

I’ve been on a 9-week Agile Coaching course, with the ACLab run by Jakub Jurkiewicz. If you’re keen to level up in Agile and learn tools and techniques to better yourself, your teams and your organisations — this is the place for you. The course setup allows you to apply the learnings as you go and receive feedback. The next Cohort begins in July, I couldn’t recommend it more.

Here’s my final reflection on the course. It’s been one of the most incredible learning opportunities. Our cohort is the Game Changers. I worked with 3 great Agile minds Rob Read Taimoor Fayyaz @ Edwin Wolfs and we had an absolute blast.

What is the one thing that you believe that every agile coach should know?

  • Agile is about people, it’s a mindset, it’s a way of being
  • Awareness is number one
  • Listening with the intent to understand is number two
  • Our North Star is to not be needed. We are here to be fully present and totally invisible

What are the things that you have already tried?

Giving direct Radical Candid feedback that cared personally and challenged directly. It felt empowering and uncomfortable, however, I believe my relationships deepened and I’ve seen changes in interactions with the team as a result of the feedback. I was out of my comfort zone in both situations as I live in the ruinous empathy quadrant. This is where we choose to withhold or sugar-coat feedback to protect others. Doing this damages our people more as we’re taking away the opportunity for them to learn. Feedback is a source of improvement, we must use it as a tool to help others. How we deliver that feedback is critical. So care personally and challenge directly, your teams and people will appreciate feedback they can use to improve.

radicalcandor.com

Powerful questions, silence And What Else — Fantastic Coaching tools to help others find solutions to their challenges. A key learning is that I don’t need to have all the answers, in fact, that can be detrimental as it makes us lead the conversation. My purpose is to help people work through their thoughts using a variety of techniques.

Powerful questions are open-ended questions to mediate thinking. I’ve used these questions to help people find their next step with a challenge. I’ve received feedback that a colleague enjoys our conversations as it makes her think about options she hadn’t thought of. Examples of powerful questions include:

  • What options could we take?
  • What do we know now?
  • Who could help with that?
  • What is important about that?

What are the things you learned about yourself?

About myself, I’ve learnt plenty. The major was uncovering and clarifying my purpose. I am here to create space for people to enjoy their work, do great things and help organisations create people-focused cultures to collectively achieve great things.

There is no greater power than being aware and mindful. Once you’re aware of yourself, the people you’re working with, the teams and organisations you’re part of, we can guide change. We can’t do this without being aware. Awareness changes a reaction to a response. A response is a conscious choice motivated by an intended outcome. We have little control over a reaction which can often end negatively. So be aware and move into the space of response.

What do you want to keep doing?

I want to continue developing my toolbox of techniques and skills in Coaching and Facilitation.

I would like to use the Mirroring technique more. The few times I’ve used it, it’s proven to be incredibly powerful.

I would like to find a way to create Radical Candid Cultures and build this into the way we communicate in our teams.

As I kick-off new teams, I will focus on creating a foundation of psychological safety.

What were the highlights of the course?

  1. I have levelled up in Coaching, Facilitation and Teaching. I enjoy Coaching sessions far more now as I can see cogs turning in these conversations.
  2. Powerful Questions — this technique has changed many of my conversations. I am no longer afraid of what may come up in a conversation as I am now aware that I do not need to have all the answers. I am there to guide the person to the answer or their next step.
  3. Agile Coaches & Scrum Masters exist to create and hold space. In meetings, Scrum events, conversations, the less you do the better. Our role is to create a space for teams to collaborate to overcome challenges and generate ideas. Anytime we do something, we’re taking an opportunity away from the team to figure things out for themselves. The more we’re involved, they will likely blame us for failures or praise us for successes. We must create space for them to take responsibility and ownership of their work.
  4. The Power of Choice. Commitment and responsibility increase when people are empowered to choose.
  5. Research has proven that psychological safety is a core foundation for high-performing teams. This requires the team to:
  • trust each other
  • share and challenge ideas
  • feel safe to speak without judgement
  • be empowered to take risks to innovate and problem solve

This safety must exist. It creates a space for each individual to put their best selves forward. Without this psychological safety, people can be afraid to:

  • share or challenge an idea for fear of judgement
  • take risks to innovate for fear of failure

remove these blockers by building this safe environment and watch the magic unfold.

How can you awaken possibility in other people?
Passion is key. If we are passionate about what we do, we have the power to awaken possibility. Our journeys involve helping others discover their passions by creating space for them to be great.

I’m excited to continue using the tools and techniques I’ve learnt with Jakub and the Game Changer Cohort. It’s been a career-changing experience. I am a new person today with a much clearer purpose!

The funniest thing about the Agile Coaching Course, is that it barely touches on Agile. It’s all about people. Let me rephrase, it’s 100% about Agile…