Your dedicated Agile coach
Agile Coaching To Transform Your Team
Individuals or teams who want an expert Agile coach to guide them to peak performance. We’ve provided Agile consulting services to all kinds of organisations big, small, old and new. One thing remains true with all our consultancy projects – clients wanting to create Agility At Work.
If you or your team requires help accelerating learning, a sounding board, or even new perspectives – one of our expert Agile coaches can coach you with a tailored Agile coaching programme.
If you are looking to deepen your understanding of Agile, want a helping hand, a sounding board, or just a fresh perspective on your work.
At Agile Monster, we offer Agile coaching for our clients, whether on a one-to-one basis, or at a group level, we can tailor our coaching programmes to suit your individual needs.
Together we can deepen your understanding, raise the standards, and help you achieve more than you thought with Agile coaching.
An Agile Coach assuming the Observer stance will attend sessions, participate in discussions, notice interactions, reactions, atmosphere, expressed or underlying moods, opinions, attitudes and provide their perspective and analysis on what they have noticed or use them contextually when working with an individual or a group.
A coach stepping in the Facilitator role will use their skills in meeting conceptualising, structuring, facilitation & moderation, conflict resolution & navigation scenarios, group dynamics assessment, workshops.
The Adviser stance is usually assumed when teams or individuals would like to get information on a specific topic, scenario, problem or question. In this context the Agile Coach will give answers, suggest options, share insights and evaluate or reference their experiences.
The mentoring stance is usually applied by the Agile Coach when deeper understanding of a common topic is needed, or underlying principles need to be clarified.
Sometimes, the Agile Coach notices a knowledge gap or establishes that reinforcing known principles and practices is needed. In those scenarios the Agile Coach assumes the Trainer stance.
This, along with the Observer stance are the most prevalent modes in which the Agile Coach functions. Coaches operate under the assumption that the person they are helping has the knowledge and ability to solve their own problems. The focus is on unlocking this knowledge, promoting self-organisation and growth.
This stance is usually demonstrated when clarification on frameworks, approaches and practical questions, related to Agile adoption & usage arise.
As the Agile Coach gathers information, participates in sessions and observes interactions they inevitably draw conclusions about strong points and areas of improvement both on organisational, team and individual level.
The observer attempts to capture the essence of experiences without passing judgement. Groups and individuals don’t necessarily adopt or act on observations, as the decision is down to them based on what they deem appropriate. Observation doesn’t mean criticism. It’s a dominant stance that forms a large part of the Agile coach’s work, and they use it in conjunction with various other stances. Understanding this distinction enables professionals to consider observations without perceiving them to be criticisms or negative judgements. Likewise, coaches can’t use it to present criticisms as observations.
Coaches assume the observer stance in multiple situations, including meetings, one-on-one conversations, reviews, feedback sessions and discussions. This includes both group settings and when interacting with individuals. Agile coaches also add value by observing Scrum events, like Daily Scrums, Backlog discussions and Sprint Planning. When observing, Agile coaches apply skills like active listening, unbiased analyses and attention to detail. They may also have a checklist of items they’re looking out for. Observation ultimately enables the coach to identify areas of improvement by offering an outside perspective, leading to improvements in efficiency and effectiveness.
The facilitator helps to ensure Scrum teams can cooperate effectively to achieve common goals, such as finding solutions or implementing improvements. For example, if one team depends on another but one lacks the proper knowledge to move forward, the facilitator can coordinate meetings and events to bring both to the same level of understanding. Facilitation gives more purpose and direction to sessions. The facilitator may seek to drive desirable outcomes or use their expertise to figure out better ways of doing things, making Scrum events more effective and efficient.
If team members arrive at a conflict and can’t decide how to move forward on a particular matter, the facilitator will help them reach a mutually beneficial decision. They act as moderators and use their facilitation expertise to help teams reach agreements. Agile coaches step into facilitator roles during activities like Sprint planning, retrospectives, conflict resolution, meeting arrangement and time management, to name a few. Whilst in this stance, the coach also seeks to instill facilitation mindsets, which involves taking all relevant opinions into account, minimising conflict and brainstorming to reach decisions that groups are happy with.
Agile Coaches don’t simply make statements, but justify their statements with in-depth reasoning and their motivations to bring teams to greater levels of understanding. This minimises conflict and confusion, and helps instil effective mindsets, because team members can understand how the coach forms opinions and ideas. The Advisor may offer various ways of looking at a problem, which provokes the ideation of different solutions. It’s important for the Coach to frame advice as a selection of choices, as more choice and flexibility leads to more effective implementations. This allows teams to apply knowledge in creative ways that work for them.
This helps them not only improve and fix specific areas and issues, but apply the knowledge in a variety of contexts, further improving their mindsets and skills. To be an effective advisor, the Agile Coach applies teaching and mentoring skills, and relies on their expert knowledge to elevate understanding. Offering advice can also be a two-way process, as Agile Coaches must listen to team members and encourage open discussion. This allows them to identify misunderstandings and offer specific advice as well as more general advice towards the Scrum process.
It’s a transfer of information that occurs on a one-on-one basis, with one person being the mentor and the other being the mentee. The Agile Coach is most commonly the Mentor, but not always. Whoever is capable of imparting valuable knowledge can be the mentor. The Coach typically assumes the position when clarifying principles and explaining topics in more detail. There are various ways to conduct mentoring, such as through presentations, conversations, storytelling, advice, anecdotes and by describing specific examples and hypothetical scenarios. The coach may also organise workshops where they can show how things work, and dissect the Scrum framework.
The Mentor Stance also involves elements of life and career coaching, helping professionals reach personal and career goals in the context of Agile principles, approaches and mindsets. This stance manifests when Agile Coaches mentor Scrum Masters or Junior Agile Coaches.
Trainers conduct various activities to transmit knowledge. They may use presentations to communicate important information with the help of graphics and other visual aids. Classroom activities are also a useful tool, where trainers get the opportunity to interact with Scrum teams, give them resources to work through and support people directly. They may also run individual exercises, assignments and role-playing activities; whatever the Trainer deems most effective for bringing teams to greater levels of understanding of Scrum.
It’s important for trainers to develop rapport with clients and team members, as relationships based on trust and respect are most conducive to learning and growth – especially with complex topics such as Scrum. As such, Trainers invest time in getting to know their new students and understanding their respective learning styles. Whenever there is a learning objective, a gap in understanding or a need to clarify certain Scrum points, the Coach adopts the Trainer stance. This includes both one-to-one and group training, in settings such as workshops, digital courses, presentations, training events and practical exercises.
This enables teams to keep operating in improved ways according to Agile principles and practices after the coach’s departure. The coach achieves this through various methods, including role modelling, assessments, observations, and asking and answering important questions. They also ensure accountability by setting goals for individuals and teams and tracking progress towards them, which encourages staff to stick to their commitments. Agile coaches interrogate existing ways of doing things to identify negative trends and behaviours, which they can then seek to correct by flagging poor behaviour and rewarding productive behaviour.
Agile Coaches support those they’re working with using not only their knowledge of Agile, but also their past professional knowledge. This may be experience from previous roles, formal education and their own training, as they are free to draw on any appropriate information to coach teams. They also use their knowledge of the client to coach them in the most effective Scrum ways. The coach’s primary goal is to devise and establish a new narrative that supports Agile mindsets and Scrum thinking, offering guidance and support as needed to help teams integrate the new narrative. Coaches work one-to-one and in team meetings, whether in person or remote.
The Agile expert is someone who possesses a deep understanding of the Agile methodology and the various frameworks it encompasses. At Agile Monster – we focus on the Scrum framework. Agile coaching means focusing on changing culture and mindsets to align with organisational objectives, more so than the personal and professional goals of individuals. The focus always stays on the business outcome when coaching under this premise.
The Agile Expert imparts their high-level expertise to ensure all changes are coordinated to the end of meeting the new organisational direction. The stance emerges in response to a need for clarification on topics and frameworks, in addition to questions from individual Scrum team members. All problems relating to the adoption and use of Agile can be cleared up by the Agile Expert, who works until all professionals have a firm understanding. Experts work in different places at different times according to the level of demand for their insights.
Clients and individuals may be aware of these conclusions already and be willing to act upon them, or they may need some convincing. When acting in the Change Catalyst stance, the Agile coach seeks to draw attention to and define problems so they can be actively addressed. Challenging areas to be improved, be it ones teams know about or ones they’re unaware of, allows teams and individuals to deal with them themselves. Various organisational figures also act as change catalysts, as managers, Scrum Masters and other leaders are fundamental to the process. The Coach is in the best position to do it, though, as they’re entirely neutral – offering a perspective that’s unbias and completely from an outsiders perspective.
Agile Transformation activities also require the Change Catalyst stance, in which instance they identify areas to be changed and direct Scrum teams to realising the changes. Change Catalysts work closely with coaches, as it’s necessary to drive change when trying to improve processes. The responsibility to change lies with the team or individual, but the Change Catalyst works diligently to surface necessary changes and offer the right tools and support to enable them.
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