How do you manage your coaching & teaching activities ?

Last post 05:58 am November 18, 2014
by Tremeur Balbous
4 replies
05:06 am November 17, 2014

Hi !

My question come from this observation : in my company, people (managers ; developpers...) ask me about some expertise and tips on agility, from a high position of "local guru". Maybee they are too new to agility so I need to stay on this "teaching" side, but they don't ask for coaching.

As a Scrum Master, we are supposed to act as teacher & coach.

It is quite easy to teach Scrum basics to neebies.
But I wonder how did you learn how to be a coach ; how do you train to act as a real coach ; who is supervising your coach position ?

Do you feel you really act as a coach, in a low position, giving your coaches a fishing rod instead of a fish ?

07:20 am November 17, 2014

A coach is someone other Scrum Masters like to go to for advice. It's a delivery-focused responsibility and brings with it the need to coach the wider organization.

This is unsupervised...quite the opposite in fact. A big part of being a coach is that you will set out to facilitate agile transformation at scale. You have to actively hunt out sponsorship in order to overcome organizational gravity.

12:01 pm November 17, 2014

I recommend the Coaching Agile Teams training or the bootcamp by the Agile Coaching Institute. This is what taught me the difference between teaching, coaching, mentoring & facilitating. I highly recommend it - best training I have ever received. Great instructors - Lyssa Adkins & Michael Spayd.
Something a little cheaper is Lyssa's Book - Coaching Agile teams.
People have to want to be coached and it is all about asking the right questions and picking up on their responses. I was coached by Lyssa in the training class and it was powerful stuff - when done the right way. She helped me get to the root cause of my frustration and helped me figure out what I needed to do. It was all about her uncovering my thoughts and the direction I needed to go in. She didn't lead me down any paths - she helped me figure out what path I wanted to take.

To me coaching assumes the person being coached is somewhat aware of the problem or issue that they want help on and have ideas on where they want to go with it, but the coach asks the powerful questions and helps them realize what they need to.

04:18 am November 18, 2014

Thank you very much for your feed-back.
@Ian, for me, a mentor or a teacher will give you advice but a coach won't.
I was'nt clear enough, but when I wrote about "supervision", I mean by a "meta-coach", not by a "manager". It looks to me as a deontology issue.

@Tim : I'm not in the US, so I had to stick to the cheap way with Lyssa's book + the one from Rachel Davies + other books in French ;-)
With your knowledge of what coaching is, do you manage to have a clear view of your own position among teaching / coaching / mentoring / facilitating ?
Do the teams around you understand these different approachs ?

05:58 am November 18, 2014

Hi Olivier,

In my opinion, becoming a coach takes time and practice.
I believe that the first step is to be aware of our tendency to find and give solutions. Self-observation is a good muscle to develop. As soon as you caught yourself searching or giving a solution, ask yourself, how can I have the team work on that problem?

After that, there is a lot of training in the coaching sphere in every country (some are on-line), in any case, it takes some effort and a lot of practice.
I did 2 professional coaching training myself :
the 1st one was coaching de Gestion (in french, Quebec) : 1 year, systemic and behavioral approach.
the 2nd one was Convivium (in french or english, Montreal or Ottawa): 1y, Integral coaching, I highly recommend this one. It’s a developmental approach to human growth (increase capacity to handle complexity).
that 2nd training has a 3 days introduction to the concept (mostly in quebec, some in France)
In 2014, I’ve been training as an Integral Facilitator (Salt-Lake City) : 9 months, I also highly recommend

As mentioned by @Tim there is some training offered by Lyssa Adkins

About your last questions :
In my opinion, not only I manage to have a clear view of my position, but I believe it' a must for a Scrum Master. I'm also practicing my awareness to navigate these stances fluidly in any conversation.
For me it does not matter that the teams understand the solution. As a Scrum Master in an organization, my goal is to create the conditions for them to self-manage. Of course, the more fluidly you integrate the different stances, the more you'll be in think with what the team need at every moment. (and the less people care of your skills you are using.

If needed do not hesitate to contact privately