April 14, 2021

The Coaching Conversation Canvas

Coaching Conversation Canvas

One of the most often used skills and stances in the daily life of a Scrum Master probably is coaching. I'm talking coaching as in the definition of e.g. the Agile Coaching Institute 

Ability to act as a coach, with the client’s interest determining the direction, rather than the coach’s expertise or opinion.

So we are explicitly talking about coaching, not consulting or mentoring but coaching. This means a whole lot of active listening and asking powerful questions. Many of them. There are already many excellent sources that talk about those topics. This is not what I have in mind here though. Over my many years acting as a Scrum Master and Agile Coach, I developed a personal style of interacting with my coachees in 1:1 conversations. At some point in time I decided to visualize the structure I was using and this is what I came up with. The Coaching Conversation Canvas. A helpful tool to guide you through the flow of a coaching conversation. Let me tell you what it is all about.

Guardrails

This introductory part is about forming a coaching coalition between you and your coachee. Her expectations, the values you would like to uphold, how to handle privacy. Basically anything that helps you to define how you would like to interact.

Backlog

Especially in a growing and continued coaching relationship you are about to cover many topics. As in product development there is always more to do than there is time to do it. Therefore this section is meant to help you find out what topics you would like to cover in general, in which direction you want to move and to build an inventory that is refined over the course of all coaching sessions.

Exploration

Imagine this part like identifying the next small step to work on during one particular coaching session. Help your coachee decide which item from her personal backlog should be covered today. Explore her most important area of interest for the session. Listen. Ask. Reflect. Coach!

Action

Moving from exploration towards action means coming up with actionable next steps. Away from problem trance towards solution focus. Away from feeling stuck to being empowered and willing to act!

Reflection

Everything we do in the complex world we live in requires constant inspection and adaptation! This is true for an individual conversation as well as for your coaching relationship in general. How is your coachee feeling after this session? How could it be even better for her?

 

Happy Coaching!

You'll find the canvas available as a hi-res PDF download here. I hope you like it and can put it to good use in your coaching conversations! Feel free to reach out to me with the best additional questions you have for the quadrants or any other thoughts and ideas!

Coach on!