Most people have an idea what value an Agile/agility coach offers. We see loads of debate about mentoring versus coaching and let’s not add to that debate.
In the context of the need for faster delivery of value while maintaining quality and not compromising the organisation with large risks and fragility, what value does an agile coach not usually offer?
1. In-depth transformation & change expertise, the people side of things, in the sense of getting ready for structure change (even if real and true structure change is the biggest part), mindset change, behavioural change, habit change, belief change. Professional coaching is useful but I’m often talking about people who don’t want to be coached, people who would get irritated by attempts at coaching implicitly or explicitly unless permission is given. People can have deep beliefs and steadfast mental models.
2. Situational leadership, such as the contextual use of Goleman’s six leadership styles, is a necessity. Coaching isn’t always the most useful approach. While coaching is my default position, from a change perspective, I sometimes(rarely) need to user Tipping Point Leadership, taking on a visionary leadership role before reverting to coaching. Different strokes for different folks….. A typical agility coach would not be versed on Tipping Point leadership or understand where and when it’s needed.
3. Minimized confirmation bias – agility is a means to an end and might not be the right answer to the problem we’re trying to solve. An Agile coach tends to recommend Agile. A CST or PST is likely to recommend Scrum. A Kanbaner is likely to recommend Kanban. A CLT is likely to recommend LeSS if the cap fits. I am doing last minute reality checks on the viability of implementing LeSS Huge. I am training a client on SAFe, much to my discomfort while realising in my heart of hearts that they can’t do anything else at scale (having trained 50 audiences from their company); I recommended Kanban at the team level to avoid the corruption of Scrum. I have implemented Nexus+ twice. Agility Chefs are multi-faceted. I had to prioritise as in 2017 no one needs generalising generalist. Nader Talai balances my skills and experience with his. Knowing who to pair with is key.
4. Assistance on how to deal with the corporate/customer enforced Agile pill and making our own approach undetected by the corporate antibodies.
5. An antidote to WaterScrumFall / BigBangScrum / WITerFall / WAgile/Fragile.
6. An antidote to cynically applied frameworks.
7. An appreciation that in the 21st century, resilience is more important than better, faster, cheaper.
8. I prefer to see Spiral Dynamics Integral being applied for helping more effective conversations with individuals. I am a member of the SDi community. Professor Clare Graves never had his independently assessed evidence-based work formally peer reviewed, although it did seem to go through the scientific method with independent judging panels for nine years. I am trying Black Box Thinking, attempting to disprove ideas. What I can say from my own experience is I have benefited from better relationships with difficult (from a transformation point of view) stakeholders, directly from SDi. It must have an extraordinary placebo effect, as it’s repeatable, at least for me. I will write another blog post on my Level 1 training by Jon Freeman and Rachel Castagne (preview is that Spotify approach deals with SDi really well, appealing to a range of vocabulary for all sorts of thinking). I’m told that the Level 2 training for Spiral Dynamics Integral brings the skills to life through practice. I am looking forward to upgrading those skills in October 2017.
Agility Chefs address the above.
It would be interesting to see what transformation techniques work well for people in practice despite what thought leaders say.
I like WAGGL, it allows one to add better answers but my license is limited. I give you a warning, there are many options to pairwise. It’s not the end of the world if you drop out but I’d really appreciate your help, even if I won’t know who helped lol! If you’re reading this blog, I reckon you’re enthusiastic and adventurous. You’d be influencing thinking through your participation. Feel free to email directly what you’re unhappy about.
In the context of building capability for real agility that flips the system & changes the game, here are some pairwise surveys for –
• Agendas to strive for – https://app.waggl.com/i/6fbfbbea
• Values to uphold – https://app.waggl.com/i/f43eb9d3
• Principles to guide us- https://app.waggl.com/i/ec57e0c4
• Practices that work/don’t work – https://app.waggl.com/i/5303ea45
The shortlists from these surveys will go into follow-up surveys. It’s another chance to be an influencer; if you’re not in you can’t win. Names in brackets are names of people who inspired the ideas, and those same people may not have used those exact words.
At the risk of anchoring, and in my outrageous attempt to appeal to your potential need to challenge these items with other better items, here are the trends at the time of writing from a small sample :