Last weekend I had a great time at the Agile Coach Camp Germany 2011 in Rückersbach. I met so many great people, all interested in improving the way we build software. The ACCDE is an unconference which basically means that the program is created by the participants at the conference.
I facilitated a session on the role of agile coaches and how to handle the different roles we often have. The outcome of the session is:
The different roles of an Agile Coach:
- Trainer – say how it works, has experience
- Mentoring – a mix of being a trainer and coach
- Consultant – analyses issues and implements solutions
- Facilitator – supports the team in different meetings
- Coach – does not have to have domain knowledge, is a guide for a thinking process
During the discussion we identified the following ways for an Agile Coach of handling the different roles when working with teams:
- ask the coachee which role (s)he expects
- design alliance: Ask: What do you expect from me? Tell: What you can do… Do this with sponsors, management, teams…
- remember: every case is different
- establish coaching contracts
- Do you want my solution or do you want to find your solution?
- when giving a solutions, then ask “How do you feel about that? What would you do next?”
- Prepare selling – ask what advice would help?
- provide options to choose from
- client/coachee needs to take ownership of solution
- form an attitude of not knowing
- exploring side effects of knowing/not knowing “what would be/happen…?”
- I advice you to try…experiment => safe-fail environment (acceptance of my fail)
- safe-fail environment to be created by teams, coaches…
- coaching-like trainings (i.e. apply coaching practices in training)
- client need to recognize own problems and what his/her acceptance criteria are for a solution
- suppose we are doing something useful here, what difference would we see? What would you do differently afterwards? – ATDC “Acceptance Test Driven Coaching”
- demystify “coaching” – show you can make mistakes and learn
I’m sure there are many more ways to ensure you wear the right hat in the right situation and that the team/coachee knows which hat you are wearing. Also be aware that the coachee doesn’t give you a hat without you knowing. I’d like to thank everyone that participated in this session.
I also attended sessions on „The four evil root causes: Ignorance, Fear, Indolence, Apathy“ facilitated by Marc Löffler and „Systemic Structural Constellations“ facilitated by Klaus Schenck and Christine Neidhardt. Also I had great talks with participants in-between sessions and butterflied around otherwise.
Marko Seikola (@mseikola) and Kjell Lauren (@klauren69) provide a great summary of most of the session on AgileInc On-The-Road.