What are 3 great reasons for an executive to trust an agile coach?
There’s going to be some assumptions in my answer.
- That the agile coach is going to put a lot of effort into understanding the context of the organization and environment before making recommendations or coaching.
There is no point in having an agile coach walk in and blindly provide recommendations on what needs doing, and how the organization should move forward from there.
I invest a great deal of time understanding the technical and business domains of the executives I serve, and so I assume that a professional, credible agile coach or consultant would do the same.
Another assumption is that:
- The agile coach has broad, deep knowledge of agile and has the relevant experience to help the executive identify which path to agility makes the most sense, in the context of their macro and micro environments, and to help them adopt agile in an authentic and sustainable way.
A great agile coach needs a whole toolbox of approaches and agile frameworks that can be used to increase agility and nurture high-performing, agile product development teams.
They need relevant knowledge, combined with deep and broad expertise, to effectively guide an executive and organization through an agile transformation.
I would advise executive and leadership teams to be wary of an agile coach or consultant that is wedded to a particular approach or agile framework. Sometimes, when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail, and that isn’t appropriate in something as complex as agility.
They need to have a toolbox that allows them to select the correct approach, or starting point, which is relevant to the challenges present and best suited to the current capability of the organization.
Sometimes, an agile framework isn’t the best approach. Sometimes, a different approach that is different to traditional agile frameworks is the best thing to help you achieve agility. Your coach or consultant needs enough depth and breadth of knowledge and capability to be able to make that call and recommend the correct approach to you.
Reason 1: A great agile coach acts like an agility chef
It is very seldom that you come across an organization that is perfectly oriented toward a specific, off-the-shelf agile approach (like SAFe). Instead, there may be elements of readiness in some areas, whilst other areas need to be developed.
A great agile coach is almost like an agility chef. They are able to analyze the ingredients available and cook up an amazing dish based on what is available in the refrigerator and what utensils and equipment is available in the kitchen.
And like any great chef, they have an array of dishes that they can conjure up. Dishes that can be improved, with each sitting, based on increased capability and resources.
It requires flexibility, creativity, and agility on the part of your agile coach to be able to do that effectively so look for people that are living and breathing agility in their own business and lives.
Reason 2: They adopt a specific stance, relative to what is needed, and can adapt.
Sometimes, you don’t need a coach that is going to ask you a series of question and help you discover a potential path forward when you would best be served by a strong agile consultant that can point you in the right direction.
This is the best starting point, this is what we need to get started, and these are the practices and processes that will help build momentum.
If we know the best answer, we don’t need to coach, we can consult and then teach.
At other times, as capability develops, coaching becomes meaningful and effective because we are using coaching tools and techniques to grow agile capability within the organization, and actively help executives and leadership teams to discover great opportunities.
Coaching is incredibly valuable, but it needs the right context to be effective.
A great agile coach is able to consult, mentor, teach, and coach based on what is most needed in the environment, and they need to be responsive enough to understand which of the stances is most relevant – given the context of the situation – and adapt accordingly.
Reason 3: A great coach is a great facilitator.
A great coach can hold space in a way that empowers teams to discover powerful solutions and design an environment that facilitates powerful breakthroughs.
A great facilitator is someone who is not involved in the content, but creates the structures and space that allows others to contribute content, ideas, and recommendations that have a significant impact on the team and environment.
They design events, meetings, and conversation formats that allow the individuals in that team environment to discover and produce their best work. They foster environments of psychological safety and promote creativity, collaboration, and exploration.
In agile, we are working with teams of experts that are best positioned to understand the opportunities and threats unique to the environment, and helps facilitate events and meetings that empower the team to make decisions that unleash great opportunities.
They help teams discover their best solutions, and have conversations about how best to achieve the goals and objectives that most matter to customers as well as the organization.
So, those would be 3 great reasons to trust an agile coach, given that the assumptions about those agile coaches are true.
About X Agility
John Coleman has deep experience and expertise working with executives, #leadership teams and product development teams to achieve increased #organizationalagility and create environments where creativity and collaboration produce high-performance teams.
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