Agile Coaching Myth 1: Coaching is only for teams that have problems.
All teams have problems and opportunities for improvement, so in that sense, it isn’t so much of a myth, however, Agile coaching is not reserved exclusively for teams who are experiencing problems.
That isn’t what people are saying when they make this statement though, what they are really saying is that ‘coaching is for other people, it isn’t for us’ and that’s where this statement is a myth.
Let’s take a moment and explore who makes use of coaches.
Most visibly are athletes and sports teams.
Are those individuals and teams amongst the best in the world at what they do, and yet they still invest heavily in coaching.
Because the coach is there to help the individual or the team become better at what they do. The coach isn’t the best player on the field nor are they anywhere close to possessing the talent and ability that the professional players are blessed with.
That isn’t their role. They aren’t there to teach these individuals how to play the game nor are they competing with the individuals on the team.
They are there exclusively to create an environment where the individual or team can excel and to help the individual or team overcome any challenges, shortcomings, or skills gaps that prevent them from thriving.
So, the best people in the world have coaches. They go out of their way to find a great coach that will challenge them, push them, and lead them into their best performances.
They aren’t looking for a coach that is better than them in that sport or skill, they are actively looking for a coach that will help get the most out of them and help them achieve their potential.
So, if you aren’t a great team and you are experiencing problems, will a coach help you?
Most definitely. They will work with the team to identify what is actively holding the team back and what needs to be addressed so that the team can progress. They will help identify a roadmap to success and hold the team accountable to the actions and behaviours that are necessary to achieve that goal.
In many cases, an agile coach is a skilled agile practitioner and so they may straddle the roles of teacher, coach, and mentor. They may have encountered the problem before and can make a solid recommendation of what the team should consider next.
They may find that the team simply don’t understand the basics of a specific framework and will invest time in teaching the team the theory and helping them understand how specific decisions and processes and frameworks will help them achieve their goal.
A great coach knows when to teach, when to coach, and when to mentor.
A great coach is also more invested in helping the team discover what works best for them rather than insist on a dogmatic approach to adopting agile or scrum.
They want the team to find and deploy the solution that is unique to their context and actively helps each member of the team excel within the environment.
So, to wrap things up, coaching isn’t reserved for teams that have problems, it is a great investment for all teams and individuals regardless of where they are on the competency spectrum.
Investing in a coach helps the individual and the team create an environment where they can excel.
If you are interested in becoming an agile coach and value mentored, coach-driven skills development in your journey to mastery, visit our Growing Agile Coaches page.
For more information on John McFadyen, visit https://www.johnmcfadyen.com or connect with John on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnmcfadyen/.
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