Coaches! I’m talking to YOU

I know some amazing, wonderful and inspiring coaches.  I value them and am better for knowing and learning from them.  Then….there are “coaches”.  These people are not really coaches. They’re imitations.  In the spirit of keeping it positive, let’s review what coaches behavior should look like.  I would also like to take a moment to thank them for, once again, teaching me what NOT to do.  I guess I should also apologize.  I’m sure this will make some unhappy.  It’s not meant to.

Let’s begin shall we?

1.  Coaches will support the team on their journey rather than berate a team for “doing it wrong”.

2.  Coaches will coach individuals individually rather than in front of the team.

3.  Coaches will notice when a team member has disengaged and do something about it.

4.  Coaches will be humble.  It’s ALWAYS a learning experience for everyone.

5.  Coaches will apply the rules they ask teams to follow to themselves.

6.  Coaches will coach rather than pontificate.

7.  Coaches will enjoy guiding you rather than lecturing you.

8.  Coaches will remember what it was like before they called themselves “coach”.

9.  Coaches will not call themselves a coach until they deserve it.

10. Coaches will leave the Scrum Master alone so as not to muck up what she’s got going on with the team.

Enjoy the view from up there, guys.  It’s a sure thing you’re going to fall and you’re so high up there, it’s going to hurt.  Ouch!

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4 thoughts on “Coaches! I’m talking to YOU

  1. This is a good topic to explore – much like any other role.
    A coach has influence and might be able to adjust between personal, behavioral, team, role, career, solution, program, or organizational levels. It seems like way too much to ask however, there’s more… Empathetic to understand yet experienced to enlighten, patient to grow yet urgent to deliver, wise to temper convergence yet playful enough to explore.
    — If any of us saw this on a resume we would be skeptical.– Rightly so.
    Very few have the grace to balance growth, change, interactions with the minds around them. Those experiences of those around them may even be at different maturities or fixed perspectives. Not all minds are nimble enough to be truly agile. I became a coach because a framework like scrum, though deceptively simple, has the potential to cause great havoc and resentment. I knew I could be better than the guides we were given. Along my journey I too met some great coaches. Much like you, I cherish when I run across them in whomever I find them.

    When I look back, what I might have changed was my interaction with the coach, and my ability to correct, learn, leverage, or even yes… direct them elsewhere, where they were more useful. Perhaps all this might be a distraction to what I truly cherish even more… The magic in teams. To be part of a really great one. Yet another thing to savor as rare and wonder-filled.

    As I coach… These are my own questions…
    Am I sensitive enough to what what is going on?
    What is missing?
    Am I distracting or enabling?
    Am I growing the individual or guiding the team?
    Do the teams Talk?
    Is this environment where teams can flourish?
    Is this the right work? Is the work Getting Done?
    Are we improving as individuals, teams, a program, and an organization?
    What did I learn today? What did I share?
    Who did I help today?
    How productive was I?
    Did I take it to the team?
    What is the trust between everyone?
    What percent of the noise is all about work?
    Is there some play, innovation, creativity and team building?
    Are people actively solving or sitting and blocked?
    Are expectation convergent at all levels of the organization?
    How long does it take to push through some change through the team? or org.?
    Did I meet someone new or know everybody’s name?
    Did I reward the teams for great behaviors?
    Did I buy a coffee for someone that was awesome?
    Did I write a note for someone I just missed and looked unsupported?

    and inevitably, when I fail…
    Did I ask someone to forgive me?
    What wisdom was hidden there?

  2. I posted a reply too quickly. There is a magic in teams. Really great ones are something special to be a part of. I’ll keep your points about my interactions top of mind too. It’s certainly valid. It’s all learning I think. Excellent points, advice and thoughts.

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