Agile Coaching Framework Visual Walk-through (Part 3)

Learning the different approaches an agile coach may take can be challenging without experiencing them. My preference when training people is to run exercises to help them experience the various approaches to agile coaching. Most recently, I had the opportunity to run one with a diverse group of people at the Humanizing Work conference. We got into some amazing discussions! I also had a chance to riff back and forth with Bob Hartman, who joined me for part of the session, which created a fun dynamic!

Since getting together in-person is not always possible, this article includes visual diagrams of the agile coaching framework, to explain visually, how to walk-through the framework.

 

This article builds on other articles about ACI’s Agile Coach Competency Framework. The first explained the Framework and the second explained ways to learn from it. While you can read THIS article without reading the other two articles, if you don’t already know the framework, I’d recommend reading those first.

Understanding the Agile Coaching Framework Visually

The diagram [D1] below shows an alternate view of ACI’s Agile Coach Competency Framework.

[D1] Alternate View of the Agile Coach Competency Framework.

[D1] Alternate View of the Agile Coach Competency Framework.

[D2] ACI's Diagram

[D2] ACI’s Diagram

The adaptations I made to ACI’s diagram [D2] are:

– Agile & Lean Mastery: I changed the word practitioner to mastery. This aligns more with the other domain competencies and I would expect that any agile coach would be aiming for mastery in that space.

– The words content, process, and domain are added to the diagram. These are not new words, but were not on the original diagram. I like them on the diagram to help clarify the differences visually.

– The diagram itself changed (from the original [D2]) to show the content and process competencies at the top with the domain competencies below them and the agile & lean competency at the bottom. There is one additional change, that is shown below.

Different ways to step into an agile coaching approach

[D3] Each arrow/color represents a different coach. Every coach is starting from their background and experience -- stepping through their agile & lean mastery and their domain competency. Then each coach could start from any of the 4 competencies at the top (teaching, mentoring, professional coaching, facilitating).

[D3] Each arrow/color represents a different coach. Every coach is starting from their background and experience — stepping through their agile & lean mastery and their domain competency. Then each coach could start from any of the 4 competencies at the top (teaching, mentoring, professional coaching, facilitating).

 This diagram [D3] shows how someone may step into an agile coaching approach. Each arrow represents a different agile coach. Each person, is coming from agile & lean mastery. The first person is focused on technical mastery and using a mentoring approach. The second person, business mastery and a teaching approach. The third person, transformation mastery and a facilitating approach.  Remember that a person will typically only focus on one domain competency. By moving the three domain competencies below the content and process competencies, you can visually see how you would “look” or “step” through your domain knowledge and into your agile coaching approach. You can see in [D3] how three different coaches might start from three different approaches.

So Many Coaching Options!

agile-coaching-framework-many-approaches [D4] Each of these arrows represents a different coach. The idea here is to realize and remember that different coaches will take different coaching approaches -- they will start coaching from different content and process competencies.

[D4] Each of these arrows represents a different coach. The idea here is to realize and remember that different coaches will take different coaching approaches — they will start coaching from different content and process competencies.

There are so many different types of people with so much diversity. People have different domain competencies and may all start in different content or process competencies (the top 4) when coaching someone. The next diagram [D4] shows how seven different coaches may start coaching.

Warning — Very Detailed — Practically speaking, there are 12 different starting approach combinations (coming from each domain into each of the process and content competencies. However, since every coach (human) is different, with different experiences, context, and perceptions, in practice, there are infinite (?) potential starting approaches.

Adjusting Your Coaching Approach

[D5] This shows what a coaching session might look like, as the coach is moving through different approaches. This coach is always coming through transformation mastery. Another might come through technical or business mastery.

[D5] This shows what a coaching session might look like, as the coach is moving through different approaches. This coach is always coming through transformation mastery. Another might come through technical or business mastery.

Agile coaches adjust their approach based on client needs — moving through the 4 content and process competencies in service to the client. We can see how that may look in the diagram [D5], for an agile coach, coming from transformation mastery. They start in professional coaching, then based on working with the client, move to mentoring. After interacting with the client, they move to teaching, then professional coaching, then facilitating!  It is very important to note that the diagram does not show TIME. The time span for this diagram may have taken place over the course of one session; more likely, this might have been over the course of a longer time span — days ,weeks, or even months. Working with your client to understand if they are getting value from where you are coaching them from is crucial!

Don’t Forget to Bring Yourself!

[ D6] Don't forget to bring yourself!

[ D6] Don’t forget to bring yourself!

The idea of bringing yourself is covered in more detail in Thoughts on Agile Coaching. The intent is that we each have to bring what is unique about ourselves to our agile coaching roles. This next part might sound a bit odd, but I find that our ability to bring ourselves is actually harder than the other aspects. Your ability to bring yourself is going to rest on how comfortable you are with a great many things. We sometimes believe it is easier to just “run the script”, focusing on making sure you are teaching based on all the key elements that should be included in a topic for example. What really engages people is going beyond the key points, the bullets, flip charts, or slides. Amazing agile coaching requires that you bring your passion! That you bring yourself!

You may also look at it like this [D7]. . .

 

[D7] Always bring yourself when coaching!

[D7] Bringing yourself to coaching is your foundation!

Moving Forward

Take a look at the other articles if you have not already. This article is a supplement to them. Was this visual tour of the Framework valuable? Could it be more valuable? What did you like to dislike? What is wrong? What would you add or remove?


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Jake Calabrese

Jake Calabrese is a coach, trainer, and coach-consultant working to help organizations meet the promise of agile by going beyond agile practices to address culture challenges and help teams and leaders reach and maintain high performance. He has unique expertise as an Organization & Relationship Systems Certified Coach (ORSCC), a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST), Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC), and Professional Certified Coach (PCC), and as a trainer and coach for Agile Companies (helping non-software organizations use agile). Jake created the AgileSafari cartoon series to introduce humor into the more challenging issues we have to tackle. Jake uses ideas from various areas of thinking such as: Lean, professional coaching, neuroscience, psychology, facilitation, brain-based training, improvisation, agile, kanban, and scrum. Jake regularly speaks at local and national conferences including Mile High Agile, Scrum Gathering, and Agile Alliance Agile20xx conferences.

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