How we lead and how we manage are the basic competencies in team settings. But leadership is a craft that requires investment and growth. Now more than ever, the survival and success of our organizations depends on making strategic change where it matters most.

Agile Team Coaches are called upon daily to help teams grow, develop and become high performing agile teams. To do this well, Agile Team Coaches need depth in a variety of competencies. 

Mastery in agile team coaching is about being able to sense what is needed most in the moment and dance among various competencies in order to show up in the way that will best support team growth and performance, in that moment. 

In the ICAgile Coaching Track we identify five discrete competencies, the sides of the Agile Coaching Competency Wheel: Facilitation, Professional Coaching, Professional Team Coaching, Training and Mentoring. Let’s start with the two competencies on the left, the ones that require that we know what we are talking about, that we have content knowledge.

Training

When the people we work with have a gap in their understanding of Agile, or the frameworks, principles, values or techniques, even the mindset, education is where we turn to. If they simply do not know, it is our job to provide them with the knowledge, something which is often the case at the start of someone’s Agile journey.  When we think about training we tend to think of formal workshops, leveraging theories of adult learning, but training can also be in the moment, sharing context appropriate knowledge on the spot. The right information, at the right time, in the right way.

Mentoring 

As people progress on their journey the emphasis moves to applying the knowledge they have acquired. At this point the competency of mentoring – providing one’s wisdom and guidance of the subject matter to guide the situation at hand – becomes important. The mentor is clear about what they know and what they don’t and they use a coaching approach, rather than telling the client what to do. Mentoring may include coaching, counseling and advising, but the action taken stays the choice of the individual being mentored.

Agile Team Coaching Certification

Coaching as powerful leadership, our Agile Team Coaching workshop and certification, gives coaches the space to explore and apply a model for coaching and mentoring conversations so that they are able to distinguish the difference between them and know when to intentionally use which

  • Practice coaching skills in one on one and small group conversations
  • Guide others to make intentional and empowered choices so that they achieve their desired objectives 
  • Coach the journey to team high performance so that they work as a holistic integrated system.
  • Explore the unique characteristics of an Agile team.
  • Uncover and effectively resolve team conflict, resistance and dysfunction so they learn how to self-manage.

If you are interested in attending this workshop, learn more and register here

Agile Team Facilitation

Another, second, highly recommended certification that pairs with Agile coaching is the Agile Team Facilitation workshop.

During the Agile Team Facilitation workshop participants learn to design and lead engaging, purposeful, and fun meetings that achieve the desired results every time.

Explore the cornerstones of the facilitation stance so you confidently know what’s needed from you in any situation.

  • Practice the steps of planning and design, using pre-defined templates so that you can stop spinning your wheels and wasting time before every meeting.
  • Practice facilitation where you will learn to put the stance and skills into practice. 
  • Apply the facilitation mindset where you will learn to put the stance and the skills into practice.
  • You will plan and design a facilitated session with mentoring from your instructors.
  • You’ll conduct the facilitation and get feedback from your instructors and participants.

Coaches with both an Agile Coaching as well as the Agile Team Facilitation certifications, are offered a unique opportunity. 

An 8-month cohort to gain a true mastery in Agile coaching! 

Mastery through Practice 

While you can learn concepts and practice skills of agile team coaching, real mastery is grown through practice – with real people and real teams in your real world. Imagine having the opportunity to practice and getting specific feedback that helps you, as an agile coach, grow. 

Emphasis on practice and feedback opportunities through skill drills, peer coaching, team coaching, ongoing group work, professional one-on-one coaching and one-on-one supervision of actual Agile coaching sessions. 

Students will have ample opportunity to learn from.

What Will a Cohort Expose?

You’ll no longer feel off balance when conflict arises with your team because you’ve had plenty of time to integrate your coaching and facilitation skills in a rigorous, feedback-rich environment.

There will be no more winging it or playing safe hoping no one will notice.

Skills and growth will be mirrored back to students in real time.  No more simulations or just theory. All of the feedback you receive is based on your work with your real teams.  

Strategic Changes in Leadership

What we have found and implemented through the Coaching Agility from Within™ program is that there are specific competencies essential to effective leadership. 

Collectively, these competencies signal that a collective leadership culture begins with how individual leaders show up. It’s about how they engage with and impact their teams, and it’s about the self-awareness that it takes to know our impact and make choices that align with our intention.

True Mastery in Agile Coaching!

Anyone can call themselves an agile coach. What sets a truly agile leader apart, however, is someone who has a demonstrated proficiency in agile team coaching. After all, adaptive challenges do not come with roadmaps, they require new ways of engaging and leading through the process of dialogue. 

The Coaching Agility from Within™ program is designed to guide agile coaches along the pathway to proficiency in each leadership competency, providing key solutions for teams needing sustainable, systemic change. 

It offers insight into best practices for how to move leadership forward by: 

  • Growing your own, internal leadership 
  • Growing leadership at all levels 
  • Developing a team coaching capability 
  • Turning theory into action

Over the course of the program, cohort members come to see facilitation and coaching as a craft to be developed, as well as an essential leadership skill. In addition to expanding their understanding of the traditional model of leading from the front, members learn what it means to lead from the back and how to lead by partnering. 

Along the way, the program facilitates tough conversations that emerge for the cohort about the tensions created in the process of growing their leadership range, and it supports their awareness of how they, as leaders, can best support a team’s ability to perform more effectively. Leaders with range are far more likely to discover a clearer path and lead more sustainable change. And our experience with this program shows that the best way to grow leadership range is to focus on competency development around mindset—identifying and examining values and beliefs about how change happens and the role of leaders in team settings. 

From this foundation, focus can expand to include skill building, learning retention, experiential learning, and reflective practices.

When we move to the right hand side of the competency wheel we let go of our subject matter knowledge in order to serve our clients best. The aim of agile coaching is to develop the natural wisdom of those we coach, not to make them dependent on us. As they grow in their agility we need to grow their confidence in their ability to solve their own problems, which means we step away from solving their problems for them and allow their own wisdom to come forward.

Facilitation

Facilitation is the art of leading people through a series of activities to achieve predetermined outcomes in such a way that everyone participates and buys in. A lot of people think that facilitation means running a meeting, throwing in your own ideas while you are at it, but a true facilitator stays neutral, fades into the background when conversations flow, skillfully encourages exploration of all options, manages dysfunction, to name but a few skills. Good facilitation is essential for good collaboration.

Professional Coaching

Our clients are generally able to solve their own problems, if we support and believe in them. In professional coaching we believe we are there to stimulate our client’s thinking and reflection in a creative way. We bring our neutrality and care, they bring their problem, and together we create the right conditions to explore the options. We do that through listening intently, reflecting what we hear and see, through asking thought-provoking questions, and a multitude of other coaching tools and techniques. We want our clients to fulfill their personal and professional potential, at their pace, reaching the goals they set for themselves. We make sure that they come up with an action that moves them in the direction of their goals, and we hold them responsible and accountable.

Coaching someone means that we stick to their agenda, their pace of change, their solutions to the problems they bring. It therefore means we let go of our own agendas, opinions, judgements and solutions about what actions they should take.

Professional Team Coaching

Professional Team Coaching utilizes the same mindset, has the same objectives and a similar approach to Professional Coaching, but it adds an additional dimension : maximizing team performance. It makes use of the team’s collective intelligence, and it brings in a systems view to reveal to the team what is happening in their system, rather than for every member individually. A team coach needs to know how to access the team’s collective intelligence, including creating the conditions for all voices to be heard. The coach holds the team responsible and accountable, and importantly, teaches the team to coach themselves. 

It must be clear to you by now that Agile Coaching borrows heavily from a number of professions, and we have a lot to learn from these professionals. You can choose to study each of these disciplines separately, or you can attend one of our certified workshops to start your journey!

 

About Antoinette Coetzee

Team, Leadership and Agile coach, Certified Organisational and Relationship System Coach (ORSCC), Certified Enterprise Coach (Scrum Alliance CEC, ICP-ENT, ICP-CAT), Expert Agile Coaching (ICE-AC), Certified IC-Agile instructor

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