Becoming an Agile Coach – 5 Tips for Agile Workshops and Communication

Me, doodling…

Part of coaching often includes putting the coach in a ‘trainer position’ in that we hold workshops or scheduled learning opportunities for clients.

The essence of training is not that we necessarily teach, but rather communicate effectively. This includes more than just ‘telling’ people, but rather engaging, involving, and working with the students to learn.

On Organizational Communication:

  • Sender – puts a message into words through encoding
  • Receiver – decodes the messages and attempts to understand it.
  • Feedback – helps us determine whether communication is actually taking place

Three aspects in the communication process: Communication is …

  1. Mutual – communication always involves more than one person
  2. Present – communication is always going on existentially (the real here and now)
  3. Simultaneous – communication is always going on both tracks at the same time. It is not like tennis where one ball is bounced back and forth. It is more like tennis being played with two balls. There is more than one idea or opinion involved.

 5 Tips for Communicating your Agile Workshop Effectively Continue reading “Becoming an Agile Coach – 5 Tips for Agile Workshops and Communication”

Agile Coach – 5 Tips for Building Relationships at a Client

Why is it that human relations problems are more difficult… the larger an organization gets? Is it simply a function of not being able to ‘touch’ everyone? Or is it deeper?

I believe as businesses grow, the ability for people to define what the business-culture is, becomes an exponential exercise. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons relationship building is tough at large clients (or any client) for that matter:

5 Roadblocks to Positive Human Relationships

1. The Words We Use

“I didn’t mean that” or “that came out wrong” are things hate to say in the ‘real world.’ The last thing we want is for that to happen in business-relationships. Since (most) people try to be as tactful as they can in the workplace, we, as coaches, need to be super aware of the words we use, how we use them, and the conciseness of their usage. We’re not consultants who say:

“That depends…” – Average Consultant Lingo

We are here to give effective advice and guidance based on our background and experience. Your clients expect it. Fulfill it.  

2. Ineffective non-verbal communication Continue reading “Agile Coach – 5 Tips for Building Relationships at a Client”

Retrospective 93 – Becoming an #Agile Coach #Series

Becoming an Agile Coach – 5 Tips for Multiple Coaches at a Client

Squatting at a free area… for now…

Agile Coaching isn’t an easy sport to play… and when you have an entire group of Agile Coaches working together at a client, it can get even more hairy.

Leading a group of Agile Coaches is like herding cats… cat’s with a lot of expertise, knowledge, and even a bit of ego. A couple of tips when working with multiple coaches.

Multiple Agile Coaches – 5 Tips

  1. Ego Aside – Put your ego aside, we’re all here to do one thing: Service the client and help them deliver. At the end of the day, delivery is key. “Servant Leadership” comes to mind here…
  2. Coach Alignment on Engagement– Spend some intentional time with the other coaches to align on how to engage with the (common client). Last thing you want are “turf wars” or “religious wars” around how best to estimate, do planning, etc. etc. Make it a pizza and beer night. Get all the coaches together and go through a list of common themes/ceremonies/artifacts and get everyone playing by the same book. I did this with multiple coaches [SEE EXAMPLE BELOW FOR WHAT WE AGREED ON] Continue reading “Becoming an Agile Coach – 5 Tips for Multiple Coaches at a Client”

Becoming an Agile Coach – Get a Mentor! + 6 Tips for Mentors

Skype Mentoring!

Over half of all the Nobel Prize winners were once apprenticed by other Nobel laureates.

As a volunteer counselor and passionate about growing other great talent in our Agile community, I often take on opportunities to mentor others. I believe in the power of mentoring others. I believe in the power of helping people grow and begin to taste their potential. It is so very exciting for me to help others. Isn’t this what servant leadership is all about?

Let’s talk about mentoring for a bit…

What exactly is mentoring?

  • To help mature someone in a practice or discipline
  • To show them how you walked the path and to lead them through their own path
  • To teach them to mentor someone else, what you are doing to them.
  • Make a distinction between mentoring and teaching. If you’re teaching, you’re telling. If you’re mentoring, your walking with them through it (high-touch).

What mentoring is NOT primarily concerned with:

  • A methodologies and exact praxis of how to do something. Not prescriptive. Who you are mentoring… is NOT your disciple.
  • Mentoring isn’t a two way street like friendship. Mentoring isn’t accountability, but it is focused, unlike friendships.
  • Personal agendas.
  • You. The focus is on them, not you. We are to pour our life into someone else.

6 Tips for Mentors

1 – A mentor takes time to know people and reveal to them new possibilities and realities

  • Mentors are good listeners and they have the ability and willingness to step over familiar ground to get to know people and bring them into the circle.
  • If you’re mentoring someone for a particular role, help an individual by inviting them into communities of that practice. Always try to bring people not in the inner circle into the circle.

 2 – A mentor gets excited when good things happen to others. Continue reading “Becoming an Agile Coach – Get a Mentor! + 6 Tips for Mentors”

Becoming an Agile Coach – 7 Tips for Client Engagement

I recently spoke with an aspiring Agile Coach the other day and spent a couple hours coaching him through taking on work as an Agile Coach and beginning his next path into coaching. *An exciting process indeed!*

He had a great list of questions queued up for me, but as we moved into the conversation it quickly became apparent to me that we needed to do was set a few ground rules… (a framework that I personally follow) with my clients.

Below are 7 areas to consider when beginning your trek into Agile Coaching and for any of us in the coaching realm, a healthy refresher of how to engage with a client!

7 Tips for Agile Coaching

1.  Don’t “jump” at the first offer (or what may seem to be the best offer) when a client comes knocking… or a recruiter comes knocking :)

  • ask a ton of questions – About the environment, culture, and nuances of the client or engagement.
  • seek wise counsel – know people that have worked there? Other Agile Coaches? Get the skinny before you dip.
  • what are “your” motives for considering it – Is this a strategic client to go after, or a paycheck?
  • don’t force your family and spouses to accept this new reality – A personal anecdote from a guy who has been traveling for over 10+ years, and… over 400,000 hotel points (@ 1000 points/stay). If you’re jumping into this and it includes travel. Get support for it :)… as you would with any career choice!

2.  Show up as a servant, not a savior Continue reading “Becoming an Agile Coach – 7 Tips for Client Engagement”

SEO Myths: Does Google Consider SEO to be Spam?

One of the myths of SEO is that search enhanced pages will hurt the user experience. We have all seen examples of poorly written, overly optimized web pages that deliver a clumsy user experience. The obvious example is pages with big clumsy keywords in every sentence on the page. These web pages just feel wrong to the reader.

Keyword stuffed pages stem from the myth that higher keyword density on the page leads to higher rankings. Other ancient web spam tricks like stuffing hundreds of keywords into HTML meta tags or placing hundreds of invisible keywords on the page in the same color as the background, were disallowed by the search engines prior to 1999. More sophisticated tricks such as paid links, have very publicly failed throughout 2010 and 2011. As a search marketer, I still encounter people who have a vague notion that SEO still involves such simplistic tricks, or that SEO will hurt the user experience.

SEO helps the user experience. Here’s how search optimization helps search engines to see and present your web pages clearly: Continue reading “SEO Myths: Does Google Consider SEO to be Spam?”

Your Designer Has Quit – Make Him Part of Your Agile Team

Please don’t let this happen to your team…

We’ve talked a bit about design and Agile:

Let’s bring design back into the discussion!

I Thought Love Was Only True in Fairy Tales

It’s early afternoon and blasting hot in ATL – even “hotter” in the big conf room. I’ve joined a combined-teams Sprint Review complete with “where-we-are” demos.  The audience is stakeholders and product: QA, development, prod mgt, sales support, marketing and the Exec.  Major apologies if I missed anyone.

Way Cool Different

The two development teams were the rock stars. They presented their work and planning brilliantly.  Top managers were in the room and participated. Continue reading “I Thought Love Was Only True in Fairy Tales”