Enlist a coach. Become a hero.
No Agile coach is immune to moments where their coaching powers sputter and they feel a little less than a superhero. Self-limiting beliefs, impostor syndrome, difficulty taking the next-step or being unclear about what we truly want can all send our inner heroes back into the shadows. Keeping radioactive spiders or cans of spinach handy might help, but what does it really take to transform a Peter Parker into someone so confident and fully actualized that they're compelled to use their powers to save the world? The fact is, we're all brimming with the potential to make this transformation and the best way to unleash our Agile coaching superpowers is to enlist a coach of our own.
As coaches, it's crucial we receive what we're giving to others to fully understand what our clients experience as we help them through what can be scary or awkward change. Empathizing with those we coach dramatically influences the success of our engagements and ultimately the growth of our clients. It's through being coached ourselves that we develop an awareness of which questions are the most powerful, evoke a positive response and motivate us to reach new heights. Placing ourselves in that same position of vulnerability will go a long way towards developing empathy, and it's something we owe the individuals and organizations we coach.
We Can't Coach Ourselves
Our ability to maintain neutrality will always factor into the success of our coaching engagements and who is more difficult to maintain neutrality with than ourselves? Bias and emotion keep us from being an effective coach to ourselves even though we may be an exceptional coach to others. Only another person, whose detached from our unique situation and whose sole focus is our personal growth will be effective at probing and challenging our thinking and help us to discover and keep commitments to next steps.
Practice What You Preach
Helping organizations to foster a culture of coaching, where feedback is shared in all directions, can be one of the most challenging and fulfilling accomplishments for an Agile Coach. Whether we realize it or not, we're always leading by example. Choosing to engage in a formal coaching engagement ourselves can be a sure fire way to help others feel comfortable doing the same. By showing others that we are willing to undergo a process of change, we encourage the same behavior in the organization.
Develop a Coaching Mindset
Being a super Agile coach requires a whole lot more than just teaching Agile; we must develop a coaching mindset which includes characteristics like neutrality, emotional intelligence, and curiosity. Studies have shown that merely being next to people aligns our brains with them, causing us to pick up each other's traits and become alike. We are the company we keep and being a coached by someone who embodies this mindset can significantly accelerate our Agile coaching journey.
So, coaches - ready to find a coach of your own? Here are some ideas on how you might get started:
- Start a coaching dojo at work. Find a small group of coworkers interested in meeting regularly to sharpen their coaching skills. Break into groups of three with each person playing one role of either coach, coachee or observer. Practice coaching for 10 minutes, give each other feedback, then switch roles and repeat.
- Find a coach and have a conversation. Maybe you know someone with coaching skills at work who goes out of their way to make themselves available by leaving their door open or by practicing coaching by walking around? Take these people up on their offer to chat. You'd be amazed (and sometimes challenged) with how often they'll ask powerful insight generating questions in everyday conversation.
- Connect with a Scrum Alliance Enterprise or Team coach offering one on one coaching and mentoring services.
- And If you're ready to embark on a journey towards CEC or CTC certification, then join the Superheroes Academy CTC/CEC mentoring program. We can do this. Together.