Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Earlier in December, I had the incredible opportunity of attending a seminar on Coaching Agile Teams, presented by Lyssa Adkins and Michael Spayd. I learned quite a bit, not only from the presenters, but from the other attendees. Days later, I gave a presentation on agile coaching to many of my Sogeti colleagues in Colorado (hurrah for Saturday seminars!), where I learned even more.

A short sampling:
  1. Move – Whenever you try to learn something, use your whole body to help you understand. We had many exercises where movement was involved – either trying to talk to as many of the 28 participants as possible, or identifying our opinions through proximity to a “base” – the statement.
  2. Listen – There are several levels of listening. When I am creating my witty or thoughtful response or wondering what I’m going to make for dinner, I’m not listening to you. When I can stay focused on what you are talking about and how it affects YOU, I’m listening to you.
  3. Ask questions – and not just any kind of question. We learned about powerful questions. These promote inspection and reflection. They help open you up to possibilities that may not have even been on your radar before. What was motivating you? What else? What would happen if ----?
  4. Everyone’s right, partially – One of my favorite working agreements from the group. You may not see eye-to-eye with someone, but if you remember that they may have some element of “rightness” in their statement, you can start to work on the problem/issue faster, rather than arguing over particulars.
  5. Have fun – Life’s more fun when you’re able to see the humor in situations. Laugh at your own mistakes frequently. They won't seem so bad.
  6. Learn from everyone – We all have pretty amazing journeys that got us where we are now. We have all gained knowledge along the way.
  7. Learn from yourself – Hmm, Lyssa and Mike gave instructions this way; I can try that too. Hrumph, it didn’t work as planned, but I can try it again, with this modification.
  8. Get help – Practicing agile can be tough, and finding your way in the company of others makes the journey that much more enjoyable.
  9. Celebrate! We all know about celebrating successes, but did you know you can celebrate failures as well? Try it. Yippee! I just broke the build!

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