Coaching Dojo

I was very proud this week when one of my little fledglings got a fantastic new job. When I stop and think about the first time I met him over a year ago, the transformation I see in front of me is staggering and I get a real warm fuzzy glow.  This is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job, but It’s also one of the hardest parts because now is his time to go out and forge his new career on his own. I wish him the best of luck and look forward to following his successes. Most of all I know I have made a friend for life.

I guess this maternal instinct over my fledglings is why I became known as ‘Scrum Mum’ in my current assignment. 

As I sat in my broom cupboard of a hotel room this week I reflected over a conversation I had with another one of my fledglings where I truly put powerful questions into practice. The use of powerful questions at the right time can really help people think differently about the situations they face. It can take away the emotion of thinking about their own situation by putting themselves in the shoes of another. My coaching style personally turned the corner when I started to use these more frequently.

At a recent Agile Coaching Exchange (ACE) we were very fortunate to have Rachel Davies come in and run one of her coaching dojos. For those who are not familiar I have added the instructions that Rachel kindly put together below. (Click for Rachel’s blog on this)

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This was a real great opportunity to put your coaching and listening into practice in a safe environment and for you to get feedback from your peers and most importantly the seeker. In the dojo we managed to do a couple of rounds getting some great insight into different styles in the groups. Here are a couple of our groups hard at work!

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We can expand the coaching dojo technique further by combining it with well-known coaching models such as the ones I have listed below:

· The GROW Model – Goal, Reality, Options and Will or Way

· The SARA Model – Shock, Anger, Resistance and Acceptance

· The DESC Model – Describe, Explain, Suggest and Commitment

· Powerful questions

By getting the opportunity to put these into practice it arms our tool box with a model to pull out in the right situation. I would recommend playing several rounds with a different model in each so you commit learning to the brain.

I have named a few models that I tend to use frequently but there are a lot of well published models on the internet to use, so get Googling!

As with my little fledgling I have seen coaching really make a difference and so advocate getting as much practice as possible. With great power comes great responsibility.

Final thoughts

Next time you launch into telling someone what to do or how to do something, STOP! Observe and see how you can coach them to success instead.

If you get the chance to go to one of Rachel Davies Coaching Dojos I would highly recommend it! And why not give it a try for yourself back at your place of work.


Blog Fear

I love being an Agile Coach! However it has its ups and downs, such as you inevitably end up coaching yourself into something you didn’t want to do or face.

My latest self-coaching started when ‘The boss’ brought up again about me blogging. I found myself making the usual excuses and moving on the conversation swiftly. It was only on my end of the day self-retrospective I asked myself ‘What am I afraid of?’ and so here I am blogging.

Damn I’m a good coach!

On further reflection I started thinking about all the good and bad experiences I have had and so this is the start of me telling you about them, but firstly I want to tell you a little bit about me.

So where did it all start? Well on June 3rd 197x…..…only joking!

My history is of an IT Project Manager working in a large insurance company. I was there for 12 years and I am thankful for the people I met and everything that I learnt. It was on one of these cold Norwich mornings that one of my developers said to me they wanted to do iterative development on my ‘traditionally’ led project. I look back and laugh now at my dismissive response and realise now how much I have grown and changed. I was that command and control Project Manager, a pretty fierce one at that.

It was a year later that I was introduced to the woman who would become my Agile yoda and change my belief of myself, how we deliver projects and how to structure organisations forever. It’s through the coaching and mentoring of her and many others on my journey that have got me where I am today. I think that everyone who knew old & new Helen will testify to the massive change in me and it’s something I am very proud of. Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks 🙂

So fast forward to 2012 and I was fortunate to become one of the Ripple Rock family and be given the opportunity to go out and do what I love and feel passionate about.

So what am I passionate about I hear you ask?

· Shopping  – I am obsessed and had to snigger when ‘The Boss’ told me I was thrifty this week. He has obviously not seen my designer bag collection or the massive wardrobe I am now building myself.

· People – My mission is to meet as many people and teams as possible and to really coach them to be the best they can be, Agile or personally.

· Organisations – I want lean mean feature team machines (nice ring to it!) My mission is not to sell Agile to organisations but to coach, guide and mentor them to realising the benefits that are important to them and their customers.

· Community – I am all about the Agile family and actively look to bring people together, share knowledge and to have fun. So I am one of the co-founders of the Agile Coaching Exchange (ACE). Look this up for now, but no doubt I will be telling you all about it in the near future.

So that’s a little taster of quirky ole me, hopefully you are still reading and might even want to pop back every now and again to see what’s going on in my world.

Final thoughts
I have faced my fear today. What fear do you need to face?

Helen