Louria Lindauer is an Enterprise Agile Coach based in the United States and the program lead for our Expert in Agile Coaching Cohort Program and Enterprise Agile Coach Expert Cohort Program. In this interview, Louria discusses her passion for coaching, why she believes there is no agility without coaching, and the need for better emotional intelligence.

Hi Louria – for those of us who don’t know you yet please tell me who you are and what you do?

My name is Louria Lindauer. I am an agile coach and I work with enterprises with organisational culture change, creating strategies. I also teach AWA’s Expert in Agile Coaching and Enterprise Agile Coach Expert Cohort Programs, and the Agile Team Coach and Agile Team Facilitator training courses. I’ve been doing this for a very long time, so I’m not going to give away my age, but it’s been some years.

What do you most enjoy about the agile world?

I love the agile world because it embraces the being of an organisation and the being of people. It’s the mindset, because so many practices have been doing in their processes and they’re this and they’re that. But they don’t get to the real skills, and those are the personal as they call soft skills. I call them real skills that gets you to how people are, their behaviours mixed with the beautiful principles and processes that we have and you’re able to mix and match and do all types of technical experiments and figure things out and sense make and really create achievement, growth and accomplishments within organisations and teams.

It’s amazing. People have so many a-ha moments. I do myself. It’s very collaborative and I love the fact that we iterate. Isn’t that amazing to actually develop a product that people like and want? New concept! That’s what I love.

How did you first come to learn about coaching?

I had been on every part of the organisation and someone came in and they were an Agile Coach and I loved what they were talking about. I was like, OK, we’re going to do this. Oh, we’re working in teams.? Oh, real collaboration? Wow, these really cool techniques to get things done faster. I just started following him around. I was like I’m going to do what you do and I created a position within my company and said they’re going to go soon and someone needs to take this over. And then I took my first class on agile coaching and fell in love, like that was it. I knew what I wanted to do. It was like therapy for three days.

I learned about the three levels of listening and realised I listened a lot on Level 1 back then. So that’s what brought me to Agile. It was just, it was transformational. It was an experience. It wasn’t something someone did or said to me. What changes things is the experience that you have. So that’s what happened for me.

What can you tell me about the impact that coaching has on agility?

Without coaching there is no agility it’s just agility training. It’s things that people are telling people. They’re following a handbook and saying Hey, step one of Scrum, is this, this and this. Coaching is essential because that’s what helps guide people to the real issues and problems into their success. It helps identify what the roadblocks are. It helps identify how to celebrate. It identifies so many things. It’s asking that right question at the right time so that the team or the person discovers it so they feel like they did it magically and so that you’re there to help guide them. Without coaching, there is no agile.

What skills are you seeing that are essential for building high performance agile teams?

You have to be able to ask powerful questions. You have to be able to collaborate. You have to be able to listen. But truly listen to what they’re saying and what they’re not saying. Being able to sense make the system. Not just the person in front of you. To be able to sense make what is the impact of the decision that we’re making on the rest of the system. Not just the team, but the people, the team, the whole organisation of different departments. Sense making is something that a lot of teams don’t do. But when they do, they elevate to a different level.

You are an ICAgile Authorized Program Lead for our ICAgile Accredited Expert in Agile Coaching Cohort Program. Why is this program so important?

The program is important because it’s a sense of community of practice. You learn when you learn with others. The program’s purpose is to create amazing agile coaches, trainers or consultants together who have an agile mindset and are able to learn, grow and become more experienced to master the skills.

What does it mean to be an expert?

I don’t believe in the word expert, but it’s about mastery. It is about the Shu Ha Ri. You become a beginner. You follow it just like it’s done. Then you start to experiment a little bit with the techniques, and you start to do a little bit of different things. So, this program is about taking people in that middle to their mastery and to elevate that. And I’m still mastering. You don’t stop mastering. So that’s what that’s about. It’s always growing and that this program is going to elevate you to a new level so that when ICAgile look at you they are going to be like yeah, I know you took the AWA cohort. You’re the real deal.

This program sets a high bar…Why should I learn about this topic from you?

Why should you learn for me? Because I have tons of experience and I’ve been there and I’ve done that and I’m open to learning from you as well. The real question is, why do you want to learn?

What is it in you that you want to grow right now? And this course does set a high bar, but you have to put in the work. If you come in here like a baby bird thinking I’m going to feed you like that every little step of the way. No, I’m going to help guide you and teach you all types of techniques but you’re also going to learn from your cohort. Which is amazing. I was in a cohort and I’ve learned so much from all of them and I’m still learning from them. I still connect with them and we grew together. This is a co-created learning experience.

Tell me about one thing you learnt recently that really made a positive difference to the work you are doing?

I do a lot with emotional intelligence within leaders and I learned what happiness really means and it was very powerful for me to sense in our world and in our teams, where happiness comes from and where it is contributed. And it helped me in my emotional intelligence because I realised that a lot of times we say it’s our circumstances that dictate what happens to us. Our happiness, our joy, and in reality it’s science that 50% of our happiness comes from genetics.

So, people who are always smiling and everything they are genetically more happy than some people. Very interesting. 40% come from intentional activity so that comes from the things that we do and say, who we hang around and only 10% comes from circumstances. So when people are saying, I can’t do anything in a team, because of this, it’s because of that. We all have choices to increase our happiness. Just some are just giving people encouragement which is what Agile does. Agile is about celebrating, iterative, moving fast, collaboration. Talking to more people, that builds happiness that builds more collaborative teams, it achieves more results.

If you weren’t working in the agile and organisational change space what would you be doing instead?

I would be working with organised organisational culture change which I do with diversity and inclusion. I am also a diversity and inclusion coach and I do emotional intelligence. It all is about helping people and that is my passion, and my passion is to help people love what they do. Do what they love and to unleash their inner greatness and their true selves. So those are things that I am doing, but that’s what other things that I also do, and I would be doing. I love inclusion in helping people feel that sense of belonging so yeah.

If you enjoyed reading this interview and want to learn more from Louria, you can enrol in one of the following amazing courses that he will be leading beginning next month:

Check out our public schedule or course pages for more info and to book your place.

I work at AWA HQ looking after day-to-day operations, speaking with people, organising events and training, and thinking up the next cool thing we can do. Outside of work I’m having fun with my family, usually walking our whippet, Luna or playing games with our daughter, Scarlett.