One of the great perks of working at any company is getting to enjoy and experience the service or product toward which you all work tirelessly to bring into being. I remember how much I loved working at a cinema while at school, in part due to all the awesome new films I got to watch. This holds very true with working at AWA. I spend my day-to-day marketing our Agile training courses and getting to see the amazing impact they have to people’s professional and personal lives. I am lucky enough to work at an organisation where it’s not uncommon to see phrases such as “life-changing” or “eye-opening” in feedback about our courses. So when, last week, I had the opportunity to attend our ICAgile-certified Agile Team Coach course, you can bet I was feeling rather excited. I want to share my experience with you, coming from someone who has an intimate relationship with agility, but who has never worked in a software team.
Teachers, Mentors, Facilitators & Coaches
Making up a portion of my excitement was looking forward to spending time with some members of the much-loved, but rarely seen in the physical sense, extended AWA family. Our trainers are our field team, boots on the ground, and often around the globe training – rather than hanging out in the AWA HQ. It was therefore a fantastic opportunity to connect with David Lowe and Rafael Ribeiro and see them in action. I have to say, the dynamic between Rafa and David was perfect. Along with much humorous support, each often contributed their own deep experience and unique perspectives. Their style of facilitation was very relaxed, regularly shooting powerful questions around the room, helping those asking questions unearth the solutions themselves. This had the added benefit of showcasing just how powerful this coaching technique can be. They were also happy to let the learners drive the discussion where they wanted to take it, only guiding the debate back when the thread had strayed toward off-topic unfruitfulness. Their mastery of maintaining a connection with the group kept everyone engaged and I left with a very satisfied feeling knowing our courses could not be in safer hands.
Skills for anyone in the world
I have to admit one slight worry for me going into the course was that the content would be leaning on Agile processes that would not be particularly applicable to me; someone working in a team with Agile values but not an Agile team in the typical sense. However, my fears turned out to be unfounded. Many of the learnings had application to anyone, working with or in Agile teams or not. The reason for this lies in AWA’s fundamental belief that Agile is not the goal. The goal is to create better businesses and to improve working lives, and Agile is a means to do this. A particularly good example of this is one of the core learning outcomes focusing on professional coaching skills. The ability to listen more effectively and have better conversations has enormous use no matter what job you’re doing or what industry you work in. Forget about professionally even! These skills can significantly improve your personal life too, facilitating healthier relationships and your capability to help others help themselves.
Learning from one another
An additionally awesome thing about the course that hadn’t occurred to me beforehand was the value received from simply everyone else who came to the course. The group was extraordinarily lovely and there was a real bond that formed over the three days. On each of the days there was a dedicated coaching conversation exercise where we would form triads (coach, coachee, observer) to put what we were learning into practise. This resulted in opportunities to have genuinely intimate conversations with people you really have only just met in which you are coming together to find a solution to a problem. In these windows there is a brief but in-depth glimpse into each other’s thoughts and real-life tribulations, forming an instant and robust connection. It was fascinating to me meeting people who all share so much, yet are so different and unique and come with so many different perspectives. There is so much to learn from getting to hear their stories and methods of thinking, far beyond what is covered in the course agenda.
Have your own lightbulb moments
It was an exhaustingly fantastic experience. A three-day brain workout. Made all the more sweeter seeing the impact it was having to all my co-attendees, and experiencing the positivity to the world that we at AWA spend our days creating and sharing. If you want to have your own lightbulb moments and see for yourself what I have described, the course I went on was our Agile Team Coach course. You can find all upcoming dates for this class here.