Ash Sheikh [AWA Contributor]

Recently I find myself pulling away from the question of “What do you do?” which is not too helpful when you are writing a bio page. Some of the labels that people have recently put on me say “Agile Coach”, “Executive Coach”, “Leadership Coach”, “Director”, “Trainer”

I don’t mind answering the question of “What have you done?” though, just really to establish credibility with you. If you are going to invest time to read something I’ve written, you have the right to know where I gained the experience to allow me to feel that I can state an opinion.

So I have worked in the software industry for 20 years, in that time I have:

  • Headed up and delivered training for software developers, my proudest moments seeing people who were bus drivers and cleaners enter my classroom and leave 12 weeks later to get jobs that gave them a future they otherwise never would have attained if they had not had the courage to switch career at a late stage in their lives
  • Been a Software Developer, Tester, DBA, GUI Designer and performed UX, the highlight for me being when the FT wrote a piece about British Culture changing due to a piece of software that I had written in my bedroom
  • Owned and run a software development company which was so cutting edge we outperformed our market significantly and took our largest client form a £50m turnover to £650m in the space of 5 years largely off the systems we built for them using agile techniques which were at the time were in their infancy
  • Lead Enterprise Transformations programmes all over this planet of ours for some of the world’s best known organizations. While I have lived in Tokyo, it was before I knew anything about Agile. I would love the opportunity to go back and support Japanese companies to apply agility and support their culture change journey, it would just feel like going full circle in the agile journey for me taking this knowledge back to Japan where so much of it was born
  • Contributed twice to what, at their time were the largest transformation coaching teams the world – It was educational to see first-hand deep dysfunctions in teams of experienced Agile Coaches, if it could happen to us it could happen to anyone.

I think that organizational culture is broken and that it is our duty to mend and heal it for the sake of the people stuck within those dysfunctional, destructive systems.

My mission is to help organizations to create humane environments which nurture and inspire so that we can unlock the potential of our people and increase happiness and engagement levels at work.