For 18 months between early 2013 and late 2014, I was ScrumMaster for a stable, long-lived Scrum team. It was during this period that I really became interested in the coaching aspect of agile.
When this team was formed, they had little agile experience and therefore my focus was initially on teaching and mentoring them – and also, as a relatively new ScrumMaster, on improving my own knowledge of agile, lean and related subjects.
As time passed and the team internalised agile principles and learned to work increasingly effectively as an agile team, moving from Shu to Ha, I began to shift my focus from teaching to coaching, having been strongly influenced by the books of Lyssa Adkins, Geoff Watts, and Rachel Davis and Liz Sedley.
Around this time I went on an Advanced ScrumMaster course with Geoff Watts and Paul Goddard; this was a real light bulb moment for me. For the first time, I saw expert coaches in action and began to realise the power of coaching for helping individuals and teams fulfil their potential.
After this course, I adopted more of a coaching approach with my team.
And, as I saw how helpful this was I focussed increasingly heavily on building my coaching skills, taking an undergraduate and then a postgraduate coaching course and qualifying as an Associate Certified Coach with the International Coach Federation last summer.
Since moving on from that team, I have worked with less experienced teams which require more teaching and mentoring.
However, I find that even when teaching and mentoring, my approach is underpinned by what Lyssa Adkins refers to as the coaching stance:
my focus is always on how I can help the teams I work with build their awareness and responsibility & how I can help them learn to solve their own problems rather than trying to solve them myself.
“My Agile Journey” is a new series where Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches from the community share their stories on the Adventures with Agile blog.