Monday, April 24, 2017

AGILE Coaching and Mentoring within Teams

Coaching and Mentoring Within Teams

In the context of Agile, guiding a team involves a dual approach of Coaching and Mentoring. Each aspect has its own focus and skill set to nurture the team and deliver results.

A coach helps the team members to accomplish specific tasks and goals. Coaching is about aligning the individual’s goals with the organization’s goals and helping the person to reach the next level.

A mentor shares the Agile experiences and ideas to guide the team members to grow and develop.

Agile Coaching

Agile coaching can be done by an internal or external coach. The coach has to:

Maintain a balanced perspective while working with different teams. Each team progresses at a different pace and may face constraints and impediments that require help to overcome.
Stay true to the team members’ values.
Understand the social and psychological aspects, as well as the complexity of the team.
Use an approach that makes sense to people, and address the problems faced by the team.
Develop methods for designing non-intrusive interventions for changing team dynamics, and
Learn what is really needed to get people to work as a team.

Coaching at Levels

The focus of coaching changes at different points in a sprint or iteration:

At the beginning of the sprint, the focus is on the team
In the middle of the sprint, the focus is on the individual, and,
Towards the end of the sprint and at the time of release, the focus shifts again to the team.

Skills of an Agile Coach

The three primary skills that an Agile coach must possess are ability to work with people, facilitate change, and use systems thinking.

Ability to work with people includes listening to the team and stakeholders; giving feedback; asking clarifying questions; and building trust and rapport with the team.
Ability to facilitate change includes enlisting support from the team and other stakeholders; reaching agreement about the changes needed; implementing the changes; and learning from failure to drive change in the right direction.
Ability to use systems thinking includes being able to see the “big picture”; identifying the levers for change such as, what can really help in bringing about the change; and communicating danger signals.

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