What does an agile coach do?

Dear coronavirus survivers,

today I bring to you a simple metaphor, that may help you to understand the Agile Coach Role.

(that applies also to Scrum Masters, Coaches, Leaders, whatever-role-is-supporting-people)

Many times I heard these questions:

  • what does an agile coach do?

That's a "Mechanic"question

To think that  a role is defined by its daily tasks, is related to the logic "resource-assignment".

In my opinion, a role is more defined by its "mission".

But anyway, come back to the topic: what does an "Agile Coach" do?

There is not only 1 right way to answer this questions. But maybe this metaphor can help you to watch from another pespective.

What is "Coaching"

Its a conversation discipline (knowledge-cognitive).  

We can find its origin is in the ancient Greek. They used a method of making questions to invite the other to find the truth by himself.

Around 1974, Timothy Gallwey developed in "The Inner Game" book a method to help tennis players to achieve great performance, by solving "psychological impediments".

The name "Coaching" (Sir John Whitmore) comes from the sports business. And has to do to empower an athlete, who already has a great performance, to unblock him for achieving a higher performance.

So: Coaching is a "High Performance" business.

Keeping a long story short, I introduce you our "Coach Sample" for today:

Mickey Goldmill

Of course he is a fictional character but, in Internet, many people agree that he is the best one. I will assume that you already watched this classical movie (Rocky), and move forward:

- If he was the best (fictional) Coach, then...

What did Mickey, for Rocky Balboa?

He was a Cheerleader?
He was his assistant?
He was a Secretary?
He was a pizza delivery-boy?
Maybe he could do those "tasks",
but that was not his "role".
That was not his mission.

Why he was not doing exercise with Rocky?

No he didn't.
Because it was not his job.
Then... what's a Coach's mission?

What was Mickey's mission?

He was a Mentor, as experienced in the business.
He transfer decades of experience to Rocky.

He was also the Coach. He assited him on taking strategic decision (training, food, techniques). His job was to be a "second voice" in Rocky's head.

A Coach can help you to think "out of the box", to focus on what is more relevant, what can allow you to be more strategic by saving energy, time and money.

My opinion is that he was using different "language" for different situations.
Coaching is about Learning. By performing weekly experiments, you can collect the learnings and continuously improve your performance.

The Coach is there to help you develop your own best version. 

A Coach is educating a "winner mentality". Coaching is an invite to change, to think differently and to allow you to see the world through an alternative perspective.

In the corner, the Coach acts as a "second voice".

During "hard to think" moments,
the Coach brings a "cold insight"

In moments where Rocky could not think by himself,
sometimes to listen specific commands:
"Use your left!"
"move your feet!"
"go away from there!"

A good Coach works with emotions. But not by considering them as "a problem", but an opportunity. For a Coach mentality, everything is an opportunity.

A Learn and Improve opportunity.

A Coach is not your secretary, or your assitant.

Its role is also not to be "your friend". Also not "your boss".

Every role is defined by its mission, not its tasks.

A Coach mission, is to help you to learn and grow from your experience.

To allow you to walk the distance between "Intentions" and "Results".

So thanks Mickey, for letting us such a beautiful metaphor about what is...

a great Coach.

Thanks for reading,

Happy Change! 


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