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How to Hire an Agile
Coach
Handouts from Toronto Agile Tour 2016
http://leanintuit.com
WHERE	I	PLAY WHAT	MY	SKILLS	ARE
MY	ARCHETYPE	PREFERENCES WHAT	I	EXPECT
HOW	I	MEASURE	MYSELF
Name:
Organization
Executive
Management
Team/Project
Where will your coach play?
Methodology	Bigot	
Granola	Eater	
Pragmatist	
Zealot	
Team	Player	
Disruptor	
Intelectual	
Coach’s	Coach
not at all like
m...
AGILE PRACTITIONER
TEACHINGMENTORING
FACILITATINGCOACHING
TECHNICAL
MASTERY
BUSINESS
MASTERY
TRANSFORMATION
MASTERY
CONTEN...
AGILE PRACTITIONER
TEACHINGMENTORING
FACILITATINGCOACHING
TECHNICAL
MASTERY
BUSINESS
MASTERY
TRANSFORMATION
MASTERY
CONTEN...
NOVICE1
2
3
4
5
• Did some formal learning (Scrum Alliance, scrum.org, PMI-ACP, ICAgile accredited courses, watched YouTub...
http://ceaccp.oxfordjournals.org/content/12/5/263/F1.large.jpg
DreyfusModelofSkillAcquisition
AGILE PRACTITIONER
TEACHINGMENTORING
FACILITATINGCOACHING
TECHNICAL
MASTERY
BUSINESS
MASTERY
TRANSFORMATION
MASTERY
CONTEN...
TIPS1
Customize	the	5	levels	of	skill	to	suit	your	environment.	
Use	SHU-HA-RI-Kokoro	(	http://alistair.cockburn.us/Shu+Ha...
WARNINGS2
People	who	rate	themselves	as	Experts	in	multiple	areas	may	be	suffering	from	Freddy-Krueger	
effect.	(https://e...
GOOD QUESTIONS1
Tell	me	about	the	last	Agile	conference/meetup	you	attended.	
What	are	your	favourite	books?	(Hint:	profic...
Figure	out	what	skills	
are	the	most	important
2
1
Know	where	you	
want	your	coach	to	play
Align	on	expectations
3
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Toronto Agile Tour - How to Hire an Agile Coach

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Handouts for my session at the Toronto Agile Tour 2016

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Toronto Agile Tour - How to Hire an Agile Coach

  1. 1. How to Hire an Agile Coach Handouts from Toronto Agile Tour 2016 http://leanintuit.com
  2. 2. WHERE I PLAY WHAT MY SKILLS ARE MY ARCHETYPE PREFERENCES WHAT I EXPECT HOW I MEASURE MYSELF Name:
  3. 3. Organization Executive Management Team/Project Where will your coach play?
  4. 4. Methodology Bigot Granola Eater Pragmatist Zealot Team Player Disruptor Intelectual Coach’s Coach not at all like me yup, that’s me Dear Chris: yes I’m aware of the 100+ cognitive biases that show why this can’t be accurate. Did you catch the other problem?https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases
  5. 5. AGILE PRACTITIONER TEACHINGMENTORING FACILITATINGCOACHING TECHNICAL MASTERY BUSINESS MASTERY TRANSFORMATION MASTERY CONTENT PROCESS Agile Coaching Institute Coaching Competency Framework http://www.agilecoachinginstitute.com/agile-coaching-resources/
  6. 6. AGILE PRACTITIONER TEACHINGMENTORING FACILITATINGCOACHING TECHNICAL MASTERY BUSINESS MASTERY TRANSFORMATION MASTERY CONTENT PROCESS 1 2 3 4 5 Agile Coaching Institute Coaching Competency Framework http://www.agilecoachinginstitute.com/agile-coaching-resources/
  7. 7. NOVICE1 2 3 4 5 • Did some formal learning (Scrum Alliance, scrum.org, PMI-ACP, ICAgile accredited courses, watched YouTube videos) • < 1 year experience working as a Scrum Master or on an Agile team • Answers questions using knowledge and theory, but not with stories • Focused on their method of choice “but that’s not how Scrum works!” ADVANCED BEGINNER • Novice + these features! • 1 - 2 years experience working as a Scrum Master or on an Agile team in at least 2 different organizations • Has used multiple Agile practices (Scrum, Kanban, Crystal, various Agile product management techniques • Answers questions with a mix of knowledge/theory and stories from more than 1 team/org • Shows evidence of blending ideas, and ‘breaking’ the rules of their preferred method COMPETENT • Advanced Beginner + these features: • 3 - 5 years, multiple teams and multiple orgs (different industries, various sizes) • Clarifies interviews questions before responding • Shows evidence of understanding the impact Agile has outside the team(s) • Starts by establishing coaching agreements and expectations • Actively contributes to the Agile community (conferences, meetups, blogging etc) PROFICIENT • Competent + these features: • 5+ years experience • Wide, and diverse network of connections due to community involvement • Uses a mix of Agile and good leadership/management practices for solving problems • See patterns, complexity of organizations, understands systems, psychology and other professional coaching skills EXPERT • Highly skilled coaches will underestimate their skills, so challenge those that feel they are ‘thought-leaders’ or ‘experts’. “Fakers” will likely have more book knowledge as opposed to hands-on experience (see Freddy-Kreuger effect) Disclaimer: Design your own levels, these are general ideas, there is no ‘right’ way or solitary ‘truth’
  8. 8. http://ceaccp.oxfordjournals.org/content/12/5/263/F1.large.jpg DreyfusModelofSkillAcquisition
  9. 9. AGILE PRACTITIONER TEACHINGMENTORING FACILITATINGCOACHING TECHNICAL MASTERY BUSINESS MASTERY TRANSFORMATION MASTERY CONTENT PROCESS Agile Coaching Institute Coaching Competency Framework http://www.agilecoachinginstitute.com/agile-coaching-resources/ Name: Biff the Business Dood Biff has worked as a Product Owner on an Agile Team, has used multiple techniques like story mapping, user stories, job stories, product canvases. He’s also coached teams on Lean Startup/Agile product management techniques but has no technical background or experience in transforming organizations to Agile. Strong teaching skills, deep skill facilitating sessions with stakeholders and teams.
  10. 10. TIPS1 Customize the 5 levels of skill to suit your environment. Use SHU-HA-RI-Kokoro ( http://alistair.cockburn.us/Shu+Ha+Ri+Kokoro ) Decide where your coach will play (team level, multi-team, management, organizational layer) Have candidates submit their coaching profile before the interview Visualize all profiles on a wall, with pros/cons for each Skill is the easy part, does your coach have the right attitude and aptitude? Skilled coaches answer questions with stories Skilled coaches have worked in multiple industries, in organizations of all sizes, and will tell stories from many different combinations of teams/organizations Have the whole team interview the coach Skilled coaches will ask more questions than you will…and it might be annoying, but that means you have someone with strong potential Ask open ended questions like: Describe a time when you were in a meeting and it looked like the people were completely off the rails, what did you do? How did they response? What happened after that? Have them work: Bring a team with a problem, or make up a new product. Create a scenario and have them coach you through it.
  11. 11. WARNINGS2 People who rate themselves as Experts in multiple areas may be suffering from Freddy-Krueger effect. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect) If they haven’t heard of ACI (Agile Coaching Institute) or can’t identify with each of their dimensions, they are definitely not a coach Don’t use the template as a strict formula, it’s designed to help you figure out what type of coach you want, and also for de-mystifying Agile Coaching Avoid hiring the coach who makes you think “RIGHT ON!!!!! THAT’S WHAT I THOUGHT!!!!” during the interview. Panel interviews suck. Any novice coach can tell you what you want to hear, don’t do them. If your organization has a big Agile framework and the coach doesn’t challenge it in the interview, you’re not talking to a coach. If the team isn’t in the interview, you will not hire the right coach. A coach isn’t brought in to do the managers bidding. Ask your coach what their favourite books are, what was the best Agile conference they’ve been to and other community related questions. If they struggle to answer, coaching is just a job, and not a calling. That might be ok, but if they’re preaching “learning organization” and don’t demonstrate they’re living by that, they’re probably not the right fit. When you ask a coach how’d they’d measure their effectiveness, they should struggle with answering it. If they give a framework, tool or say “velocity will increase”, throw them out immediately.
  12. 12. GOOD QUESTIONS1 Tell me about the last Agile conference/meetup you attended. What are your favourite books? (Hint: proficient coaches will pick books that are about organizational change, coaching, and leadership…and not just the usual Kotter’s 8 steps and Drive by Dan Pink.) Here’s the approach we’ve taken for Agile in our org, what do you think? How would know if you’re doing a good job? (hint: they should respond with more fuzzy measurements and answer with the pros/cons of measurements in general. IE: if you have performance objectives for a coach, they should know that it will influence how they behave.) POSITIVE SIGNS The coach asks you more questions than you ask them. The coach challenges your thinking (don’t fear this, the worst coach you could hire is one that peddles a bunch of easy answers to get the job) The coach feels they are interviewing you as opposed to the other way around The coach says “I don’t know”, or isn’t afraid to say they don’t have experience in the area you’re asking about…BUT they have the attitude and aptitude to learn.
  13. 13. Figure out what skills are the most important 2 1 Know where you want your coach to play Align on expectations 3

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