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Code of Ethical Conduct for Agile Coaching

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Talk delivered by Craig Smith, Alex Sloley and Shane Hastie at Agile Virtual Summit: Coaching Edition on 4 March 2022.

People serving in an agile coaching role are expected to act ethically, but what does that mean in practice?

Agile coaching is an evolving profession encompassing many disciplines including individual, team and systemic coaching, facilitating, teaching and mentoring, all applied with an open and deliberate bias towards using agile approaches to help address a client’s needs.

The complexity of agile coaching means that you will inevitably encounter difficult situations.

What if you had a Code you could follow that would help support you when difficult decisions need to be made?

What if that same Code helped you act courageously in every situation, even if there is a personal negative impact?

A group of volunteers has been working on crafting just that code. Specifically a Code of Ethical Conduct for Agile Coaching under an Agile Alliance initiative.

This talk will present the background to the work which has been done so far, walk you through the content of the code and explain where it can go in the future.

During the session, you'll be introduced to a few ethics scenarios that will help you identify the types of dilemmas you may face in the field. You'll discover some examples of appropriate and inappropriate ethical behavior in these different contexts, and how to address them.

Talk delivered by Craig Smith, Alex Sloley and Shane Hastie at Agile Virtual Summit: Coaching Edition on 4 March 2022.

People serving in an agile coaching role are expected to act ethically, but what does that mean in practice?

Agile coaching is an evolving profession encompassing many disciplines including individual, team and systemic coaching, facilitating, teaching and mentoring, all applied with an open and deliberate bias towards using agile approaches to help address a client’s needs.

The complexity of agile coaching means that you will inevitably encounter difficult situations.

What if you had a Code you could follow that would help support you when difficult decisions need to be made?

What if that same Code helped you act courageously in every situation, even if there is a personal negative impact?

A group of volunteers has been working on crafting just that code. Specifically a Code of Ethical Conduct for Agile Coaching under an Agile Alliance initiative.

This talk will present the background to the work which has been done so far, walk you through the content of the code and explain where it can go in the future.

During the session, you'll be introduced to a few ethics scenarios that will help you identify the types of dilemmas you may face in the field. You'll discover some examples of appropriate and inappropriate ethical behavior in these different contexts, and how to address them.

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Code of Ethical Conduct for Agile Coaching

  1. 1. Craig Smith Alex Sloley Shane Hastie Code of Ethical Conduct for Agile Coaching
  2. 2. Welcome… Image: https://gifer.com/en/EjHL Welcome... Image: https://i.gifer.com/Ipb3.gif Shane Hastie Craig Smith Alex Sloley
  3. 3. First some definitions…
  4. 4. “Coaching is… partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.” International Coach Federation (ICF) Image: https://www.quantumworkplace.com/hs-fs/hubfs/Marketing/Website/Blog/Blog%20Images/Employee%20Coaching.
  5. 5. “Agile coaches guide individuals and teams to get clear about the change they desire, identify places where current reality does not match desired reality and then take action to close the gap… Agile coaches support, guide, coach, teach, mentor and facilitate change without colluding with the current reality.” ICAgile Image: https://blog.planview.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/how-to-become-an-agile-coach-cropped-1536x864.jpg
  6. 6. Image: https://www.hrzone.com/sites/default/files/styles/inline_banner/public/tumsasedgars_0.jpg?itok=fnknnAaZ “The study of right and wrong conduct. Alternately: ▪ The decisions, choices, and actions (behaviors) we make that reflect and enact our values. ▪ The study of what we understand to be good and right behavior and how people make those judgments ▪ A set of standards of conduct that guide decisions and actions based on duties derived from core values” Ethics & Compliance Initiative
  7. 7. Image: http://www.animaldanger.com/images/cutest%20raccoon.jpgcc Why a code?
  8. 8. Image: © Talkback Thames http://images5.fanpop.com/image/photos/29700000/-Roy-Jen-roy-and-jen-the-it-crowd- 29704691-640-360.jpg This started as a bunch of technical people becoming ”people” people
  9. 9. Image: https://www.scrum.org/resources/scrum-framework-poster Agile is complex!
  10. 10. Report: https://explore.versionone.com/state-of-agile/versionone-11th-annual-state-of-agile-report-2 We are far from done…
  11. 11. Report: https://explore.versionone.com/state-of-agile/versionone-11th-annual-state-of-agile-report-2 Our help is needed…
  12. 12. Image: http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/corporate2/images/width/live/p0/1z/0f/p01z0fv1.jpg/624 Ethical issues everywhere…
  13. 13. Image: https://s3.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?m=02&d=20170825&t=2&i=1198561402&r=LYNXNPED7O1D6&w=1280 Ethical issues everywhere…
  14. 14. Image: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/02/21/wells-fargo-fake-accounts-settlement/ Ethical issues everywhere…
  15. 15. Rule Violations Lying Unhealthy Environment Safety Discrimination Stealing Bullying How Americans Experience Work… 80% Felt constrained to speak up Image: https://hbr.org/2020/03/how-common-is-unethical-behavior-in-u-s-organizations
  16. 16. Image: https://static01.nyt.com/images/2020/09/21/multimedia/21parenting-superhero/21parenting-superhero- superJumbo.jpg?quality=90&auto=webp What did we do?
  17. 17. ICF Code of Ethics 1. Responsibility to clients 2. Responsibility to practice and performance 3. Responsibility to professionalism 4.Responsibility to society
  18. 18. Agile Coaching Institure Coaching Competency Framework Agile Coaching Competencies
  19. 19. Agile Coaching Competencies
  20. 20. Agile Coaching Education
  21. 21. An Emerging Role… Image: https://www.nationalskillscommission.gov.au/agile-coaches
  22. 22. Code of Ethical Conduct for Agile Coaching Image: https://cdn.shortpixel.ai/client/q_glossy,ret_img,w_1030,h_423/https://www.veracentra.com/wp- content/uploads/2017/09/Balancing-the-Scales-Data-Driven-and-Customer-Centric-Marketing-1-1030x423.jpg
  23. 23. Protecting confidentiality, intellectual property and information security Upholding social responsibility, diversity and inclusion Managing differences in status and power Acting within my ability Introspection and continuing professional development Navigating conflicts of interest Ensuring value in the relationship Agreeing on boundaries Responsibility to the profession
  24. 24. I will protect information shared with me and will only disclose it for legal reasons or when I have clear agreement with my client and stakeholders. I will attribute other’s ideas appropriately and avoid the appearance that they are mine. Protecting confidentiality, intellectual property and information security
  25. 25. I will be open and transparent about my skills, experience and qualifications. I will be clear with my client and stakeholders if they make a request beyond my capabilities. I will be open with the client if I believe they need another form of professional help. Acting within my ability
  26. 26. I will engage with a peer group or mentor to explore ethical and other challenges in my agile coaching work. I will seek to improve my self-awareness and effectiveness through introspection and professional development. Introspection and continuing professional development
  27. 27. I will be transparent about any potential conflicts of interest with all who might be affected. I will consciously avoid situations where I benefit myself to the detriment of the client and stakeholders so that I may maintain professional judgment and objective thinking. I will resolve conflicts of interest by working with the client and stakeholders, seek assistance when needed and suspend or end the relationship if needed. Navigating conflicts of interest
  28. 28. I will check with my client and stakeholders to ensure the relationship is valuable and only extended through mutual agreement. I will make it transparent if my client is forming dependencies on my services and will work towards their own self- sustaining agility. I will be open with the client if I believe the value in the relationship is declining. Ensuring value in the relationship
  29. 29. I will seek opportunities to bring different voices to the conversation. I will take action to discourage and eliminate discrimination in any form. I will strive to leave society better than I found it, by my action or inaction. Upholding social responsibility, diversity and inclusion
  30. 30. I will ensure we have an agreed upon scope, even if it evolves. I will work with the client to understand their needs and avoid imposing solutions based on my personal preferences and desires. I will openly challenge when my client is pursuing purposes at odds with the Agile Manifesto’s Values and Principles. Agreeing on boundaries
  31. 31. I will not use my positional authority, power or influence to achieve personal gain or undermine the goals of my client. I will create awareness when power, privilege and rank are impeding my client’s goals or my ability to serve them effectively. Managing differences in status and power
  32. 32. I will invite others who practice agile coaching to adopt professional standards and this code of ethics. I will enhance and uplift the reputation of the agile coaching profession. I will encourage healthy dialogue and reflection when I encounter unethical behaviour in others. Responsibility to the profession
  33. 33. Image: https://avisbudgetgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/10_29_18-900.jpg Scenarios
  34. 34. Chat Blast! 1. Enter text in chat 2.Don’t hit Enter! 3.We countdown from 3 to 0 4.Hit Enter on 0! Image: https://mk0spaceflightnoa02a.kinstacdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/fh_arabsat6a_1.jpg
  35. 35. Agile Coaching Ethics Scenarios You are asked to help evaluate the agile health of several areas of a business. Before each interview you establish a level of confidentiality that you will anonymize results. As the assessment is conducted the CxO requests a report which includes the results per person. You provide anonymized data so as to protect the identity of the individuals being interviewed. Appropriate or Inappropriate? https://www.agilealliance.org/resources/initiatives/agile-coaching-ethics/ Why appropriate? The information passed on is what was agreed upon up-front.
  36. 36. Agile Coaching Ethics Scenarios A potential client requires someone with extensive practical experience in a specific topic. You oversell your theoretical knowledge as practical experience in order to get the assignment. Appropriate or Inappropriate? https://www.agilealliance.org/resources/initiatives/agile-coaching-ethics/ Why inappropriate? You have claimed to have abilities that you do not have.
  37. 37. Agile Coaching Ethics Scenarios You have been finding internal peer support sessions valuable. However a more sensitive challenge has recently highlighted itself. You decide to take this challenge to your external mentor in order to check you are remaining ethical and come up with some fresh ideas on how to approach the situation. Appropriate or Inappropriate? https://www.agilealliance.org/resources/initiatives/agile-coaching-ethics/ Why appropriate? Internal peer review sessions are valuable due to the extra organisational context they provide. However sometimes this can cause a biased view (fishbowl effect) on how to approach the situation or you might not feel safe to speak about certain topics. An external mentor can bring some fresh perspectives to the challenge.
  38. 38. Agile Coaching Ethics Scenarios You are contracted by a large consulting firm to provide agile coaching services for a client. They have informed you that at the end of the month your contract will be terminated, citing your high cost. Before your last day, you let the client know that you will be available as an independent should they want to use your services in the future. You don’t provide the reason or do any further solicitation. Appropriate or Inappropriate? https://www.agilealliance.org/resources/initiatives/agile-coaching-ethics/ Why gray? As you are leveraging a relationship that was provided by the consulting company that hired you, without knowing the context of how or when the conversation occurred or factors in relation to your employment status, this makes this a gray area as to whether or not you are breaching any local laws or employment agreements.
  39. 39. Agile Coaching Ethics Scenarios You are facilitating a session with a group that has varied levels of experience, you knowingly give preference to those with deeper proficiency by creating more space for their voices and exploration of the topics they are interested in whilst discarding marginal voices. Appropriate or Inappropriate? https://www.agilealliance.org/resources/initiatives/agile-coaching-ethics/ Why inappropriate? You are knowingly showing bias towards those sharing their experience and level of knowledge and excluding other voices that are you are supposed to be serving.
  40. 40. Agile Coaching Ethics Scenarios A coach feels that a scrum master they are working with is more likely to succeed in a different role as they are low performing. The coach begins to raise other potential career paths and encourages them to self select out of the role as they feel it will be too hard to develop them into a successful scrum master. Appropriate or Inappropriate? https://www.agilealliance.org/resources/initiatives/agile-coaching-ethics/ Why inappropriate? It’s inappropriate to encourage someone to “self- select” out of their chosen path. A more appropriate action would be to potentially help them find a mentor or coach that can be more successful for them.
  41. 41. Agile Coaching Ethics Scenarios We need your feedback! AgileCoachingEthics@agilealliance.org What should we do next? https://www.agilealliance.org/resources/initiatives/agile-coaching-ethics/
  42. 42. Craig Smith @smithcdau Alex Sloley @alex_sloley Shane Hastie @shanehastie Thank You

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