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Coin-Operated Agile Coaches

August 14, 2012

You must have seen one.  At a carnival, county fair, or maybe an amusement park. Sitting inside a glass enclosed box.  Bright clothing.  One hand held above a fan of sun-faded playing cards.  A customer approaches the box and drops in a coin.  In the box, the glass encased guru’s arm moves left and right.  Then out drops a slip of paper with a definitive answer to the customer’s most critical question.

You may have also seen this behavior in an agile teamroom.  Teams…are you underutilizing your coaches this way.  Coaches…do you recognize yourself?  This isn’t a question of coaching style.  This is a question of who is driving the change that the customer ostensibly wants to happen. Why else was an agile coach engaged in the first place?

Of course, coaches typically have some limits places on them by the “front office”.  Even great sports coaches like Wooden, Noll, Madden or Cowher had to work within directives from their team’s management.  But you would never see the likes of them sitting on the sidelines waiting for the players to ask them questions.

The best coaches are proactively engaged.  They are leaders.  They guide, they make changes, and they help the players get more from themselves than they realized they had.

Agile team members, don’t put your coach in a box if you want to be effective.  You were provided a coach to help you improve.  Let it happen.  And coaches, you can’t “cower” (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun) under resistance from the team members nor pressure from management.  Ultimately, it’s really up to you coaches.  If you don’t actively engage and lead your teams, you won’t need a coin-operated fortune teller to know your future.

Visit www.projectpragmatics.com .

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One comment

  1. It’s neither necessary nor possible to educate people who don’t ask questions. If the team is highly resistant, the coach can expect to be as valuable as a phony dollar bill.



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