Powerful Observational Techniques For Coaching Teams

Starting out as a new agile coach is difficult. Where do you go? How do you start? Learn to leverage a coaching approach that focuses on observations and to form insights and goals.

You will uncover a structured approach to coaching which aims at improving team performance by providing clear guidance and structure to the coaches and scrum masters. Through a structured approach, coaches and scrum masters will be able to better target their efforts and create demonstrable improvement in teams.

A structured coaching approach can be applied to, but is not limited to:

  • Agile, Lean, Scrum project practices: planning, tracking, improving.
  • Agile technical practices testing
  • Product management, business analysis, and Product Owner role
  • Scrum Master role (team leadership and project management)
  • Management and Leadership principles, skills, and practices
  • Effective agile process mechanics: iteration planning, reviews, retrospectives, daily stand-up
  • Building effective self-organized and empowered product teams
  • Evaluation of tools to assist in Agile Lean practices

After an introduction to effective observation techniques, groups will be asked to collect observations from various scenarios drawn from real-life experience with teams and organizations.. Groups will then collaborate with others and draw insights from common behaviors and trends. From this, we will leverage the Coaching Card technique to plan possible coaching paths forward and identify ways that progress could be validated and demonstrated in practice.

Attendees will leave this session with a structured approach to guide their ongoing coaching efforts and share those experiences with others in the organization.


Outline/Structure of the Workshop

Session outline as follows:

The session uses accelerated learning techniques, and is highly interactive, based on the 4C’s approach described in Sharon Bowman’s Training from the Back of the Room.

Connection Activity (10 mins)

  • Participants in their table groups identify 3 or 4 challenges they encounter with Observational Coaching.

Concepts (25 mins)

  • Introduction into Team Coaching Framework (TCF) and Observational Coaching.
  • What is Observer Expectancy Effect or Observer bias?
  • Micro-Observations vs Insights: Avoiding Observer’s Bias

Concrete Practice (40 mins)

  • Participants observe a short video, and share observations with their table.
  • Participants will apply each step of TCF to the case study video in their table group:

- Hypothesis: Each table is asked to come up with up to two or more hypotheses about why they are encountering these specifics in their scenario.

- Goal: Each table should identify where they would like to help the team in their scenario get to

- Indicators: tables identify how they’d know the team was progressing or reached the goal

- Coaching Tool Selection

There will be a debrief after each step of the TCF where each table shares their thoughts the wider audience.

Conclusion (15 mins)

  • Participants discuss how on they can apply TCF at their organisation.
  • Presenters will share from their experience on how to build a Coaching Group in Your Organization with Structured Coaching
  • Q & A

Learning Outcome

  1. To be able to explain the structured approach to coaching framework.
  2. Apply different techniques in observational coaching.
  3. Learn to avoid observer bias in your coaching.
  4. Learn to apply tools and techniques on building a coaching culture in your organisation.
  5. You will demonstrate on how to create transparency in your coaching.
  6. Learn to inspect and adapt in your coaching.
  7. Learn to apply validating learning in your coaching.

Target Audience

Scrum Masters, Agile Coaches, Executives, Managers and Agile Leaders

Prerequisites for Attendees

Be in the present!!

schedule Submitted 4 years ago

  • Melissa Boggs

    Melissa Boggs - Exhaustion is Not a Status Symbol

    Melissa Boggs
    Melissa Boggs
    VP, Business Agility
    Sauce Labs
    schedule 4 years ago
    Sold Out!
    60 Mins

    In her book, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, Brene Brown shares her 10 Guideposts of Wholehearted Living. Number 7 on that list is “Cultivating Play and Rest: Letting Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self-Worth”. This resonates strongly with the 8th agile principle about sustainable pace.

    In the world of Scrum software development, it is all too easy to get caught up in pumping out user stories and increasing velocity sprint after sprint, but what does that type of hamster wheel mentality do to us physically, mentally, and spiritually? For that matter, what impact does it have on our products? Are we building fast things, or the right things? Are we making time to dream up big, new ideas and/or to build a cohesive team around our mission?

    Work-life balance is a buzzword that we throw around, but how often does the culture of an organization support exactly the opposite? Hero culture is rewarded, and our output viewed as a measure of our worth on performance reviews. We set out to transform the world of work with agile and with Scrum, yet I’ve heard the Scrum sprint cycle described as a “hamster wheel”, an endless conveyor belt of backlog and sprint reviews that the developers cannot escape. This is not congruent with what we read in the agile values and principles.

    I’m interested in inspiring a discussion about the pitfalls of a competitive exhausted culture, and how we in the Scrum community, even with the best of intentions, could be “accidentally responsible” for continuing to spin the hamster wheel. Hero culture has been discussed before, but have we addressed our own potential culpability in creating it? We need to make sure that the principles and practices of Scrum are being used for good, not for evil. It all starts with a conversation.

    In this discussion, we will explore the dangers of exhaustion as a status symbol -- for our organizational culture, our teams, and ourselves. We will discuss the specific risks of inadvertently creating a competitive exhausted culture within an agile transformation, and the ways in which we can leverage the agile values and principles in order to mitigate those risks. Lastly, we will take a look inward to assess our own attitudes and views about work life balance.

  • Sunny Dhillon

    Sunny Dhillon / Hugo Medeiros - Spice up your scrum with improv!!

    60 Mins

    Have you ever been part of a great team? A team where you loved to come to work every day, a team that encouraged to accomplish goals that you felt were nearly impossible?

    Have you ever been on a team from hell? A team with constant conflict, disagreements and fear of speaking the truth?

    In his book, “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”, Peter Lencioni refers to trust as a foundational and key ingredient to high performing teams. Exercises in this workshop will allow individuals to become more self aware and increase their vulnerability to build a stronger bond of trust.

    Many principles that actors live by are the same principles that a high performing agile team should live by as well. The session is all about focusing and strengthening those key skills needed by agile teams.

    Many of us think we can’t do improv. We get stuck in our head and panic, afraid we might not know what to do or say. This workshop involves highly interactive group activities that are fun and fast paced designed to help communicate effectively and think on your feet. Games are intentionally ordered to focus first on creating safety for the groups before advancing to more complex topics as collaboration and risk taking.

    Improv will make you think about your team, your organisation and yourself differently, in the context of your agile environment.

  • Richard Dolman

    Richard Dolman - Mirror, Mirror on the wall, what are the worst Vanity Metrics of them all?

    90 Mins

    Let’s face it, Metrics are a staple of virtually every IT organization.

    Unfortunately, they are often poorly understood and horribly misused.

    But what are Metrics anyway? It’s just Data, right? Specifically, it’s empirical data. Learning from, and basing our decision-making on, empirical data is a good thing.

    The intent behind Metrics is to improve. A very Agile idea indeed. Ironically, rampant misuse tends to create more waste than value. Teams often don't understand or believe in them. Managers often misinterpret them or never really use them. NOT a very Agile idea.

    We can change this. It's not just a Fairy Tale.

    We can empower teams to take ownership of their data, including defining what data really helps them improve. We can educate management to better understand what to ask for and how to properly interpret the data. Thus, turning Vanity metrics into Valuable metrics, that can be used for good, not for evil.

    It starts by having an open conversation with genuine curiosity about what really matters and asking, "Is the data a real reflection of the truth?", "Can you consistently reproduce the same results (good or bad)?" and "What decisions can we make, or actions we can take, based on these metrics?" This workshop will explore these and other questions as well as provide a way to apply a well-known model to test for 'vanity'.