Coaching Katas: Building Self-Awareness as an Agile Coach
An agile coach needs to be able to do many different things that are not coaching. One of the basic skills of agile coaching is to understand when to coach and when not to coach and to know what else you might do instead.
This workshop will introduce you to a coaching stances model that includes coaching, teaching, mentoring, advising, and role modeling. We use this model to help you evaluate where you most frequently reside – as well as which stances you may be uncomfortable with.
From there, participants will use exercises to help each other build self-awareness of which stance they are in at the moment and how to move deliberately between them to use the most appropriate one for each situation.
Finally, participants will learn how to use a kata approach to gain deeper learning about coaching stances with practice.
Outline/Structure of the Workshop
This workshop starts with information presented on the definition of the different stances and a floor exercise where class attendees self-identify their preferred and avoided stances to begin thinking critically about their own style engaging others.
Afterward, we demonstrate a small-group exercise in which one person role-plays being a coach for another person with a particular question or problem. The person being the coach must physically move between stances as they change them in the conversation. The observers in the group provide feedback on what they saw.
The workshop attendees then break into small groups of three or four and rotate through these roles.
The workshop wraps up with a debrief about what was learned as well as the benefits of the kata approach in this area.
While flexible in schedule, I would expect a 75-minute workshop to look something like this:
0:05 What is Coaching? Systemic vs Sport vs Agile Coaching
0:15 5 Coaching Stances: Coaching, Teaching, Advising, Mentoring, and Role Modeling
0:30 Stance Floor Exercise: Move to and discuss with your neighbors your default stance and then the stance that you avoid / are least comfortable with.
0:45 Coaching Stance Role Play: Whole Workshop Observes the speaker and go through a coaching stance exercise kata and provide observations (see next step for larger description)
0:55 Coaching Stance Role Play pt 2: The workshop breaks into groups of three. The triad is made of up a coach, coachee, and observer. The group conducts a short coaching conversation in which the coach actively move between stances on the floor to show intentional movement. The coachee and Observer provide feedback on what they saw in the conversation.
1:35 Taking this Home: The kata approach to stances. There is a movement in technical circle to practice code kata - the regular repetition of code exercises to gain practice and deeper understanding of a topic. As professional coaches, we rarely get to hone our craft. It's like a professional athlete that only plays games and never practices. These katas that we can do with other coaches give us a chance to practice and improve.
1:50 Q&A, Closing
- learn the Five Agile Coaching Stances
- reflect on which stances they are most comfortable with and which they struggle with
- experience examples of when moving into an alternate stance may be advantageous and how to quickly move back to a coaching stance.
- Learn how a kata approach to this practice can gain deeper learning over time
Scrum Masters, Coaches, and anyone who wants to practice being more self-aware when helping others.
Prerequisites for Attendees