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ScrumCast Coach The Coach #1 - What Kind of Coach Are You?

by Tom Bullock, Dee Rhoda | June 26, 2020 | Blog

This post is part of our new ScrumCast series of conversations with thought leaders who have successfully helped transform organizations and empower teams and individuals. Each episode will explore organizational Agility and Scrum patterns, tactics, and techniques that drive real-world success. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for the latest ScrumCast episodes. 

Every great team has a great coach. Every great Agile organization has a stable of great coaches to help drive, sustain and scale success across Video interview with Scrum Trainer Dee Rhodathe enterprise. 

In short, the quality of Scrum and Agile coaches matter. 

So we’re dedicating a few episodes of ScrumCast to helping Scrum Masters, Agile Coaches, and others master this craft. 

In Episode #1 host Tom Bullock speaks with Scrum Inc.’s Principal Consultant Dee Rhoda about her tips for becoming a great Scrum and Agile Coach. To help improve, Rhoda explains, one must first understand what type of coach they are.

When it comes to Scrum, a key differentiator in coaching is how they help teams understand the Scrum framework. Are they able to able to keep the integrity of Scrum as they apply it to their team?  Rhoda reminds us that great coaches consistently press the 3-5-3 (three roles, five events, three artifacts) on their teams.

Her honesty gives us a glimpse into the realization that coaches often have an uphill battle. “It’s not an easy job, it gets quite exhausting sometimes,” she remarks. With a difficult job, the role of a coach must bring significant value back to the company. 

“A coach really focuses on the performance of individuals, of teams, of companies, and helps guide them through self-exploration and knowledge on how they're going to achieve performance goals. A coach really sits down with you and says, where are you right now? Where do you want to go?”

By understanding your own personality, you can start to learn the ways in which your coaching will complement the team. From personality tests to the impression you leave on others, every detail is important. Rhoda says these personality tests are particularly valuable in determining your coaching style. 

Rhoda goes on to explain how these can play into personal biases. In one instance, she details an interaction during a meeting in which someone used a term that troubled her, and her coaching experience allowed her to take note of it to visit later on, but then turn her attention back to coaching the team.

“Because as somebody who's positive and upbeat all the time, if I'm coaching somebody who's really in a place where they can't handle that much energy, they can't handle that type of positivity. It stops them from fully engaging with me.”

With coaches having all this knowledge, it can make you wonder why they don’t make the decisions themselves. Tom Bullock visits this topic head-on by explaining “studies have shown and science proves that if the ideation happens in someone's head, it sticks longer. It actually takes roots.”

Rhoda agrees, “It's really super easy for us to tell other people, this is what you should do, but that's not the goal of a coach. A coach is there to help them figure out for themselves what they should do. They're guiding them in the knowledge to create higher performance. One of the biggest pitfalls we were just talking about is coaches that don't understand that they are not there to tell others what to do, that they are there to help them explore their own options and achieve their goals.”

“So for example, if you are coaching a Scrum team and they are deciding that they don't really need to do a Retrospective anymore, for you, that's an opportunity to step in and help them understand the process and that a Retrospective is an absolute in the Scrum framework.”

To view the full conversation on Coaching the Coaches with Tom Bullock and Dee Rhoda, click here.