Agile Mentors Podcast

Agile Mentors Podcast

Practical advice for making agile work in the real world

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#42: The Importance of Self-Mastery with Bob Galen

April 05, 2023     35 minutes

Join Brian and Bob Galen, Agile Coach and author, as they explore the significance of self-mastery in leadership and coaching.


In this episode of the Agile Mentors podcast, Brian and Bob Galen, Agile Coach, author, and podcast host, discuss the importance of self-mastery for leaders and coaches.

Bob emphasizes the significance of self-reflection, journaling, and introspection as tools to mine valuable information from one's history in order to move forward successfully.

Listen in to understand the crucial role emotional intelligence and self-mastery play in leadership and coaching and how one can balance their needs with those of the team and organization.

Listen Now to discover:

[01:09] - Brian welcomes Bob Galen as a special guest on the podcast.
[01:30] - Brian and Bob discuss the concept of inside-out mastery for an agile coach.
[02:32] - Bob explains that the agile coaching growth wheel emphasizes self-mastery as a central aspect for coaches to consider.
[03:42] - Self-mastery is a mindset that emphasizes coaching from the inside-out. It includes coaching presence, listening skills, and self-care.
[05:00] - Bob emphasizes the importance of having a coach and active mentors to improve self-mastery and humility.
[07:40] - Bob discusses the importance of continuous improvement of agile coaches and leaders for self-mastery and shares his own journey.
[09:12] - Bob emphasizes the importance of becoming a "feedback sponge" and activating self-awareness as a critical part of self-mastery for agile coaches while activating assessments to understand how they are perceived.
[09:53] - Developing emotional intelligence—a critical aspect of self-mastery.
[10:03] - Brian compares the concept of self-awareness to a principle in acting called "intention versus action." He explains that understanding the intention behind someone's actions is important for interactions with others.
[11:21] - Bob describes the concept of "meta skills," or mindsets that guide how coaches should show up with clients.
[13:02] - Bob suggests that coaches should take 5 minutes before coaching conversations to "clean themselves up" and get rid of biases and baggage.
[14:48] - Brian shares his approach to coaching when he’s had a bad day.
[15:09] - Why it’s important to show vulnerability as a coach, even though it can be challenging and how that creates space for clients to do the same.
[16:50] - Bob emphasizes the importance of modeling and how it can be used to highlight certain behaviors or values.
[17:39] - Brian adds that self-awareness is crucial for effective modeling and coaching and shares an example where he dropped the ball on that and how he corrected his behavior.
[18:38] - The power of modeling in coaching and the importance of making a conscious choice to model positive behavior.
[19:18] - Brian shares the sponsor for the podcast, Better User Stories, a one-day live online training course with Mike Cohn to improve your user story writing, so your team can do its best work, faster.
[19:59] - Bob shares the importance of journaling for capturing observations and reflecting on experiences to improve future behavior and why he requires it in his leadership class.
[21:03] -The journal is like breadcrumbs, not just for the past, but the future.
[21:16] - Brian shares his own experience with journaling and why he considers it a crucial tool in coaching.
[23:48] - How wonderful it would be if leaders felt comfortable enough to model their vulnerability to their organizations.
[24:03] - Leadership sometimes feels like putting on a brave face and being a strong presence, but vulnerability can actually create more safety and change the ecosystem in a positive way.
[25:15] - Bob shares that showing humanity can be a real advantage in creating a resilient organization and shaping its culture.
[26:44] - Brian reflects on how his actions as a leader shaped the culture of the organization (even when actions went against traditional ideas of what a leader should do).
[27:35] - Bob shares an example of how journaling helped a young lady who was struggling with her job to go back and mine her history for valuable information.
[29:36] - Brian reflects on the importance of reflection and learning from past failures.
[30:02] - Bob brings home the concept of historical learning and self-mastery through journaling and reflection.
[30:28] - Check out Bob's podcast, “Meta-Cast.
[34:09] -Join the Agile Mentors Community for further discussion, and if you have an idea for the show or feedback, we'd love to hear from you. Email Brian.

References and resources mentioned in the show:

Mountain Goat Software's Better User Stories
cORSC - CRR Global
The Agile Coaching Growth Wheel | Scrum Alliance
Join the Agile Mentors Community
Mountain Goat Software Certified Scrum and Agile Training Schedule
Scrum Alliance
Subscribe to the Agile Mentors Podcast on Apple Podcasts

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This episode’s presenters are:

Brian Milner is SVP of coaching and training at Mountain Goat Software. He’s passionate about making a difference in people’s day-to-day work, influenced by his own experience of transitioning to Scrum and seeing improvements in work/life balance, honesty, respect, and the quality of work.

Bob Galen is a renowned Agile coach, speaker, and author with over 30 years of experience in software development. He has authored books such as “Extraordinarily Badass Agile Coaching:The Journey From Beginning to Mastery and Beyond,” "Scrum Product Ownership - Balancing Value from the Inside Out" and "Three Pillars of Agile Quality and Testing.” He frequently speaks at Agile conferences and events, sharing his knowledge and experiences in Agile testing and coaching. You can listen to him on his podcast, Meta-Cast.