Agile Mentors Podcast

Agile Mentors Podcast

Practical advice for making agile work in the real world

The Agile Mentors podcast is for agilists of all levels. Whether you’re new to agile and Scrum or have years of experience, listen in to find answers to your questions and new ways to succeed with agile.

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#53: Agile Coaching: Debunking Myths and Unlocking Excellence with Lucy O’Keefe

June 21, 2023     32 minutes

Unveiling the truth behind Agile coaching! Brian sits down with Lucy O'Keefe to debunk the misconceptions, share the keys to effective coaching, and share their insight on the one-two punch of training and coaching for sustainable success.


In this episode of the "Agile Mentors" podcast, Brian sits down with Lucy O'Keefe to debunk the misconceptions and unveil the true role of Agile coaches.

They share their personal stories and revelations and explore the pros and cons of moving from Scrum Master to Agile coach.

They'll walk listeners through the transformative power of external perspectives, navigating conflicts, and the collaborative mindset that fosters meaningful change. Plus, hear Lucy's invaluable advice on finding mentors and embarking on the journey to becoming a certified Team Coach.

Listen Now to Discover:

[01:10] - Brian welcomes CTC Agile Coach & Trainer Lucy O'Keefe, to the show for today’s discussion on the true role (and the common misconceptions about) of an Agile coach
[02:17] - Lucy shares her initial misconception about agile coaches and how it shaped her perception of their role.
[03:02] - Brian relates his experience with the term "Agile Coach" and his revelation when delving into the subject.
[04:16] - Lucy and Brian reflect on their transitions from exceptional Scrum Masters to agile coaching roles.
[05:53] - The pros, cons, and trade-offs of transitioning from a Scrum Master to an Agile coach.
[06:32] - The shift in focus that comes with Agile coaching and what to consider to determine if this change aligns with your preferences and career aspirations.
[07:12] - There's nothing wrong with being a kick *** Scrum Master. The world needs lots more like you.
[07:51] -How your role as a coach involves assisting your team and organization in their pursuit of progress (or debunking the myth of perfection in Agile).
[08:11] - An Agile coach is NOT merely an elevated Scrum Master.
[08:33] - The two opposing misconceptions about Agile coaching and the multifaceted aspects of coaching by Bob Galen.
[09:20] - Lucy emphasizes the importance of wearing multiple hats and the diverse skills required as an Agile coach.
[10:26] -Avoid the “Ferris Bueller's Day Off” scenario and ensure effective communication.
[11:16] - Learn to read the signs and strike the right balance to avoid frustrating situations and empower meaningful progress.
[11:54] - Professional coaching requires a willingness to engage deeply and tackle tough issues.
[13:38] - Knowing where to step in and when it's time not to step in.
[14:07] - Brian introduces the sponsor for this podcast episode, Mountain Goat Software, and their exceptional Scrum certification classes that go beyond a traditional online whiteboard for a fun and effective way to achieve learning objectives.
[14:52] - Effectively communicating the value proposition of having a team or enterprise coach.
[15:41] - The dynamics of internal and external coaches within organizations. And the transformative impact that external coaches can have on an organization’s ability to address impediments effectively.
[16:58] - Lucy shares how to approach coaching with a collaborative mindset, helping organizations see the value of change rather than imposing it and the questions. Agile coaches conduct assessments to uncover hidden issues to guide organizations to the areas for improvement.
[19:18] - Resistance to change often stems from fear of the unknown rather than change itself.
[19:57] - The most important thing to understand to help organizations reach the outcome they want and make the changes they need to make to get there.
[20:15] - Brian draws a parallel between the value of a coach and that of a therapist and how an outside viewpoint proves highly beneficial in understanding and addressing systemic issues within teams.
[21:29] - Asking the right questions to resolve the underlying issues through Agile coaching.
[22:42] - What coaches can and can't help with—knowing your limits as a coach and the lines NOT to cross to keep your coaching journey on track.
[23:40] -Don't settle for just training; go for the one-two punch of training and coaching—the winning combination that propels sustainable change.
[25:48] -Why would you need to take a class? Even Bob Galen realizes he always needs to grow and learn in what he’s doing to avoid becoming irrelevant.
[26:37] - Act with curiosity, but not curiosity for our own sake.
[27:30] - Lucy offers her advice for people who want to become a Certified Team Coach (CTC).
[29:02] - How to find the mentors that will offer you the most growth.
[29:55] If you have feedback for the show or topics for future episodes, email us by clicking here (if you have yet to get a response, send another one as something has gone wrong in the process). And don’t forget to subscribe to the “Agile Mentors” Podcast on Apple Podcasts so you never miss an episode.
[30:49] - Remember that Brian and Mike will speak at this year's Agile 2023 Conference in Orlando in July.

References and resources mentioned in the show:

#42: The Importance of Self-Mastery with Bob Galen
Certified Scrum Master Training and Scrum Certification
Mountain Goat Software Certified Scrum and Agile Training Schedule
Join the Agile Mentors Community
Subscribe to the "Agile Mentors" Podcast on Apple Podcasts

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This episode’s presenters are:

Brian Milner is the 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.

Lucy O'Keefe has over 28 years of IT experience and has worn multiple hats in the Agile world - developer, Product Owner, and Scrum Master and now, as a Teaching Assistant, where she leverages her diverse background to ensure students have an exceptional training experience.