Agile Coach as Personal Trainer

Agile Coach as Personal Trainer

I was interviewing a personal trainer the other day. I asked them—

How should I measure your effectiveness and your value as my personal trainer to achieve the outcomes I desire?

And she responded with something interesting. She said, you can’t.

She followed up with—

My personal value and effectiveness must be coupled with your ability to partner with me to realize the results you seek. You see, at least how I see it, we’re in this together.

She went on to say—

I am highly skilled at personal training. I can suggest your diet, set you up with a personalized exercise program, ask you to set personal goals and be there if you have any questions. I can also pivot quickly to make any adjustments to our plans that you feel are needed.

But you own the work, the outcomes, and the results. I can’t be successful without you, and I imagine you need me for my expertise and guidance.

In some ways, we have a symbiotic relationship.

This conversation came up in our Moose Herd session the other day as a metaphor to explore the relationship of an agile coach to their client and how to determine (measure) the value of the coach.

Some in the Herd contributed a variety of metrics to measure the coach’s impact. All of them were individualized to the coach and ranged from output to outcome to impact metrics. Some of them were pretty balanced and good.

I had some heartburn with the discussion because I struggled with independently measuring the coach without including a partnership with the client. The client, in this sense, is anyone the coach is coaching.

To be even more precise and more substantial, I think it’s a bad idea for a coach to allow their clients to try and independently measure their impact.

For example, if I’m a team coach, how can I measure my effectiveness without coupling it with the team’s efficacy AND leadership’s effectiveness in establishing a supportive culture?

While you can certainly measure me…I don’t think it’s fair, balanced, or meaningful. 

Any coach is not only coaching a client, but they are also coaching the client’s system. And it’s the system that’s the culprit here if you want to measure impact truly.

So, if you’re ever challenged with this question as a Scrum Master or Agile Coach—

How should I measure your effectiveness and your value as my Scrum Master or Agile Coach to achieve the outcomes I desire?

I invite you to consider answering with the following—

You can’t.

My value and effectiveness must be coupled with your ability to partner with me to realize the results you seek. At least the way I see it, we’re in this together. And from an agile coaching perspective, we’re also part of the organizational system, so our success (or failure) is done together.

Stay agile my friends,

Bob.

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