The Missing Coaching Stance

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The Missing Coaching Stance

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I’ve historically shared different agile coaching models that help to define the various focus points (stances) of an effective agile coach. Currently, my favorite model is the one that Mark Summers shared from a Scrum Alliance Coaching Retreat working group. It’s called the Agile Coaching Growth Wheel and you can find out more about it here

The other day I was in a coaching session with my personal coach and the notion of inspiration came up as it relates to being a coach. And we were exploring how one of the roles of a coach might be one of providing inspiration.

And as I have thought about it since then, I’m starting to think that this isn’t simply a concept or minor activity, but that it might be a full-fledged stance (or new spoke) in the Coaching Wheel. So, in a major way, my coach inspired me to write this…

Do agile coaches have a responsibility to provide inspiration?

Yes, I think they do!

Beyond the coaching competencies and our own skills, I believe folks are looking to us as role models. As being exemplars of—

  • Yes, and…

  • Yes, cheerleading—You can do it!

  • Yes, let me show you what leaping a tall building looks like, you can leap tall buildings;

  • Yes, let me help you establish big goals;

  • Yes, let me help co-create a large, all-inclusive vision for what’s possible;

  • Yes, by setting a tone, attitude, stance and leading by example;

  • While strongly holding to the—Art of the Possible.

I think of some of these terms coming into play…

  • Storyteller

  • Igniter

  • Energizer

  • Role model

  • Instigator

  • Challenger

  • Normalizer

  • Empathizer

  • Motivator

  • Cheerleader

When I think of a coach inspiring me. Probably one of the most important for me is when a coach shares that they’ve had similar challenges. That serves as an inspiration and it also normalizes my challenges. This is particularly important for me.

For example, a while back I wrote a blog article that focused on Imposter Syndrome. I was sharing some of my own experiences with it. It was actually a hard article for me to write and even harder to share. But my main motivation for sharing was to serve as a role model and to normalize Imposter Syndrome a bit.

I don’t think so. I just think we ought to show it. One of the great ways to do that is via storytelling. Sharing our stories with our coaching clients. Sharing our successes, but also sharing our (gulp) mistakes, learnings, fears, growth, and discovery.

And, of course, there’s a balance to be struck here. So, this isn’t about the coach dominating with energy or stories. But it is about the coach occasionally showing up and intentionally adopting a stance of inspiration when they believe it will help their client achieve their goals.

From an Agile Coaching Growth Wheel perspective, I think inspiration aligns closely with modeling. But I want to call it out separately because I think it’s that important.

So, as a coach, the next time your coaching a stakeholder, leader, team member, client, individual, group, etc. think about how you’re showing up and how your demonstrating inspiration.

And don’t focus on big inspiration. My experience is that it’s mostly the “little things”, shared by being transparent and vulnerable with your own stories, that can provide the most inspiration to your clients.

I hope this article has in some small way…inspired you.

Stay agile my friends,

Bob.

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