Reflection — Agile Coaching Lab

I have recently concluded the Agile Coaching Lab as part of an awesome cohort. It was an amazing learning experience spread over 9 weeks which was challenging and eye-opening. I had been an active participant in various Agile meetups in Auckland and I am a Certified Scrum Master, this was the first time I engaged in structured learning for Agile. The journey was transformational at many levels, it helped me better understand the role of an agile coach and set myself on a path of being one.

Looking back at day 0 of the cohort, I was confused not knowing what to expect. Knowing Jakub, I knew it will be something unexpected and different and it really was. During our final session, while discussing the last 9 weeks, one thing that stood out was that in those 9 weeks we spent a lot of time building the mindset. Agile is not about Scrum or Kanban or Safe but it is more about transforming the team into a self-managed coherent unit that is focused on delivering business value. Agile Coach is not someone running the show but rather someone who holds the space while the team explores, experiments, and transforms.

I had the opportunity to work in groups during the cohort and it helped me learn from others as well. Working on challenging timelines in groups while juggling work and personal life gave us the opportunity to better understand teamwork and accountability at the personal and team levels. Working in groups gave me the opportunity to appreciate and understand the contribution of other team members. One of the highlights of group exercises was understanding the importance of the shared goal and how it impacts team performance.

Learnings from the ACL have also helped me at a personal level. I find myself resisting the urge of being a controlling father and rather help my kids evaluate and reflect on their decisions and choices. My personal interactions have also changed with people and I am relatively more self-aware.

Reflecting on those 9 weeks can take many pages, but I will conclude with this poem.

Trees By Ram Dass

“When you go out into the woods and you look at trees, you see all these different trees.

And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever.

And you look at the tree and you allow it. You appreciate it. You see why it is the way it is.

You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way.

And you don’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree.

The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying ‘You’re too this, or I’m too this.’

That judging mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees.

Which means appreciating them just the way they are.”