SPECIAL XMAS BONUS: Ryan Ripley on Scrum Masters and Coaches, and what that means in practice

In this episode, we cover the very broad topic of coaching. We dive deeper into the meaning of the term, and what that means for Scrum Masters.

We start by defining what coaching is, and Ryan makes the case for Coaching as a profession and a career path. Coaching is at the end – citing Ryan – about “revealing insights about the systems of work without actually resolving them.”

Ryan describes the process we can use to live up to this statement and shares his own hard-earned insights about the role of a coach working for the Agile teams and organizations.

Working with new teams

Not all teams are created equal, and our coaching approach needs to follow the natural progression that teams go through. We review the different team stages, and what coaches need to be aware of when working with teams in those different stages. As we progress in our work with teams we shift progressively to be “background instruments”, as Jeff Kosciejew describes in his Success episode.

Ryan introduces the concept of “holding the space”, one of the key aspects of our work as coaches.


Working with advanced teams

Just like with new teams, our work as Scrum Masters and coaches changes when we work with teams that have a long experience, and might already be performing well. In this part of the conversation, we talk about 2 books that influenced Ryan and his coaching journey. Zen in the martial arts by Joe Hyams, and Lean Startup by Eric Ries.

When working with advanced teams our focus shifts towards helping them find Validated Learning, and we discuss how getting ourselves and the teams into beginner’s mind can help in that process (read Arlo Belshee’s Promiscuous Pairing and Beginner’s Mind (PDF download!) to learn more).

Starting our own coaching journey

As we end this episode we talk about how we can start our own journey towards being and behaving like a coach. Ryan shares with us resources and concrete tips we can use to guide our learning journey.

Ryan leaves us with one advice, take a course to develop your leadership and coaching skills. The course is The Leadership Gift, a program by Christopher Avery, the author of The Responsibility Process.



EXTRA BONUS!: an episode from Ryan’s own podcast, Agile For Humans

In this podcast, we include Ryan’s Agile for Humans podcast episode #65. Listen to the end to get this special extra bonus!

About Ryan Ripley

Ryan Ripley loves helping people do great work. He is a servant leader at heart and is passionate about fostering safety and trust in the workplace. Ryan created the Agile for Humans podcast to put the focus back on the individuals and interactions that make agile work.
You can link up with Ryan Ripley on LinkedIn and connect with Ryan Ripley on Twitter.
Ryan also hosts a popular Agile podcast: Agile for Humans.

Be sure to check it out!

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