Coaching is a distinct and powerful skill from the eight other essential skills of a Certified Scrum Professional (CSP). Because coaching is an overloaded word in the English language, let me provide some guidance to describe what I mean when I am referring to coaching.
- The client already has everything they need to be successful within them. (assumption)
- The client drives the agenda with the coach, not the other way around. (boundary)
- The coach must have the explicit permission of the client to coach them. (boundary)
So what happens in a coaching session? In a coaching session, the client will talk about a struggle or challenge they are experiencing and ask the coach for help to help resolve the situation. How the situation is resolved is up to the client. Once the basic facts of the scenario have been described, usually the coach will ask the client something like this, “What sort of help are you looking for in this scenario?”
Based upon that response, the coach and client will enter into a deeper conversation about the situation, the role of the client in the scenario and what are some possible ways to go forward. During the coaching dialogue the coach will use some specialized techniques to help direct the conversation. All the while, the coach is mindful of their key assumption – the client already has everything they need to be successful within them – and keeps the dialogue focused on helping the client discover their own answers. Depending on the details of the challenge, the conversation can last from ten to fifty minutes.
Like most skills, the more you practice the better you get. If you are interested in practicing your coaching skills on your own, this cheat sheet has twelve simple coaching techniques you can use.