Programs for Agile Coaches, Scrum Masters, Product Owners and Lean Consultants

Agile working has a lot of advantages. However, since it is different than before it also comes with (unexpected) challenges that go further than what is taught in most courses for Agile Coaches, Scrum Masters, Product Owners, Lean Consultants, Chapter/Tribe/Squad Leads or Chapter Coaches.

For example:

  • Employees revert to old patterns.
  • Employees have a hard time with self-management or self-organization.
  • There is a need for more communication, but employees don’t know how to do this in the right way. Often they fall in extremes: become silent or dominant. In both cases the connection that is necessary for constructive solutions is absent.
  • Employees are confronted with themselves and get stressed about it.
  • Old structures are still in play like old ways of reporting from team members to the manager or vice versa. Often both parties don’t know how to change this pattern or to discuss it in a proper way.

Underlying Causes

There are three, often overlooked, causes why the implementation of agile working is not always easy.

They are:

  • The vibe of the individual or the team is not taken into account.
  • Not knowing how to deal with tensions.
  • No idea of the bonding cycle and hence not taking it into account.

Vibes

There are four vibes:

  • Negative: people complain, blame others and are defensive.
  • Neutral: the job gets done, but not much more.
  • Positive: people are enthusiastic and work towards goals, but the full potential is not reached yet.
  • Inspiring: there is a contagious excitement and focus on both results and well-being.

If people are not at least in the positive vibe, they are not ready to embrace change (yet) and really commit to working in an agile way.

Tensions

There are three kinds of tensions:

  • Practical or process tension: the goals of the project are not clear, an unexpected problem shows up causing the timing to shift, (temporarily) not having access to the right tools, etc.
  • Personal tension: not feeling able to do what is expected in the new role, low self-esteem, internal resistance against agile working, not being able to voice needs and concerns, etc.
  • Interpersonal tension: not getting along with a colleague, customer or supplier; having conflicts with them; not feeling comfortable in their company, etc.

Bonding Cycle

The four phases of the bonding cycle (by George Kohlrieser) are: attach, bond, separate and grief.

For any change (project) this means that people have to separate from the old situation in order to attach and bond to the new one.

On the one hand this means being able to say goodbye to the old way of working in order to embrace agile working. On the other hand this dynamic is at play with every other change. For example when a project ends, when the team composition changes or when flexible (home) working is introduced.

The phase that is usually forgotten is the grief phase. When there is not enough space, time and the proper attention, people can get stuck there. The result is that they are not engaged and committed to the new situation.

When agile working or a new project is started, the following phenomenon often shows up: since most people don’t know how to properly deal with tensions, the vibe goes down and they end up temporarily or permanently in the grief phase of the bonding cycle.

Solution

To deal with these underlying causes, we use two ingredients:

  • The D.U.E.T. process to transform tensions, which allows the vibe to rise.
  • Compassionate Leadership to facilitate this process as Agile Coach, Scrum Master, Product Owner, Lean Consultant, Chapter/Tribe/Squad Lead or Chapter Coach.

Ingredient 1: D.U.E.T. Process

The four-step D.U.E.T. process consists of a set of techniques that are designed to transform the particular tension at hand and if necessary its roots.

These are the four steps:

  • Detect and face the tension.
  • Understand and solve the tension.
  • Embrace and transform the root of the tension.
  • Take action.

The consequence of being able to transform tensions is that the vibe wil rise. Or at least that it doesn’t go down when agile working is introduced or when there are lots of new tensions due to a new change project.

Ingredient 2: Compassionate Leadership

To transform tension, another kind of leading or facilitating than the traditional command and control approach is necessary. We call it Compassionate Leadership.

The short version is being able to act from a compassionate attitude. This is for someĀ Agile Coaches, Scrum Masters, Product Owners and Lean Consultants enough to start with.

The default version is becoming a Compassionate Leader. This is a program for personal development where the techniques from the D.U.E.T. process are applied together with other tools and methods.

We have compiled them in the Compassionate Leader Pathway.

Programs for Agile Coaches, Scrum Masters, Product Owners and Lean Consultants

We offer three different programs to Agile Coaches, Scrum Masters, Product Owners and Lean Consultants. All of them contain (parts of) the D.U.E.T. process and the Compassionate Leader Pathway:

  • The Compassionate Leader Experience for Agile Coaches, Scrum Masters, Product Owners and Lean Consultants
  • Transforming Tensions Program for Agile Coaches, Scrum Masters, Product Owners and Lean Consultants
  • Compassionate Leadership Program for Agile Coaches, Scrum Masters, Product Owners and Lean Consultants

The focus for all three is:

  • Offering a framework and techniques that can be applied in any situation instead of a specific solution for each kind of problem. This helps to react to new tensions that arise in a fast changing world in an agile way.
  • Teaching the tools and techniques so the participants can apply them with individuals and teams they coach and facilitate. In other words: self-reliance and independency from us.

Comparison of the Programs

The Compassionate Leader ExperienceTransforming Tensions ProgramCompassionate Leadership Program
Topics
  • The three most overlooked causes why agile working is often harder than expected:
    • Differences in vibes
    • Don’t know how to deal with different kinds of tensions
    • Not knowing (and hence not taking into account) the bonding cycle
  • Overview of the D.U.E.T. process to transform tensions
  • Compassionate Leadership: the (new) attitude to facilitate others
  • The Compassion Technique to solve interpersonal tension
  • Everything from the Experience plus
  • All techniques from the D.U.E.T. process:
    • Compassion Technique
    • ABCs of De-stressing
    • Compassionate Problem Solving
    • Compassion Quadrants
    • Inner Balance Technique short version
    • Compassionate Communication
  • Everything from the Transforming Tensions Program plus
  • Extra tools and methods to:
    • Stand in your own power
    • Improve your judgment of other people’s situation
    • Discover and transform blind spots, shadow sides and blocks
Timing1 day3 x 1 day plus 3 intervision sessions3 x 2 days plus 4 intervision sessions
Result
  • Insights in vibes, tensions and the bonding cycle plus practical tips about what to look out for and what to do.
  • Being able to apply the Compassion Technique with others.
  • Insights in vibes, tensions and the bonding cycle plus practical tips about what to look out for and what to do.
  • Being able to apply all the techniques from the D.U.E.T. process with others.
  • Being able to facilitate others with a more compassionate attitude.
  • Insights in vibes, tensions and the bonding cycle plus practical tips about what to look out for and what to do.
  • Being able to apply all the techniques from the D.U.E.T. process with others.
  • Being able to facilitate others with a more compassionate attitude.
  • Becoming a true Compassionate Leader.

Remark: The Compassionate Leader Experience is often organized first to get to a feeling of our approach and then choose one of the two other programs. Or one or more employees attend a public session first (see calendar).

Team and Personal Coaching

As already mentioned, the focus in these programs is on transferring our knowledge and teaching the techniques and methods to Agile Coaches, Scrum Masters, Product Owners and Lean Consultants.

However, if there are acute tensions in a team or individual – where there is no time to wait until the internal employees are trained -, we can (temporarily) facilitate a team or coach an employee.

Contact

Get in touch to discuss the right approach for your team or organization.