Coaching Agile Teams | Lyssa Adkins

Summary of: Coaching Agile Teams: A Companion for ScrumMasters, Agile Coaches, and Project Managers in Transition
By: Lyssa Adkins


Dive into the world of agile coaching with Lyssa Adkins’ book, ‘Coaching Agile Teams: A Companion for ScrumMasters, Agile Coaches, and Project Managers in Transition’. This transformative guide offers a fresh perspective on leadership, focusing on fostering self-motivated, high-performing teams rather than adhering to traditional hierarchical structures. Discover how an agile coach masterfully balances roles as a teacher, collaborator, facilitator, and mentor to drive success from within the team itself. Prepare to journey alongside Adkins as she shares her transition from a command-and-control boss to an invisible orchestrator of brilliance, providing insights on creating psychological safety, promoting experimentation, and embracing risk-taking within the team.

Leading Through Agility

Agile management expert Lyssa Adkins emphasizes the importance of effective leadership in the workplace in her book. Her guide challenges traditional management norms by promoting a culture of accountability and goal-setting amongst small, individual teams. She believes that this approach is critical in unlocking greater levels of performance in today’s workforce. Embrace Adkins’s approach to bossing less and leading through agility to improve your team’s productivity and success.

Agile Coaching Tactics

Agile coaching aims to strike the perfect balance between micromanagement and a hands-off approach. In her book, Lisa Adkins details the roles of an agile coach as a teacher, collaborator, facilitator, and mentor. The best agile leaders are invisible orchestrators of high-performing self-motivated teams, motivated by a sense of purpose rather than rewards. Further, Adkins suggests that agile teams are self-organizing and able to learn from their mistakes, with those closest to a problem empowered to address it.

The Art of Agile Leadership

In “The Art of Agile Leadership,” Adkins shares her transformation from a command-and-control boss to an agile coach. She highlights the challenges of breaking old habits and the importance of staying self-aware. An agile coach functions as a member of the team and creates room for team members to make their own decisions. Instead of solving problems alone, the team works together to diagnose issues and create solutions. Adkins emphasizes the value of letting team members fill the void with their own solutions, making silence a key component of successful agile leadership.

Creating Safe Coaching Spaces

Coaching in a safe and confidential environment is essential for employee growth and development. To create a secure coaching space, coaches must establish an open, honest atmosphere where individuals feel comfortable discussing their fears and foibles. Agile coaches encourage experimentation and risk-taking to foster brilliance. To build trust, coaches should get to know their team and treat them with compassion, even those they dislike. By maintaining confidentiality and showing reliability, coaches can inspire higher levels of performance and loyalty in their employees.

Mastering Flexibility

As a traditional project manager, Adkins mastered technical subjects with ease, but leading an agile team proved challenging. She realized that her team needed a facilitator rather than a boss, and her job is to build a flexible structure that maintains order without impeding results. Adkins’ experience shows that creating a container for a team is more valuable than being a subject-matter expert. Regardless of the agenda, true concerns will always surface, and a successful team leader focuses on nurturing and maintaining team order to drive successful results.

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