Let us first define and standardize on what coaching is.“Coaching is a form of development in which a person called a coach supports a learner or client in achieving a specific personal or professional goal by providing training and guidance. The learner is sometimes called a coachee. Occasionally, coaching may mean an informal relationship between two people, of whom one has more experience and expertise than the other and offers advice and guidance as the latter learns; but coaching differs from mentoring in focusing on specific tasks or objectives, as opposed to more general goals or overall development.” – Wikipedia And from an Agile Coaching perspective the Agile Coaching Institute’s framework is by the most recognized framework by many in the Agile community. The only thing I think it is missing is explicitly calling out Change Management – but I suppose that may be implied in the framework itself.
Source: Agile Coaching Institute
I personally believe most organizations do a poor job of a combination or all of framework: change management, mentoring, teaching, coaching and facilitating. And really most workers are not often taught those skills in university or in the workplace. When’s the last time your organization had a program to take a 21st century mindset of managing and leading knowledge workers with a coaching stance? And when those workers get promoted to management or leadership roles – it creates a vicious cyclical cycle where organizations are purely focused on optimizing for delivering for the immediate need – not focused on optimizing how to deliver. Not thinking long-term. And I believe this is where Agile Coaching plays a critical role – not only coaching teams, managers, and leaders – but also coaching to a strong base of how the organization can self-reflect on continuously optimizing delivery. So is there value in coaching? Absolutely. I like to draw on my high school basketball days of when I was a coachee to explain this. Did I know how to play basketball at least on a very basic, fundamental level before I had a coach? Yes, I knew how to dribble, pass, and shoot the ball (actually through years of coaching starting in 4th grade). The goal of The Game was put the ball into the basket and prevent my opponent from doing the same; whoever had put the ball into the basket the most times at the end of the time-box of a single game won. Furthermore, I understood the rules of the game such as I couldn’t move with the ball unless you were dribbling it. But as a freshmen in high school I knew I can grow and hone my basketball skills through continuous discipline and continuous practice. My individual goals such as I want to “increase my free throw percentage from 70% to 80% this next season” needed proper coaching to help increase my likelihood of hitting my goal for the season. Techniques on how to shoot the ball, bending of my elbows, bending of my knees, proper shooting mechanics and mental ways to “block out” the noise were coached and guided to me based on my unique contextual environment (in this case my body, my arms, the level I was starting at, my already bad habits, etc.).