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Tuesday, August 6 • 09:45 - 10:15
Downfalls of Coaching in a Hierarchical Model (Allison Pollard, Skylar Watson) POPULAR

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Companies of size require more than one coach for support. How does an organization know if coaching is worth the investment or not? During transformations, it’s common to structure coaches to focus on different parts of the organization based on their specialties (e.g., technical, executive, business/program), resulting in a hierarchical coaching model. Having a tiered coaching structure reduces visibility between the products’ outcomes and how things are implemented on the shop floor. With specialized coaches touching various parts of the organization, localized improvements may be achieved but a holistic view is lacking. Skylar and Allison found themselves frustrated and feeling minimized as agile coaches working where specialized and hierarchical coaching was the model being pushed.
In other engagements, Skylar and Allison would take a systems view to focus on practices with maximum impact to measurably improve teams and business outcomes by targeting coaching around specific products. Early conversations with a team may center on understanding what success for their product looks like and their current delivery capabilities. An approach of teaching agile practices from an organizational checklist shifts to determining what is preventing the team from delivering more value for the product and teaching techniques that help solve that problem.
Better organizational results can be achieved when coaches focus on helping teams meet their product goals. Skylar and Allison will share their experiences working in a hierarchical coaching model versus a product-based model and what they've learned along the way.

Lessons Learned from Your Experience:
  • A tiered coaching structure can lead to higher coaching WIP and less visibility of measurable results than a product-based coaching model
  • Recognized that our coaching group was mirroring the organization it served based on how coaches were assigned
  • Recognized we needed to change our approach as we struggled to answer questions about what was most important for us to focus on
  • The way a coaching group is organized affects its ability to positively impact the organization

avatar for Skylar Watson

Skylar Watson

Independent Consultant
Skylar Watson is a software consultant and owner of SkyNet software solutions where he implements high value software to satisfy customers needs. Skylar works with companies both domestically and internationally providing assistance on adopting agile software practices.
avatar for Allison Pollard

Allison Pollard

Agile Coach, Improving
Allison Pollard helps people discover their Agile instincts and develop their coaching abilities. As an Agile coach with Improving in Dallas, Allison enjoys mentoring others to become great Scrum Masters and fostering communities that provide sustainability for Agile transformations... Read More →

Tuesday August 6, 2019 09:45 - 10:15 EDT
Chesapeake 7/8/9