coaching

Quality Questions Quality Answers

Quality Questions Quality Answers

Day 136. ‘Why are you fat?’ That is a low-quality question to a person — to a coachee — who is trying to lose weight. It is not a solution-oriented question... it makes the recipient defensive... it is low-energy question... has a negative vibe... it is a problem-oriented / problem-facing question... it is not exciting... lacks forward-looking possibilities. Another way of asking: ‘What is your reason for wanting to lose weight? How important is this to you?‘ Followed by: ‘Tell me about your typical day.’ Another example of a low quality question: Continue reading
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Look For Possibilities

Instead of asking ‘What should we do?’ ... try asking this instead: ‘What could we do?’ A group of friends entered a restaurant on a busy Saturday night. They were informed that the wait time is 45 minutes. One of the friends asked the group: ‘What should we do?’ — looking for a directive/prescriptive answer. Another friend from the group asked: ‘What could we do?’ — looking for possibilities/ideas from the group. The latter created conversations that lead to a decision by the group. The former met a dead end... silence.
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Coaching

The squirrel was in deep thought -- about a problem... and the boy -- the squirrel's friend -- knelt down to the squirrel's level... and asked what he was thinking about...a dialogue ensued... the boy asked 'tell me more...' ; the squirrel complied... then the boy asked a 'what if' question... provoked the squirrel to think of a vision towards a possible solution... the squirrel pondered... and then he shouted 'eureka!' He found the solution!
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Coaching

Helpful things to help you along your 'change' journey. Guidance -- sometimes, we need guidance along the way. For example, Sherpas -- a member of a people of Tibetan stock living in the Nepalese Himalayas -- often serve as guides and/or porters on treacherous mountain-climbing expeditions... for a better path. Bright Spots -- seek 'success' stories and try to 'duplicate' it considering your own context. Encouragement -- we need encouragement from time to time. Eyes on the goal -- goal will not only pushes us towards the direction we are going to... it also pulls us through tough times.
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Coaching

With the rational mind and the irrational mind both in agreement to move forward in the same direction... movement towards the 'goal' is expected...correct? Not necessarily. Sometimes, the scripted move and the emotional force could face a daunting condition... an uphill battle... or a Sisyphean work... There is then a need to set the path... the environment or condition to be a pleasure...a cakewalk; not daunting, not off-putting. Read on for the last installment... To be continued.
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Coaching

A person is moved not just by emotion (irrational mind) alone... the rational mind could rein things in... and vice-versa. That's why change is hard... specially transformational changes at the enterprise and at the personal level. The rational and irrational parts of the mind are not in agreement. How to move forward then? Try this: feed the emotional side (with fear or self interest. Also, read my post on SCARF) and script the critical moves (stop the thinking overdrive/analysis paralysis). Is that all? Not quite... read on... To be continued...
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Coaching

We all have the irrational side of our brains... the emotional side. Even though we think about something... and scripted the critical next move... appealing to the rational side of our brains... if we don't appeal to our irrational side of our brain... our emotions... we are not moved! Napoleon got it right on the emotional context: Men are moved by two levers only: fear and self interest. -- Napoleon Bonaparte To be continued...
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Coaching

Have you heard of the term, 'analysis paralysis'? That's when we over think/analyze things and as a result, we cannot move forward to the direction we want to go. That's a feature of the brain -- we think... too much... needlessly 'spinning our wheels' and going nowhere! This might be the case as to why some people -- even though they have gone through numerous SAFe trainings -- are 'paralyzed'... cannot move forward. If you are the coach, to alleviate that 'over thinking/analysis' that is crippling the coachee, script the next 'critical move' that the coachee must make now (putting…
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Coaching

Sometimes, even though people already know the concepts -- having gone through SAFe classes -- they still are at a lost as to how to proceed. What to do? To be continued...
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Purpose, Intent, PI Objectives, Iteration Goals, and Strategy

Everyone has a purpose (an intent of what to accomplish (i.e. 'CI = Commander's Intent' In the military realm) in mind on what to do when they go into PI Planning. But to truly turn activity into achievement, replace your purpose with a clear and focused PI Objectives. PI Objective, must be SMART. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound... made ahead... with guidance of its achievement from the Product Manager or Business Owner. Use a series of SMART iteration goals as key results / indicators towards the achievement of the Objectives. These are the OKRs -- Objectives and Key Results.…
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Student and Coaches

Student and Coaches

This day (Friday, August 9) is unique ... two coaches for my daughter for her preparation to tomorrow's recital; I find their coaching very apt as well for Lean Agile... I've adapted most of their piano coaching styles in my Lean Agile coaching.
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Nip It In The Bud

Nip It In The Bud

'Lily... Lily... stop. Do you want to have a problem in the future?' my daughter's piano teacher gently exclaimed. She was referring to a bad form my daughter is developing. I thought, that's kind of cool! I since then took the piano teacher's technique and added it to my coaching toolbox... and used it to my coachees (and to myself) when needed. Scrum masters, Release Train Engineers, Enterprise Coaches: If you see a bad habit begin to develop with your teammates and with you yourself, try to nip it in the bud so that it does not become ingrained!
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Permission Coaching

Permission Coaching

Permission coaching is a method of coaching where the potential coachee willingly and knowledgeably agree to receive coaching from a coach and signs up for the process themselves. Permission coaching is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal, and relevant coaching to people who actually want coaching. Before you -- yes you, coach -- provide some coaching, ask first for permission to provide such coaching; unsolicited coaching is a turn off or even worse, the person will stop listening to you because they feel threatened or do not feel safe. Example phrases on permission coaching: "I’d like to…
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Teams and Coaches at 2019 ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament

Teams and Coaches at 2019 ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament

The 2019 ACC Men's Basketball Tournament is the postseason men's basketball tournament for the Atlantic Coast Conference being held right now at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina from March 12–16, 2019. It is the 66th annual edition of the tournament. Teams' and coaches' respective prowesses in full display. All teams are high-performing teams. The fruits of their labor are the shots they make into points... the results...outcomes of value; got to produce/achieve these! The thing is, a team can dribble, steal, rebound, pass, attempt and miss shots...and for a great length of time with no score? That's ridiculous! That…
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Try Using the Power of a Metaphor…

Try Using the Power of a Metaphor…

Have your team try using the power of a metaphor…a metaphor that each member is familiar with. Good exercise to try is this: have your team come up with a metaphor that they can use to evoke emotions…powerful enough to kindle some sparks to the team’s quest for high performance… which would be way beyond how they are performing today… beyond just going through their daily grind and going through the motions. For example, a fruit-bearing tree comes to mind. Ask your team these powerful questions (have them ponder about it): what are the “fruits of their labor”? What manifests…
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Coach where your coachee is at, using …

Coach where your coachee is at, using …

Can you imagine talking about an idea to someone... and at the end of your talk they did not get what you were talking about? Have you had a coaching moment like that with your coachee? So, what to do? May I offer two things for your consideration: 1) Use the power of language: Build your idea piece by piece out of concepts that your coachee already understands using language that already exists in his/her mind… her/his language, not yours! Start where he/she is at. Use language to weave together the idea with the terms and concepts your coachee understands.…
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Being a Technical Coach. Part VII

Being a Technical Coach. Part VII

OKR -- the golden thread / tie that binds...CFR -- the conversations, feedback, recognition that makes the OKR more meaningful, purposeful, and impactful. Objectives and key results (OKR) -- is a powerful and useful tool. You set objectives and its corresponding key result (Feedback loop) to see how you are progressing towards the achievement of the goal/objective. Without OKR, inattention to where you are heading and inattention to result happen. Inattention to results is a sign of a team dysfunction. Setting goals/objectives with key results defined is paramount. At the team-level, every iteration must have an iteration goal and key…
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Being a Technical Coach. Part VI

Being a Technical Coach. Part VI

Team-level. Why bother having a Daily Standup (DSU)? Every iteration has at least one iteration goal... and it must be S.M.A.R.T. goal... and meaningful goal. A meaningful conversation about a meaningful goal at a DSU is a good DSU. A conversation with the team on how you are progressing the iteration goal is more meaningful than you just telling what you have done for a particular story on the iteration. You can also talk about any impediment that is stopping you from progressing... or any dependency that could put the iteration at risk. Feedback -- fast feedback from the team…
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Being a Technical Coach. Part V

Being a Technical Coach. Part V

OKR and CFR ... you have heard these before... right? OKR = Objectives and key results. CFR = Conversation, Feedback, Recognition. SAFe has OKRs and CFRs written all over the place but not explicitly called as such ... but the spirits of these two live in and alive in SAFe. So where can we find OKRs and CFRs in SAFe? How do these two relate to scaling up from teams to program to large solution to Portfolio to the enterprise's? As a SAFe technical coach (I am referring to SAFe SPCs) and a business coach, you must be aware of…
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Being a Technical Coach. Part IV

Being a Technical Coach. Part IV

SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) -- if SAFe were a school, it would be much like a huge public school with 1000 + students. A small magnet school scaled up; Scrum scaled up! It can also be scaled up to a huge University! SAFe's core -- at the team-level -- is Scrum. Scaled up to a team of agile teams (Agile Release Train (ART)) at a program-level. Scaled up to a team of team of agile teams at a large solutions level. On top of that, there is a portfolio-level with themes to connect to the enterprise's strategy. Its power is…
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Being a Technical Coach. Part II

Within the Lean-Agile domain/subject of interest, the following will be covered here: Kanban, Scrum, and SAFe. Let's start with Kanban. If these three (Kanban, Scrum, SAFe) were schools, Kanban would be a Montessori school... where free-spirited children thrive... children who take things as they come and complete all things whenever these get completed. The car shop is another analogy ...they take in car repairs as they come ... no pre-planning ... no constraint on how long the repair will take ... just an estimate ... it will be done when it is done. A related good read about this car…
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Being a Technical Coach

Being a Technical Coach

Yes, there is such a thing as technical coach... and not solely a transformational coach. There is also a business coach -- if you are curious as to what else is out there...many more types of coaches of course; but we will stick with these three types of coaches. One person can be all of these three types of coaches; or be a specialist to one type. The context of this series is about 'Lean-Agile'. Just setting the stage/boundary... for better focus and clarity. It is not all about mindset shift ... one should also be superior in technical matters...…
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Be Aware of Limiting Beliefs. Part II

Be Aware of Limiting Beliefs. Part II

It all starts with what we experience and observable data that we have on hand. Remember the story about the six blind men describing what they are observing and experiencing? Yeah, one of the five men observed that he is holding a fan...the others said something else different from each other: rope, tree, wall, spear, snake! They are describing observable data that they have on hand. To be continued.
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Be Aware of Limiting Beliefs

Limiting beliefs is exactly what that meant: it limits our opportunities, our vision, our understanding, our potential, our emotional intelligence... that's just naming a few things our limiting beliefs take away from us. What are your limiting beliefs as a coach? What are the limiting beliefs of the coachee? Would you like to remove these limiting beliefs? But first, let's understand this first: How does a limiting belief come into one's mind? To be continued.
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Transformational Coaching: What Moves a Person to Change. Part VI

Transformational Coaching: What Moves a Person to Change. Part VI

Status: Sense of worth. If a person's sense of worth/status is threatened, that person will negatively respond to the change. Avoidance-response occurs. In contrast, if a person's sense of worth is perceived to increase, that person will positively respond to the change and move towards it. Approach-response occurs. Have you ever wondered why your company asks you to self-assess yourself in your 360 degrees performance review? This is to lessen the threat to your self-worth. During your coaching conversation with your coachee... be aware to not threaten the coachee's self-worth. Example: When providing a feedback, you use words like 'I've…
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Transformational Coaching: What Moves a Person to Change. Part III

Transformational Coaching: What Moves a Person to Change. Part III

The body has auto response to protect itself and seek for survival. Likewise, in social situations, the brain responds accordingly: threatened? Response is to retreat or fight; reward is on the horizon? Response is to move towards it. If there is a perceived pain that is associated to moving towards a certain direction, people will be hesitant and won't move towards it at all; in contrast, if there is a perceived pleasure that is associated to moving towards a certain direction, people will be enthused and will move towards it. If there is a perceived pain that is associated to…
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Transformational Coaching: What Moves a Person to Change. Part II

Transformational Coaching: What Moves a Person to Change. Part II

SAFe uses burning platform as a a visual / mental image of a catalyst for change... the 'tipping point' as SAFe and a lot of folks call it. 'Tipping point' causes one to change ... once reached, stubbornness of sticking to status quo softens... the road to transformation starts... transformational coaching begins! To be continued.
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