Some people have asked, “Why coaching?”
In my studies for a role as scrum master and agile coach (beginning late 2013), I found a better way to blend my skills and passions after a lifetime in software and project management. A sprinkle of project management with a full measure of servant leadership, and second helpings of problem-solving, creativity-building, enabling innovation, and teamwork. And, building on some research that I had latched onto in 2004, I LOVE the idea of using games to deepen individual and team learning. Much more enjoyable!
In 2017-2018, I experimented with using scrum techniques and agile thinking while mentoring someone for a year. This mentorship focused on their personal life, and was not related to software, to tech, or to their professional skills. I had heard about people using scrum techniques at home with their kids and their chores. Seemed like it might make the thought process visual and enjoyable, and completion of the weekly tasks toward achieving the end goal would produce a nice dopamine ‘happy pill’. And it worked. Together, we worked our way through her goals, with some ups and downs during the year. We kept the big goals in sight as I helped her find smaller tasks to make progress, but adjust weekly to match her energy and availability.
In 2017, I volunteered at a local immersive tech education training facility, and had the chance to mentor/coach one of the students as she finalized her training and started her second career. Again, I found fulfillment in hearing her challenges, offering bits of wisdom, providing industry knowledge, and encouraging her to be brave and test new options. A year later, she called back to reconnect and receive some additional insights as she looks forward to her next career step. Just makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.
And, in 2017-2018, I created a few presentations for the Phoenix PMI and Scrum User Groups that offered a way for project managers (those used to waterfall and strictly-planned projects) and agile/scrum teams (used to highly flexible development methods) to see across their chasm and build a bridge. I created the idea of an ‘agile continuum’, applying agile/scrum terms and techniques within the framework of the PMI phases and knowledge areas. And then I built a game to make the learning fun. I created one way to see commonalities and communicate through the differences.
In Spring of 2018, I flew to northern Portugal for the XP 2018 conference in Porto. Surrounded by agile coaches, developers, and researchers, I found great joy again looking into what makes teams work well, about encouraging the creativity of all members of the teams, about the value of working closely with product owners to continually adapt and improve their products, and about the methods to increase creativity and innovation. And, I found that I loved northern Portugal. A country which is very old, and yet is now re-inventing itself into a new tech hub and research region.
In late 2018, my husband and I immigrated from Arizona to northern Portugal. And now, as 2019 begins, having launched a very non-traditional life in a foreign country, I look forward to a final career move into innovation and agility coaching… for business and personal growth, creativity, and enjoyment. In this phase of life, I’ve found a way to blend my skills, my knowledge and my passions for people and creativity. Finally.
As I launch into this new line of business, I remember the wisdom of others.
Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative place where no one else has ever been.Alan Alda
Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.Franklin D. Roosevelt
When you show deep empathy toward others, their defensive energy goes down, and positive energy replaces it. That’s when you can get more creative in solving problems.Stephen Covey
Coaching is about helping clients unlock the treasure-chest of their lives – worth bearing in mind then that diamonds are made from coal under pressure and it’s the grit in the oyster which creates the pearls.Sarah Durrant