How to apply Guerrilla Coaching for Agile Transformation
If you're looking for a unique way to train your team, learn more about how guerrilla coaching techniques can introduce an element of surprise.
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"Coaching works because it's all about you. When you connect with what you really want and why — and take action — magical things can happen." Emma-Louise Elsey
Why This Topic?
What can we do to prepare organizational culture for Agile transformation? In one of the brainstorming sessions, this idea was coined and we started elaborating it.
This thought came in a conversion with a couple of leaders where they are asking how we can rapidly do something to can change the organizational culture, the DNA of the people.
Have you heard of guerrilla warfare?
The Spanish word "guerrilla" is the diminutive form of guerra, or "war."
It is a form of irregular warfare in which a small group of combatants, such as paramilitary personnel, armed civilians, or irregulars, use military tactics, including ambushes, sabotage, raids, petty warfare, hit-and-run tactics, and mobility to fight a larger and less-mobile traditional military.
In ancient times these actions were often associated with smaller tribal policies fighting a larger empire.
The term "guerrilla coaching" is inspired by guerrilla warfare, which focuses on unusual strategies to attain an objective. The term itself was from the inspiration of guerrilla warfare which was an unconventional warfare using different techniques from usual and small tactical strategies used by armed civilians.
But how does that translate into the work we do every day? In coaching, guerrilla techniques mostly play on the element of surprise. It sets out to create a highly unusual coaching that catches people by surprise in the sequence of their day-to-day routines with little budget to spend. This requires high vigor and resourcefulness, concentrated on grasping the attention of the team members at a more individual and unforgettable level.
Guerrilla coaching is unexpected. That makes it memorable and brings innovation.
How Can We Start This Guerrilla Coaching?
Engaging in guerrilla coaching tactics mostly involves catching your team by surprise. Here are some ways you can do that.
a) Walk into the team daily stand-up without informing the team members. Stop attending for the next couple of days. Share your observation about the improvements.
b) Review the team product backlog with the peer coaches and share the observations by the peer coach itself to the team for improvement. Call for meeting with the Product Owner to share the mid-sprint review comments. Witness, pay attention and inquire to know the client’s condition. Ensure that clients develop personal competencies and do not develop unhealthy dependencies on the coaching or mentoring relationship.
c) Facilitate one of the sprint demo meetings (other than the first sprint) and explain various factors to be taken care. Use directive and non-directive coaching techniques, e.g. tell, ask, provide answers, ask for solutions, and share the source of knowledge.
d) Invite the other Scrum team to visit the team you are coaching and let the teams explore and learn from each other. Allow team members from other departments, coach your team. Cross coaching and learning from each other. Call for open space agility discussion at the team level and department level.
e) Invite for one whole day of coaching and training where we discuss many topics, pain points, and solutions. Build coaching competency through demonstration and sessions (coach gets award based on the maximum best follower they produced). Play an Agile manifesto game with the team, which principles are working and which are not and what the team do to improve.
f) Invite leaders to a demo meeting of the other team, which they are not managing or accountable for. Share observation points. Share experiences, and examples from another team to inspire other team members
g) Invite executives for a floor or Gemba walk without informing the team members to share improvement feedback. Take everyone out for a walk. Discuss the best things happening around the transformation. Call for a shop floor quiz competition on Transformation, recognize top 5 winners, and ask them to speak about their transformation journey.
h) Invite leadership team members for a town hall presentation to share with all others what they have done and open it for Q&A. Reward the team members for their extra contribution in a large gathering once every four months. Call for competition, for the Best Collaborative team and the Best Collaborative person of the quarter. Recognize them and ask them to present their case studies to the public.
“Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.” – George S. Patton
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