Warren Buffet maybe one of the best and renowned investors in the world, and believe me, he’s made quite a fortune throughout his career. But is money or material the only things you can invest in? If your career involves interacting, communicating, helping and guiding groups and individuals it may be worthwhile to consider yourself as the hottest commodity on the market.
This is especially true for Agile coaches, Agile managers and ScrumMasters. With the ascension in popularity and implementation of Agile methodologies investing in self-development is no longer an option. Organizations are now asking for individuals who are able to guide, positively influence and make a difference as coaches, managers and ScrumMasters.
A testament to this is the mindset alignment Lyssa Adkins and her team at the “Agile Coaching Institute” have taken.
The ACI favours coaching at a human level versus a technical level. Reason being they are fully aware that Agile transformation occurs when we as coaches and ScrumMasters prioritize individuals and interactions over processes and tools. We at Epicoaching stand by that mindset.
Considering individuals as an important part of transformation is by no means a revolutionary principle. Marshall McLuhan coined the term “The medium is the message” in 1964, demonstrating that the individual is an essential part of the message. It still stands try to this day.
That being said, coaches and ScrumMasters are not only vehicles but instruments of successful Agile transformations. Hence, the posture they adopt as messengers and evangelists of Agile values and principles are of the utmost importance.
To make my point, take a reputed stand-up comic and government official and have them deliver the same joke, word for word to the same audience. Which one do you think will have the most laughs? The stand-up comic clearly comes out as a winner on this one. The message, in this case the joke, fulfils its purpose, but only because the medium was fully aligned and shared the same purpose as the message.
Some people believe that being a stand-up comic is something that comes naturally. The make the assumption that most stand-ups succeed on their first try on the stage. As any stand-up comic will testify, that cannot be any further from the truth. Stand-up comics work very hard to create material that will have the impact they desire. But that is only a fraction of the work they do. Being able to deliver the skit is as much work if not more than the writing itself.
The point here is not to compare stand-up comics to coaches. The purpose is to expose the reality that roles that require interaction, communication and presentation require one to develop their ability to be fully present, in the moment.
A speech, conversation and even a song can feel awry when the person communicating or delivering is not fully present. For example, if you've ever witnessed a rewards ceremony like the Oscars you may have witnessed some memorable speech deliveries that just simply didn't seem right. This is mostly due to people succumbing to their instincts and from there ego takes control of the show.
Coaches and ScrumMasters may not fall prey to their egos to the extent that it makes them behave irrationally. However it does play an important role as to how receptive, open-minded and intentional they are when communicating with teams and individuals.
The appropriate question maybe: As a coach or ScrumMaster, what role does the ego play in your ability to be in complete service to your teams? How does it affect your capacity to truly listen and act without any biases or hidden agendas? Are you fully aware of your shadows that limit and constrain your perspectives, possibilities and actions?
Invest in yourself. It may just be the best investment of the year… or even your life.