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Agile Coaching or Agile Hurting

A coaching job is painful. It could be true if a coach does not pay attention carefully. After having coached my teams to implement the concepts of Lean Manufacturing for more than a decade, including almost 3 years Agile experience, I have learned that a coach with love, a positive mindset, and patience can create happiness and success for a team.

Anyone needs love.

I have seen many people suffer from traditional management. They work on many special projects as well as their daily obligations. That is why they rarely deliver their products and services on schedule. They definitely know that they need to change something to be more effective, but they are scared to do so. They close their minds when they hear unfamiliar terms or technical words. They would be more open if someone walked them through the change process by step with care. For example, I introduced Agile to my first Agile education team in Thailand by not talking about Agile vocabulary. I instead asked them how I could help them to finish their project before the last night of their semester. This question woke them up from traditional project-based learning. Once they were ready to listen to something new. I taught my students with kindness. As a result, they successfully produced an app to help teachers view their teaching schedule and receive school information. Leading change with love creates meaningful results.

Thinking positively will create amazing outcomes.

Individuals are different. Some people are risk takers so they always welcome new ideas. They try to implement fresh thoughts and learn from results. Some people are just the opposite. They take time to decide whether or not they want to follow a new rout. They might be afraid of falling and then they create a huge barrier between themselves and challenges. I have to remember to be positive with anyone, especially people with a lot of resistance. A man, for example, told me what I was doing at his company was “fucking shit.” I still remember how strong the air felt from his mouth on my face. I just kept smiling and thanked to him. His opinion could not affect my feeling at all. I continued working with other people to create a powerful impact. At the end of this project, I interviewed the man again. He started his conversation with negative ideas, but he ended up thanking me because my new ideas were working so well. Being positive to people with resistance will build outstanding results.

Slow but sure is really true.

Like many people with the Agile mindset, I am hyper-active. I believe that you have seen me in many time zones, joining many events all over the world, and working on many projects per month. I have introduced Agile to public transportation, manufacturing, hospitality, education, and recently, environmental eco system management. I sometimes want to see a quick win. As a result, some projects were successful, but some have failed. A project involving people who work at different speeds and levels of intensity will need a lot of time to warm up. They will then start walking and running at the same velocity. I learned that I had to slow down and walk with them patiently. For instance, my client wanted to go Agile. We took more than a year to talk to all concerned people to understand the concept. For many weeks, we did not make any progress. As a coach, I had to be very patient by not pushing my teammates too much. However, once everyone accepted to embed Agile, they created impressive development together. Even now, after I have left, my former great team still makes progress toward sustainability.

In a nut shell, coaching will turn to be wonderful when a coach helps and supports people who want to transform themselves with love. A coach with positive attitudes will create possibilities for change for people with difficulties. A coach who recognizes the speed of other people will work patiently with a team.

This will make the coaching job meaningful.

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