Badass Agile Coaching: The Journey from Beginner to Mastery and Beyond Chapter 12 connects the brain and the mouth. Language is both essential and a deterrent for creating understanding. This is a provocative statement, but the truth of the statement is not open for debate. As a coach, opening the spigot between your brain and your mouth will rarely motivate anyone to change their behavior. As I have noted in the past, earlier in my career I took sales training. Two related concepts that stuck with me were the need to avoid mutual mystification and never to baffle the listener with bull-poop. The core of both of these concepts is language.

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Even if you focus your agile coaching practice on teams you will need to coach up the managerial and executive hierarchy of the team. Chapter 11 of Badass Agile Coaching: The Journey from Beginner to Mastery and Beyond titled The Badass Agile Coach’s Guide to Coaching UP, provides guidance for coaches of all levels of experience.

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Chapter 10 of Badass Agile Coaching: The Journey from Beginner to Mastery and Beyond enumerates the four meta-skills in the Coaching Growth Wheel. They are: 

  • Leadership, 
  • Change Artistry, 
  • Inspiration, and 
  • Role Modeling.

These four skills underpin the model and I strongly recommend a close reading of the chapter. We will focus on two of the skills in our discussion.

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Chapters 8 and 9 of Badass Agile Coaching: The Journey from Beginner to Mastery and Beyond are written by Mark Summers of Beliminal.  The chapters are a story of a coach engaging in an organizational shift to Agile and the workshops the coach used to get things moving in the right direction. The story fits into a business novel genre. I noticed a pattern in my reading as I worked through these chapters. During my first comprehensive read of a book of this type, I have a tendency to harvest practices and techniques, but the philosophy the author(s) are delivering flows around me. I suspect that what I find valuable in the parable is less the story and the macro rationale for behaviors but rather the tools the author is using to show how the characters are being manipulated. The activities are the punchline for me in my current reading context.  The big takeaways include the flow of planning of interactions, using a combination of stances, the post-interaction review-reflections, and the interaction with a mentor. Each of these activities or groups of activities requires upfront planning and conscious execution. Extraordinary badass agile coaching is not a profession where winging it works forever. When I was discussing using this book in the re-read series with colleagues, some said to me that they really did not want to be badass because it took too much effort. Maybe they were being facetious or sarcastic, but in reality, being good, at anything, is not a spectator sport. The comment was one of those things you just can’t unhear. The moral is to put in the effort and think before speaking.

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Chapter 7 of Badass Agile Coaching: The Journey from Beginner to Mastery and Beyond introduces The Agile Coaching Wheel and begins the second section of Extraordinary Badass Agile Coaching, which is focused on coaching models and practice.  

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Chapter 6 of Badass Agile Coaching: The Journey from Beginner to Mastery and Beyond is titled, Badass Agile Coaching Operating System. There are several important concepts to explore in this chapter all wrapped into the metaphor of a computer operating system. The book Great Big Agile (featured in Re-read Saturday in late 2020) also used this metaphor. It paints a useful picture of layers built on and communicating with other layers to achieve a larger purpose. I hate it, I am tired of it, and will probably use it next week to make a point.  Pushing all that aside the concepts that struck me during my read were:

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Today we re-read Chapter 5 of Extraordinarily Badass Agile Coaching: The Journey from Beginner to Mastery and Beyond. Coaching and conversations are highly intertwined activities. I am at a loss as to how I would coach without actively interacting with people. I think the idea of a conversation arc is something I naturally understood or perhaps the concept percolated in my mind from sales training (haven’t I strongly suggested sales training?). The idea of an arc to a coaching conversation makes perfect sense. 

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This week we re-read Chapter 4 of  Extraordinarily Badass Agile Coaching: The Journey from Beginner to Mastery and Beyond. Chapter 4, Badass Agile Coaching Agreements, focuses on the need for and structure of…coaching agreements (hence the name of the chapter :)). I use coaching agreements on a regular basis. They are an excellent idea. Galen states, “My point being: never, ever coach without establishing an agreement.” As I read and re-read this chapter I have thought long and hard about why I don’t use them all the time.

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This week we re-read Chapter 3 of  Extraordinarily Badass Agile Coaching: The Journey from Beginner to Mastery and Beyond. Chapter 3 discusses agile coaching frameworks. As someone that has struggled with always applying a purely professional coaching stance (I also collaborate, practice show and tell, and nudging) the idea of a single stance coach is anathema. All of the agile coaching models discussed in the chapter are multivariate and much closer to the guide role Allan Kelly, Woody Zuill, and I discussed in SPaMCAST 612.  All of the models focus on helping people deliver value in a way that supports people and organizations. 

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Chapter 2 of Extraordinarily Badass Agile Coaching: The Journey from Beginner to Mastery and Beyond begins the heavy lifting of describing what is required to be a badass agile coach (or just any kind of agile coach). When I began my career, I believed that skills and techniques were all that mattered. It took me a number of years and jobs to realize that mindset was just as important and to get to that realization I had to determine what mindset means. Mindset is important for any job but critical if you are coaching or mentoring others. Early in this chapter, Mr. Galen states:

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