Agile Coaching Competency Map
For me a ‘mandatory’ part of my job is reflecting on how good I am at helping my clients at their transformation. Looking at what gives me energy and where I can improve myself. As a continuous learner I also really need help to focus on a few things to tackle at a time instead of learning all the things at the same time!
In this regard one of my most valuable tools has been the Agile Coaching Competency Framework [pdf], created by Lyssa Adkins and Micheal Spayd.
Besides helping myself I have also mentored and coached quite some agile coaches and Scrum masters in their learning journey. I find the framework gives me really good guidance to conduct an appreciative inquiry interview around their personal development.
If you just came here to download the free goodies, here is the PDF with the change agent maps and explanation. All I ask is to please not remove the references to the original framework and this blog, thank you:
Change Agent Maps
Visualize And Expand
Over the years I kept running into the ‘limitation’ that personal mastery is implicit in the model (in the underlying coaching stance) and unfortunately not visualized. I also think it’s broader than just the coaching stance. It’s about becoming more emotional mature, your mindset, overcoming or handling your challenges, leadership, etc.
This became most apparent at a brainstorm on ‘What is agile coaching?’ we ran at Retrospective Facilitators Gathering 2018. It was a great brainstorm with truly insightful discussions. Afterwards I plotted the input on the framework to make it more structured and valuable to people who couldn’t attend the session. I ended up with some topics (growth mindset, authenticity, know your limits, etc) which just didn’t belong to any of the existing categories, but are essential in becoming a great change agent. Grouping them onto an extra sheet and naming the group ‘You’ solved that I didn’t have to discard them.
As I love to visualize things, at first I made a version of the model where I drew a personal mastery circle in the middle. It puts the most important aspect in the center and it’s still symmetric, so I could still get a good night of sleep. Or so I thought, before my quality without compromise gene started itching… If I was going to edit the model, I should definitely incorporate the feedback I’ve gotten and experienced over the years.
What Was Edited
My voice-over of the model had changed continuously based on where people too often interpret it differently or I think it can be expanded to become even more valuable.
These are the tweaks I made, based on feedback I gathered from tens and tens of conversations, brainstorms and interviews:
- Agile-Lean Practioner > Teal/ Agile/ Lean/ Change: Broaden the basic transformation knowledge with some future (teal) and history (change management). I’m a big fan of the mindset of agnostic agile [web], but I believe it recursively applies to agile also. #inception
Did this to make agile believers aware that they should look beyond agile to be able to do the best thing in their given context.
NEW > Personal Mastery: In the middle so you stay aware that you should always focus and reflect on this aspect. Also this really shows how improving yourself scales to all the other soft and hard skills surrounding it.
Four core skills
- Teaching > Educating: Renamed as it feels less directive while conveying the same message (and more?).
- Changed the order of the skills. I envision an invisible grid in the background. On the top you see skills for which you need to have expertise, on the bottom skills in which you purely hold the process. On the left side are the skills which are mainly used in groups, on the right the skills which are most often used with individuals.
I’m fully aware the agile coaching competency framework was redesigned to at least cluster these competencies on expertise and process, but I believe that model doesn’t fit the purpose of personal development as well.
- Transformation Mastery > Organizational Transformation: The word transformation seems kinda sexy. Nearly everyone plots themselves in the original Transformation Mastery category at first. It could also be that it has more weight or prevalence compared to the other two. Though after elaborating on the three original categories, I mostly saw people switch from Transformation to one of the others, hardly ever saw someone switch back. Or am I part of a sample bias here…
Since transformation happens on all three domains I was looking for a better way to distinguish this from Biz and Tech and came up with Organizational Transformation.
Business / Technical Mastery > Transformation: Because of the reason above, I renamed Biz and Tech mastery to transformation. Nor sure if it also ‘solves’ the caveat that it isn’t directly visible you will only become a master in one of the three domains. When you start out that’s not a thing yet and when you have years of experience you won’t need to be told that anymore as you know that’s how it works. Right?
Reordered them from a customer perspective from left to right. Your product is what they interact with, your organization is what they get into contact with when applicable, and your tech is under the hood powering it all.
How to use
Will follow shortly… (Dude, did you seriously left the most important part out!?)
This model helps me focus on the aspects I train to become better in. Currently I’m working on a gigantic side-project around this during my commute or free time. The side-project is about mapping all the stuff I encounter in my quest for more transformation knowledge & skills on this model. Soonish I’m releasing that map to share it with the world, hoping it helps and inspires others as much as it does me. I don’t believe in a set curriculum, but more in offering a large body of knowledge . That way everyone can mix and match to build their own profile.
Below is the link to download the change agent map with a neutral map, all seniority level maps and one with explanation, based on the whitepaper [pdf] by Lyssa Adkins.