Change Agent Map – Transforming the Agile Coaching Competency Framework
For me a ‘mandatory’ part of my job is reflecting on how good I am at helping my clients at their transformation. Also looking at what gives me energy and where I can improve myself. As a continuous learner I need help to focus on a few things at a time instead of learning all the things at once! (I’m the kind of person that runs into mobile Safari’s limit of having max 500 tabs open…)
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, change agents, Scrum masters, etc in their learning journey. I find the framework gives me and them 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 explanations. Use as you wish, all I ask is to please respect and not remove the references to the original framework and this blog, thanks!
Change Agent Map [PDF] (Need the old version or interested in the name change from agile coaching? Read further!)
Visualize & Expand
Over the years I kept running into the ‘limitation’ that personal mastery is implicit in the model. It’s included in the underlying coaching stance and unfortunately not visualized. I also think it is broader than the coaching stance. It’s about becoming more emotionally mature and stable, broadening your mindset, overcoming or handling your challenges, finding your leadership style, etc.
This became most clear 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 didn’t belong to any of the existing categories, but are essential in becoming and being a great change agent. Grouping them on an extra sheet and naming the group ‘You’ solved that we 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 of personal(!) development in the center and it’s still symmetric, so I could 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.
My voice-over of the model had changed continuously based on where people too often interpret it differently from the whitepapers. I also added things which I find make it even more valuable.
These are the tweaks I made, based on feedback I gathered from tens and tens of conversations, brainstorms and coaching/mentoring sessions:
- Agile-Lean Practitioner > Teal/ Agile/ Lean/ Change: Broaden the basic transformation knowledge with some future (teal) and history (change management) topics. I’m a big fan of the mindset of agnostic agile [web], it should recursively apply to agile itself too. #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. Agile is not the goal in itself and there are other ways to deliver value. This broadening is also the reason I found the name change agent map more appropriate than agile coach map. Risk might be that lots of agile coaches might not find this map, while it can be of great value to them.
Also moved this section between the core (Personal Mastery) and the advanced topics at the bottom. Those advanced topics often seem the most attractive to people (OoOoHhH, transformation drools), while this should hardly be a focus in your first handful of years.
- NEW! > Personal Mastery: Literally at the center of it all, as this is where everything comes together. Helps you stay aware that you should always focus and reflect on this aspect. Also this amplifies how investing in yourself is investing in all the other soft and hard skills surrounding it. If you’re ‘stuck’ here, you will make little to no progress on the other parts. Keep an open mind to continuously improve, but don’t be too hard on yourself!
Four core skills
- Teaching > Educating: Renamed as it feels less directive while conveying the same message (and more?).
- Reorder based on grid: I envision an invisible grid in the background. On the top you see skills for which you purely hold the process. On the bottom skills in which you need to have expertise, close to the basic transformation knowledge it’s based on. On the left side are the skills which are mainly used guiding groups. Lastly on the right the skills which are most often used with individuals.
(I’m 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 as this one or the original).
- 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. After further explaining the three original categories, I mostly saw people switch from Transformation to one of the others, hardly ever saw someone switch back. That signaled an imbalance to me, so reason to rethink it (or am I part of a 100+ coaches large 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 > Business / Technical Transformation: Because of the reason above, I renamed Biz and Tech mastery to transformation. Not 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?
- Reorder them: Your product and customers visible in the front. Your tech platform powering it from behind the scenes. Your culture and org structure bringing it all together.
How to use
Feel free to experiment with it and use it in ways you see fit. As this blog is already long enough just introducing the map, inspiration on ways to use it will follow in a blog series:
- Change Agent Map (CAM) for self-reflection
This will show how to use it as a personal development map to stay focused or to guide your coaching and mentoring sessions
- CAM for peer review
This will supply some session formats to help you break away from self-perception and include peer-reflection
- CAM for coach profiles
When working with larger agile coach/change agent communities at the same company, having insight in each other’s strengths is really valuable
- CAM for opportunities and org hiring
Having insight in your internal community will give clearer development opportunities for existing coaches and when hiring, more tailored profiles in job applications
- CAM inspiration topics
Read the chapter below for the teaser on this one!
The strict career frameworks lots of organizations use were perfect fits for the Industrial Age. I‘ve experienced over and over how they highly limit people development in the Knowledge Age. Currently I’m working on a gigantic side-project around this Change Agent Map 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. When-it’s-done™ I’m releasing that map to share it with the world, hoping it helps and inspires others as much as it does me. It’s not based on a set curriculum, but more on offering a large body of topics for inspiration . That way everyone can mix and match to build their own personal profile.
Really looking forward to feedback or inspiration on ways you have used it. Would also love a shout out if this has been helpful to you in any way. Thanks for reading!
Below is the link to download the change agent map with a neutral map, all seniority level maps and ones with explanation, based on the whitepaper [PDF] by Lyssa Adkins.