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  • Writer's pictureyashasree barve

Value Journal for Coaches - Lyssa Adkins - Learning from Agile Virtual Summit

Agile Virtual Summit 2021 was held between June 7th to 11th 2021. Few sessions that I could attend given it was in PT timezone were surely wonderful in terms of knowledge gained. Thanks to Adam Weisbart for organizing such a wonderful conference as well as offering a free ticket for some early birds!

I wanted to reflect back on two sessions that I really enjoyed and are pertinent to my current work. One was by Lyssa Adkins on Coaching Agile Teams Deep Dive: So What Did You Actually DO? and the other one by Ken Rubin on Dependency Myth Busting – Avoiding the Widely Held Beliefs That Can Kill Your Agility at Scale.

Lemme start with Lyssa's talk. It was a talk extremely relevant to my current role as an agile coach. She talked about "So what did you actually DO?". It's so common to get this question from our leaders and managers and customers. So much has changed from expectations from managers to drive the teams to get results, controlling team's work to achieve predictability, favoring proven or safe options, and delivering based on plans. This has moved now towards expectations about creating environment so that teams drive results themselves, instilling accountability and safety by coaches.

She also mentioned about the Business Agility institute's State of Agile coaching report where most commonly mentioned value for coaches were improving agility across the organization, communication, collaboration and transparency or improving delivery speed and quality. Least used were improving metrics or management mindset.

Lyssa also shared another viewpoint by Jesse Fewell to measure the coach performance like other services provided with like CSAT, NPS or CES (Customer effort score).

However Lyssa stated that one may not be able to link many of these to the direct contribution by the coach. She proposed a concept of "Value-I-Delivered" journal. The coaching journal to be maintained every day to note down what value was delivered every single day because of what the coach did that day. For e.g. if it was about facilitating the retrospective, what happened because the coach facilitated in a certain way. What if the coach was not there, would anything different have happened? What was the value addition done by the coach because of what he / she did or shared or proposed and so on.

I loved this idea. I often note down what to do each day or even what I did on a daily basis. However Lyssa's proposal is taking it to the next level, using a "Pause and Reflect" concept on a daily basis. Apart from it becoming an actual journal of the value delivered that can be used to discuss with the customer when the question "So what did you actually DO?" comes up, I personally believe it might also serve as a sounding board for self. When we reflect for ourselves the value delivered, I can also think of 10 different ways of making it better or delivering further value. It might also serve us as a reminder of our purpose and great work we are doing in turn becoming our intrinsic motivation. Reminding us of ideas, approaches to discuss with fellow coaches and scrum masters when we meet.

If you want to know more about the journal practice, Lyssa's coaching agile teams book has it under "Claim your victory" section and here's a video where she requested coaches to maintain a value journal and share what they learnt from it.

I am excited to practice this at least weekly if not daily, and see how it helps!

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