Scrum Master — A Scrum Values-driven Coach

Coaching is instrumental for any organization to thrive in a complex ecosystem


Scrum Values-driven Coach – It sounds esoteric isn’t it?

In this era of the digital revolution, the pace of complexity is growing at an exponential rate. It creates a need to develop the competencies of people with efficacy. Some of the key competencies are effective collaboration at the workplace and a community based learning culture. To build such competencies amongst people, the leaders must have appropriate conversations. Leader(s) must enact the coaching stance to instil the change and learning mindset.


Coaching is the universal language of change and learning — CNN

Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash

Let us start with the definition of Coaching from ICF, the gold standard for coaching.

ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. — ICF

Nowadays, Coaching is instrumental for any organization to thrive in a complex ecosystem. It is realized that the command and control way of instructing the people is no more valid. The more you collaborate and connect with empathy, the more successful are the employees. It is a mandatory skill for any leader to manage the system to create a safe pace and learn from experience. Hence the self-management ability is key to survive in the knowledge economy.

The self-managing capabilities of people and teams are essential for organisations embracing agile. In the Scrum Framework context, the success of the Scrum Team(s) must deliver value. Although the Scrum Master enacts many stances to help the organization deliver value. Coaching stance is crucial to improve and sustain the change implemented using Scrum.

Scrum Master as a Coach

The Scrum Master, as a Coach, must evolve their abilities continuously and consistently. That will enable them to serve the Scrum Team empirically.

Coaching the team members in self-management and cross-functionality; — Scrum Guide 2020

Leading, training, and coaching the organization in its Scrum adoption; — Scrum Guide 2020

If you believe that Coaching is a great and powerful way of developing and enabling the knowledge workers of the 21st Century workplaces. I assume that you might have this question on the top of your mind,

What is one way to cultivate this coaching habit in the context of Scrum Team?

This article is based on my experience of the coaching process espoused with the Scrum values. Scrum Values can be the guiding force while coaching the individual or Scrum Team to grow themselves as a “Values-driven Coach”.

Also, the below Scrum Guide statement supports it as follows,

These values give direction to the Scrum Team with regard to their work, actions, and behaviour. — Scrum Guide 2020

Scrum Values

Let us now explore how each of the Scrum Values can aid the Scrum Master’s Coaching stance. These will act as the empirical compass for the Scrum Master during the coaching process. To serve the Scrum Team, navigate the prevailing complex challenges.

Focus on global thinking underpinned with emotional intelligence. This enables the Scrum Master to ask thought-provoking questions to guide the individual or Team. So that they would become aware of the big picture and greater purpose to deliver value. Depending on the product, it can be either the customer’s needs or the Return on Investment to the Stakeholder(s).

Courage to let the individual discover his path towards mastery.
This helps the Scrum Master have effective coaching conversations with individuals or Teams to discover and master the art of their accountabilities within the team.

Commitment to the coaching process, relationships and coaching alliance. This reminds the Scrum Master to remain committed to the coaching process. In addition, the conversations are bound with complimenting agreements made before coaching began; it also solidifies the coaching relationship in an explicit manner.

Openness to listen actively attuned to the individual or system. This reminds the Scrum Master about the mindfulness aspect that is imperative for the coaching process. It also unlocks new possibilities of evoking the individual or Team during the coaching conversations.

Respect the confidentiality shared by the individual or system. This acts as a power source for the Scrum Master to build the necessary trust during the coaching process. It also helps in having meaningful and unbiased conversations with the individual or Team.

Closing Thoughts

I would like to share some key takeaways to summarise the significance of the Scrum values pertinent to coaching as follows,

  • Scrum values can act as the cornerstone to unlock the potential capabilities of individuals or the Scrum Team.
  • It builds the purposeful boundaries within the coaching process.
  • It serves the coaching relationship with the necessary commitment to help coachee reach his/her Goal.
  • Scrum values inspires the coach and coachee to experiment with new avenues of change and learning. It creates enduring impacts on their professional and personal journey of life.

I would encourage all the Scrum Master(s) or Agile Leader(s) to experiment with it. I am looking forward to hearing each of your success stories or learning moments.

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