Agile coaching is meant to help individuals, leaders, and teams work through issues and help them change the behaviours needed to improve agility. One of the key traits that a coach needs is the ability to listen, empathize and help the coached to work through the problem themselves. If the coach listens and observes what is going on, providing guidance to have individuals and teams find the solution themselves is one of the most outstanding achievements they can do.

Coaching sessions are essential for gathering the information and getting the coachee to find the solution. In today’s world, where most meetings are done online than in a face-to-face setting, the level of attentiveness needed for a coach is higher. It is too easy to have outside distractions that can disrupt the flow and thinking processes needed to help.

In the book “Co-Active Coaching” by Henry and Karen Kimsey-House, Sandhal and Whitworth discuss three listening levels that a coach can have. Levels 1 through 3.

If a coach listens at level 1, not only will the session be for not, that coach will lose any future attention to those being coached.

Level 1 is all about the coach; they have their agenda and don’t listen to what is being said or going on. They provide the best solution they feel is best instead of helping them find it themselves. This behaviour goes against the whole Agile Coaching Code of Ethics. n the end not very good for an agile coach to do.

In a recent discussion about listening levels, a situation was brought up that would shake people’s heads.

During a coaching session where the agile coach was on the team for over a month and a half, after the team had been together for a year and a half with drastic improvements since the initial transformation, and has been invited to all the events for observation, here was the outcome.

  • The coach didn’t know the sprint duration.
  • Rarely showed up to events to understand what was going on
  • Tried to change the sprint length without understanding how the team works
  • Did not provide any observations
  • The coach pushed biased solutions without any honest discussion with the tea.m

At the end of the session,n the team completely shut the coach out. There were even rumblings about why is the coach even there since it was all about the coach’s views and no one else’s. In one 30-minute call, a significant impediment was put in that coach’s path to help the team.

Co-Active coaching is an excellent book for any coach to read through to become a great coach and to avoid situations,s as detailed above,e where the loss of the coachee in a short period does not help anybody.

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