Hello, Scrum Masters! Hope you’re doing a great job and that you are inspired in your everyday journey called Scrum Framework. For all of us, the sky is a limit. Especially in our professional careers. Let’s face this fact: Scrum framework is nowadays so popular and desirable across the whole the world. The World Economic Forum has named the Scrum Master as one of the top three emerging job roles in Product Development (source: Jobs of Tomorrow 2020). With a 58% adoption rate across organizations globally (the 14th State of Agile, 2020), Scrum continues to enjoy its popularity for its ability to reduce time-to-market, enhance product/process quality, boost employee morale and even foster future-ready organizations.
Also, the Agile coaching market has been growing rapidly because of the mainstream adoption of Agile. In the 2019 “Most Promising Jobs” overview by LinkedIn, Scrum master (a type of Agile coach) was ranked in 10th place, with 104% year over year job opening growth and a base salary of around $100,000.
Agile is easy to understand, but hard to master
We are witnesses that the demand for skilled and certified Scrum Masters is seen to be growing across industries including telecommunications, education, retail, oil, finance & banking, insurance, consulting and government. Scrum Master who has been successful in a variety of different contexts and teams, might choose to move into a role as a mentor to other Scrum Masters. This can especially be true and feasible as the Scrum Master gains skills and experience.
The Scrum Master who loves the process more than the product is a likely candidate to follow a career path into becoming an Agile Coach or Mentor.
Who is an Agile Coach?
An Agile coach is a person who is responsible for creating and improving Agile processes within a team or a company. Agile coaches mostly come from project management, product management, IT, or software development backgrounds. Coaching is an entire profession. There are many skills involved in coaching. In this post, we want to share top coaching tips for all Scrum Masters, especially on the advanced level:
Coaching Tip #1: Focus on what people want, but really
That’s right. In many coaching conversations, people tend to focus on the problems they are facing. This can easily send people into justification or blame. It can also get people ruminating on their lack of control or ability to influence the situation. Instead, shift the conversation. Get people talking about what they want.
Coaching Tip #2: Remove judgment immediately
It is human nature to judge. Each one of us filters everything based on our experiences and beliefs. We may judge because we assume that others think the way we think or seek happiness and fulfillment in the same ways we do. We may judge because we don’t understand the behavior and try to make sense of it. The best way to counter this part of our human nature is to assume positive intent. We truly believe that people have good intentions.
Coaching Tip #3: Remember – it’s all about people
It is important not to make coaching conversations about you. If you go into a coaching conversation with your own agenda, with a belief that you know what people need to do, the results are not likely to be effective. Here are a few potential issues:
- You could be undermining self-management;
- You may be constraining the solution to your own experience;
- You may not help the other person discover what they truly want, build a strong desire to get there, and take responsibility;
Coaching Tip #4: Understand what’s important to people
And this is quite important. As humans, we each have innate values. These values drive our behaviors and our interactions. Values help us live our best lives and work productively in teams. Being able to identify values is a powerful coaching tool.
Coaching Tip #5: Work on yourself constantly so you can be good to others
Similar to being a good servant-leader, a good coach must continue to work on themselves. As you can tell from earlier tips, self-awareness and self-management are crucial skills for any coach. This personal work is never finished. Get out of your comfort zone. Stretch yourself and your ability to serve others as a coach.
Did you hear about GROW?
GROW model is one of the great examples what Scrum Masters use as one of the Coaching techniques.
GROW stands for:
- Current Reality
- Options (or Obstacles)
- Will (or Way Forward)
The model was originally developed in the 1980s by business coaches Graham Alexander, Alan Fine, and Sir John Whitmore.
A good way of thinking about the GROW Model is to think about how you’d plan a journey. First, you decide where you are going (the goal), and establish where you currently are (your current reality). You then explore various routes (the options) to your destination. In the final step, establishing the will, you ensure that you’re committed to making the journey, and are prepared for the obstacles that you could meet on the way.
And, this is one of the techniques that are important for all Scrum Masters who wanna upgrade their career to the next level.
At the end: What’s important?
Being a fantastic Scrum Master is an art. This can be fun, exciting and very rewarding career. Being able to look back on a successful project and thinking, “Look at what I helped the team create” is very satisfying. But, we’re all growing and pushing your limits, right?
So, Advanced Certified Course for Scrum Masters (A-CSM) is inevitable in the journey of one Scrum Master. This is a huge and serious step and requires will, discipline and enough good mood and energy. Especially if you’re working with Certified Trainers. Don’t hesitate, don’t be afraid and do it for yourself. The Agile world is so colorful and Scrum, as its part represents the brightest star in this fantastic Universe.