Agile Coaching (NTUC LearningHub X ICAgile) – Key Learnings

I had the chance to attend the Agile Coaching course by Ranjeev Babu from the 19th to 21st June 2021. Here are some of the key learnings.


Focus on the person and not the problem. Sometimes, people don’t want a solution to their problems. They just want to be heard and validated.

Don’t focus on what you did. Focus on what the person is experiencing and sharing with him what others are experiencing/feeling too.

For example, Ranjeev shared the example of interacting with a peer that is facing issues with communicating with his boss. Instead of telling his peer how to overcome the situation, he phrased is such that – Has his peer considered why his boss is doing what he is doing? What are some challenges that his boss face – and how open communication between both parties will lead them to understand each other better.

Psychological Safety at Work

Psychological safety is the belief that you won’t be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes.

What is psychological safety at work in particular?

It’s a shared belief held by members of a team that others on the team will not embarrass, reject, or punish you for speaking up.

Focus of Agile Coach

Value centric – What is the value of this activity to the business?

Competency of the team – How can we improve the scrum team (human elements).
• Collaboration
• Creative
• Conflict

Practice active listening.

Paraphrasing – Active Listening

Forces your brain to always keep listening and be interested.

Gives the participant that you are genuinely interested with you.

Learn to paraphrase – you are IN the conversation all the time.

G.R.O.W Model

G: Goals & Aspirations
– What are you looking to achieve after this meeting? (Based on the problem that you are facing)
– What do we want to get out of this meeting?
– What’s the bigger picture?

R: Current Situation – Internal & External Obstacles (Reality)
– What is the current situation?
– What qualities/resources do you have to help you?
– What are the internal/external obstacles?

O: Possibilities, Strengths & Resources
– How would you tackle this if time wasn’t a factor?
– Give 5 options of finding a solution (write on a piece of paper)
– What option appeals to you most right now? (Vote which option is your priority, has the biggest impact)
– Name 3 actions you can take (if dependency is required) in order for you to get this person on board with you?
– What else could you do?

W: Actions & Accountability
– What will do you now?
– When will you do it? (Timeframe for doing the options that you have chosen)
– How will I know when you have been successful?
– How committed are you from a scale of 1 to 10

Questions Not To Ask (As NO Insight)

Avoid Asking “WHY” Questions in Coaching. As it is perceived as finding fault.

Questions To Ask To Generate Insight

Social Contract – For Instilling Discipline

Let the team decide what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. List out the dos and don’ts.

Ask the team what is the penalty that the team needs to pay if one “breaks” the contract. The penalty should be a deterrent.

For example, if someone comes late for a training, the individual have to:
– Sing a song
– Dance in front of the cameras

Tell the team that the contract is enforced for the next 1 month. Assign one person of the team to be the marshal, be the discipline master. This also ensures that one person of the team is behaving properly in that month.

Coaching Arc

The typical steps of coaching with the Agile framework. Always important that the coach is not trying to solve the problem.

Scenarios For Conflict Management

Scenario 1: Always acknowledge the (good) action.

Mention that the team member is very committed to the work and the company, and thank him for that.

Then ask the team member why he is not able to put that same commitment to talk to the other team member instead.

Scenario 2: Always acknowledge the (positive) action.

Acknowledge the extra work that she has done. Acknowledge that she feels to be respected and to deserve what she wants.

Ask her for the impact of her actions on her team and her work.

If she says that she doesn’t care, and she wants to get back, then partner & escalate out to the line manager.

Scenario 3: Always acknowledge the action.

Thanking the team member for being so brave and comfortable for coming up and mentioning this to you. Especially when this is something so personal to him.

Understand and ask the team member why is the hearing defect is this so embarrassing?