How to Share Your Agile Expertise
- Resisting the Urge to Provide Unsolicited Expertise
- Handling Explicit Requests for Expertise
- Sharing the “Minimum Viable” Amount of Expertise
- We All Have Blind Spots
- Applying a Coaching Mindset to Teaching
- Creating a Self-Serve Knowledge-Sharing Environment
- Guidelines for Sharing Feedback and Expertise
- Additional Considerations for Sharing Feedback and Expertise
- Receiving Feedback as a Coach
- Chapter Summary
Although coaching is a major part of helping people move toward an Agile mindset and Agile way of working, your Agile knowledge and experience will also play a significant role. Learn how to offer expertise while maintaining a Professional Coaching mindset.
When you first start working with people, they may recognize your value only as an Agile expert and problem solver. They may not have had experience working with people who have Professional Coaching skills. In any given interaction, it is possible that the coachee will be able to move forward on their own without your Agile expertise or problem-solving skills. Considering that you won’t know in advance if that is the case, we recommend you start with the assumption that the coachee can move forward on their own. When you lean toward Professional Coaching over providing Agile expertise or problem-solving, you maximize the opportunity for your coachees to learn and grow in their ability to think and solve problems in an Agile way.
Our coaching principle related to expertise is the following:
In this chapter, we’ll look at how to hold back from offering expertise, when to switch from Professional Coaching to offering expertise, how to provide just enough expertise while staying in a coaching mindset, and how to switch back to Professional Coaching as soon as possible.
We define expertise as any knowledge, skill, experience, or problem-solving ability related to a specific field. There are many ways to share expertise. We include sharing observations, sharing feedback, and comparing expectations as forms of sharing expertise.
Resisting the Urge to Provide Unsolicited Expertise
It may seem that when someone approaches you in your capacity as an Agile Coach, Scrum Master, or Agile expert in some other role, there is an implicit request for your expertise. However, people often share expertise before it is explicitly asked for. The first and hardest part of staying in the coaching mode is resisting your own urge to share your expertise when you see an opportunity. People often say to us, “I just want to help people.” Providing expertise that can lead to a solution is one way to help. Professional Coaching is another way.
Before you provide any expertise, make sure that it is the right time to do so. It may be that the initial description of an issue is not the real issue. Coaching can help both the coach and the coachee make sure they are working on the real issue before going too deep into whatever comes up at first.
Also, if the coachee can arrive at a solution that works well for them without any expertise from you, then you have provided them with the opportunity to learn and grow in their ability to solve problems in an Agile way.
So the first step to staying in the coaching mode is to set an intention to only offer your expertise when it is explicitly asked for. See how long you can withhold offering expertise. Learning to resist the temptation to offer expertise before the coachee asks for it can take months of practice.