Are tough questions good questions?

I am gradually reading through a great book called “The power of making thinking visible.” It is meant to be a guide for teachers who want to improve thinking in the classroom, but it is also a great guide for structures that coaches can use for the same purpose at work. What follows is me making my own thinking about some concepts in the book – so flaws in the thinking probably represent the maturity of my thinking here rather than a flaw in the content of the book 🙂 One of the ideas hidden in some of the techniques … Continue reading Are tough questions good questions?

Forcing functions for good and evil

I sometimes question whether I should focus more on coaching the team or changing the environment to unleash the team. Choosing between the two can be a real dilemma for me. However, there are some coaching tools that are useful in both helping the team grow AND creating space to support that growth in the organisation. A “forcing function” is one of those things. The name is bit obscure and like all good ideas in agile coaching, they are used to mean different things to different people at different times, to ensure that any smart curious person can remain confused … Continue reading Forcing functions for good and evil

I did not say slow down to speed up later

A while ago now, I was listening to a great presentation by Pat Reed, who is an excellent agile coach. (Editor’s note – if you are interested, you can learn more about Pat by watching this video, which is one of a series of interviews with women who have had a big impact on the agile world). Anyway, back to my story. The presentation was going very well until Pat said “I think one of the greatest challenges for this organization will be to convince our teams to be willing to do less.” People nodded, but Pat paused for effect. … Continue reading I did not say slow down to speed up later

The broken record technique

In agile teams, people give each other feedback all the time. Sometimes it is feedback about things that can be done better and often it is about expressing gratitude or pointing out something that was done well. In fact I would say that good feedback is one of the things that drives agile teams forward. Without it, teams can get burnt out, burning through an endless backlog without seeing the progress they have been making. Sometimes though, agile teams can also start suffering from group think, talkfests and unhealthy conversations. This is where a technique called the broken record technique … Continue reading The broken record technique

Why don’t people listen to feedback

I was collating my thoughts about feedback recently and I started to think about whether people listen to feedback. I like to think that my keen observations are helping people see things that they had been missing and, equipped with this new knowledge, that they will reflect on it and find improvements in their lives. In short, the world will get better one conversation at a time. Unfortunately I know that my words sometimes fall on deaf ears, which raises the question: Assuming someone asked for feedback and the feedback was potentially useful, why would they not listen? I believe … Continue reading Why don’t people listen to feedback