Three and half years ago I started on my CTC journey (Nov 2015). At the time we had the great good fortune of having Pete Behrens as our Enterprise Agile Coach (www.trailridgeconsulting.com ).
(Pete Behrens teaching and coaching at Cambridge Investment Research)
Pete is one of the top agile coaches in the world and we were fortunate he was able to work with us. He worked with our company for 2 years and has continued to be a mentor and inspire me. At the time he came I had finished my CSP (Certified Scrum Professional) certificate a year or two earlier and looked on Scrum Alliances web site for the next certificate, it was the CSC, which is now the CEC (Certified Enterprise Coach).
In talking with Pete (who was the head of the CSC) he mentioned that the CSC program was meant for coaches that had a variety of experiences, usually at different organizations, but that there was a new program, the CTC (Certified Team Coach) which was just starting. It was for more advanced coaches who were coaching others and didn’t require that they work at different companies but that they work in different capacities at the company and coach multi-team engagements.
So I decided to start. It took me a few months to fill out Part 1 of the application, I turned it in and 4 months later was told I didn’t have enough experience, please apply again in 6 months.
It was a bit of shock as the other certification offered by Scrum Alliance hadn’t been too difficult to obtain.
Pete gave me some great inspiration to continue and I got help from other mentors, Chris Waggoner and Roger Brown. They gave me some excellent feedback and suggestion on how I could improve
Based on their feedback I organized a study group around Lyssa Adkins book Agile Coaching and did many coaching sessions with fellow ScrumMasters and others in my company. I became a registered corporate coach, I reached out and gave a number of lectures and taught some classes at local universities on Agile and Scrum.
Most importantly I reached out to the Agile community, I attended many more conference and got connected to two online Agile groups (one from Austin and one from San Francisco)
(Zoom call from CTC group San Francisco (BAY ALN CTC))
By working with my mentors and connecting to the Agile community I was able grow and the second time I turned in my Part 1 for the CTC (early 2017) I passed!
In reaching out to the Agile community and talking with my mentors and visiting other companies on the their Agile journey I realized there were activities that I wanted to see happening at our work; fun community building activities like game night and paintball days and knowledge oriented activities like communities of practice (COP) around DevOps and Agile and gamification of these mindsets.
So I worked on helping facilitate these activities and found a lot of fulfillment and good growth of trust and communication in our department and teams
Below are pictures and paragraphs with some of the milestones along the journey.
DevSecOps Community of Practice-Automated Release presentation (Senior VPs, Directors, Scrum team embers)
Monthly game night which foster team and department cooperation and are just fun.
Our DevSecOps COP decided we would like to gamify our DevSecOps effort to increase engagement and visibility into our efforts. We came up with system of gamification and display for each of our apps. We increased release automation and communication between the different areas
As I was working to align with the business I realized I need to speak their language of continuous improvement. Our business is using a lean/six sigma system of continuous improvement (CI). So I worked through many CI projects, one of the best projects I worked on which has been crucial for aligning our technology department with the business has been the value stream mapping with its pain points shown below.
One of the most amazing highlight of the journey so far was going to the Global Scrum Gathering in Minneapolis. It was here I got to meet with my mentors/heroes and friends, attend and participate in the Coaching Clinic, see fantastic and inspirational speakers, meet many new friends and have the feeling that I had “found my tribe”
Working with the Coaching Clinic at the Global Scrum Gathering in Minneapolis
Meeting BAYLN CTC friends at the Gathering
One of the best things our ScrumMaster group did at work was forming into a ScrumMaster Scrum team. We work through are backlog together and have completed many experiments. Including
Using Agile on non-programming based teams
Teaching the business how to maximize stakeholder involvement with our Agile dev teams, that class is shown below
Reading the Agile Coaching book: “Agile Coaching Wisdom from Practitioners” was an amazing experience. It was like getting mentoring from some of top Agile coaches in the world. There was one particular article written by Daniel Gullo called 5 years Ago…, It was so honest and brutal and heartfelt and described the process Daniel went through getting his CSC. I was deeply inspired to continue my journey!
Agile coaching course with Cherie Silas was another amazing milestone. I was so inspired by the course and getting to practice “transformational coaching” that my enthusiasm inspired my dad to join me for a majority of the course as he is heading a program developing health coaches at the local university (which I am also faculty member and helping them build their program).
Another incredible milestones was being offered the chance to be a contributor to the book: “Best Agile Articles of 2017”! It was organized by Michael de la Maza and Cherie Silas, both heroes and mentors to me. What it meant was searching for and reading hundreds of articles on Agile and figuring out what was important to me and what I thought would be important to other Agilest. I also got to see what articles the other contributors thought were valuable. This was an amazing learning opportunity for me.
I also was able to be a coauthor on a “Neurophysiology of Transformation” paper. This paper gave a new model for neuroplasticity and how the brain develops. This work gave me insight into the work for the “Total Brain Coaching” book.
Being able to go through the “Path to CTC” course offered through Scrum Alliance and organized by Michael de la Maza and Cherie Silas was also a fantastic experience. It clearly outlines 5 areas that are crucial for Agile coaches, transformational coaching, systems coaching, scaling , sustainability, and enterprise coaching.. I feel this will help educate and guide many CTC candidates to success.
Creating the “Total Brain Coaching” book. I find it interesting that on my original application for the CTC it asked what I wanted to do in the future and one of the items was to write a book on coaching involving Ayurveda, Neurophysiology, and Agile. Three and a half years later I am just finishing the first iteration of this book with my Dad. Please see www.totalbraincoahing.com to see more. But the real joy is using it to help people change their habits, which help make their lives better. Whether it be to learn better communication habits, or to lose 10 lbs, I see people improve and feel empowered and that rocks!
So is this journey worth it?
Looking back at this journey I realize it has been amazing! I have grown in my ability to coach individuals, teams, departments and businesses.
This was expedited by learning (and practicing) transformational coaching. I grew in my ability to focus on the coachee over focusing on the problem. By not having a preconceived idea or notion of where the client should go and allowing them to guide their journey. By listening, and reflecting the clients thinking to themselves by asking powerful open-ended questions.
The Path to CTC moved/forced me to reach out and connect to others who are on similar journeys. I asked my friends and heroes/mentors who I have met “How do I do this?” and they answered “How do you think you should do this?” or “What does it feel like when this is going well?” and helped me find my way.
I have practiced coaching on many levels, individual, team, departmental, and executive. I have had experience working with different Scaled Agile frameworks (SAFE, LESS, and Scrum@Scale) and more importantly learned when, and when not, to use these frameworks.
I have worked on learning lean/six sigma and done many continuous improvement projects to facilitate alignment between different departments and our Agile development department and the rest of the business.
I have helped facilitate activities, traditions, events, and celebration which foster communication, trust, visibility and knowledge, which will survive long after I am gone.
I am fulfilling the aspirations I had when I began this journey by connecting transformational coaching, Agility, Ayurveda and Neurophysiology and come up with a new holistic system of helping coach people for habit change.
I have made great friends, discovered heroes, and found my tribe!
Has it been discouraging and tough at times? Absolutely!