Our coaching philosophy is one of building organizational muscle that is adept at leveraging Agility beyond the engagement of Coaching. Unlike other coaching approaches we do not focus on a single facet of Agility, quick fixes, silver bullets, or the hot new buzzwords to execute an organizational transformation. Instead we take a wholistic approach, understanding that;

  • Every organization is a unique, complex, living system
  • People are the first and most important ingredient in that system
  • Building strong, cohesive, trusting teams is imperative
  • Creating trusted leaders is essential.
  • People learn best by doing, that learning is retained best when they understand the ‘Why’.
  • Change how people think, and their behavior will follow.

Without all these necessary components to that complex machinery, Agility will not happen.

This leads us to our three-pillar philosophy:

  1. Put People First
  2. Build Strong Teams
  3. Create Trusted Leaders

1. Put People First

Without people, there are no teams, no organization in fact. Your people must be the top priority. We must empower them to take accountability for their products, ownership of their methods of delivery and challenge current ways of working to create an organization more responsive to customer and market needs. This requires an environment were it is safe to fail. Not on a regular basis, of course. This sort of environment is a culture where learning is valued mored than failure hurts.

Empathy, empowerment, trust and performance go hand-in-hand.

2. Build Strong Teams

Identifying a group of people and calling them a team isn’t enough. Today’s workplace and products continue to become more and more complex as increasing speed. This complexity and the promise of even more tomorrow means that a cross-functional team is uniquely suited to not only deliver the product of today but adapt to deliver the product needed tomorrow.

At AfterMath, we know how to build high performing teams that achieve great things. We use frameworks such as Scrum, Kanban, Design Thinking and others to create strong resilient and effective teams. But those frameworks – and all the mechanics and practices associated with them are just the vehicle to change and align the way the people think about how they work. This is called the Agile Mindset.

Our philosophy, practices and mechanics of frameworks are only to drive to the values and principles of the Agile Manifesto – and therefore the Agile mindset. Here are a few of the other intermediate mindsets that help bridge the gap between practices, frameworks and true comprehension of the Agile Mindset:

  • Investment: Effective over efficient
  • Communication/collaboration: Clarity over Specificity
  • Learning over Failure. Fail small, fail fast, always learn something.
  • WHAT vs HOW: Empower the teams to own the HOW.
  • Delivering Value over making progress

3. Create Trusted Leadership

Agile leadership is a critical component is achieving success with Agility. Just because we ask – even challenge – your people to take ownership of their behaviors and accountability for their product does not in anyway mean that leadership is less important. In fact, today’s fast-paced market means leadership is more important, and we treat Agile Leadership coaching as a critical component. We will help you balance enabling and disrupting, create and embed a learning culture, and establish customer-driven innovation by;

  • Communicating Vision: Clarity over Specificity
  • Empowering People: WHAT vs HOW – Own the Problem, let the team own the Solution
  • Staying Connected, not involved: Don’t wait for status reports, “Go and See”
  • Leading by Example: Thoughtful decisiveness, customer empathy, ruthless prioritization.
  • Responding to Failure Positively – this is where servant leadership is tested.
  • Fliping Leaders – Find and nurture the Agile servant leaders of tomorrow that may already be in your organization.

Independence of Coaches

As an Agile Coach we must lead the way, extending trust and empathy to the team members, leadership and the entire organization. From there we can guide organizations on a journey to discover the best Agile for them.

Agile Coaches are not part of the team. This is a simple but critical component to the success of Agile coaching.

  • Coaches are not responsible for the team’s or your organization’s product. If they were to be responsible, this would take away from the goal of getting the teams themselves to take responsibility for their products. This provides coaches a measure of independence for the coach to ask questions regarding any subject from the team, the leadership, the market without being perceived as having an agenda.
  • Coaches will not make decisions, direct behavior nor execution. But instead will help individuals and teams to discover the right answers. Thus, regardless of the success or failure of a decision – the team owns it, lives with it and is driven to improve.
  • Coaches can, will and should be able to create a conversation with anyone in your organization. In combination with the independence provided by not being a team member, and an air-tight confidentiality policy, the coach is able to build trust quickly and therefore ask the hard questions and drive discovery at any level in your organization.

NOTE: There are methodologies out there who have terminology conflicts with the use of “coach”, e.g. Spotify and some flavors of Kanban. This is simply a terminology clash and nothing more.