Or, to bastardize a quote attributed to Gandhi:
Be the Agile Coach you want to see in the world.
And you can start being that person at home. Right now.
Think about it… If you were hiring a coder, wouldn’t you want someone who codes in their free time, contributing to open source projects, or is otherwise experimenting on their own? If you were hiring a network engineer, wouldn’t you prefer someone who has set up a LAN in their basement, or is otherwise experimenting on their own? Why wouldn’t this apply to hiring a Scrum Master or Agile Coach? If you were hiring one of these kinds of cool cats, wouldn’t you rather have someone who geeks out on this topic at home, or is otherwise experimenting on their own?
Regardless of the skill or domain, finding ways to experiment on your own means:
- You’re curious enough to spend time in this area.
- You become more experienced as you put in more hours.
- You are more useful to others as you know what challenges to anticipate, and maybe how to address, since they only present themselves with time ‘n’ focus.
- You become more confident as fewer situations become novel, so more of what you encounter is something you’ve already seen before.
- You know how bad it can get, as you’ve experienced failure, better preparing you for resiliency, and generally how much it’s worth sweating.
This last point is key: you develop better informed fear, based on what is known instead of guessing at the mysteries of the unknown, which tend to balloon unboundedly into the darkness.
Add bounds to that fear.
Find ways to fail at home.
Experiment on your own.
I’ll go so far as to say you’re not a real Agile Coach unless you’ve coached yourself.
(I wanted that to be the blog post title, but) (Fuck it. Made it the title. It’s what I really want to say.) I mean, if you’re paid to be one, then sure, I guess the market is saying you are, but if you embrace Aristotle’s “You are what you frequently do”, then you can better claim this identity by doing it more often, and how else than first Agile Coaching yourself. It’s easier to make this statement than for other professions because it has a very low physical barrier to entry:
- You can create a personal Kanban board.
- You can limit your work in progress.
- You can set an intention to each day.
- You can critically question your impact, and its alignment with the rest of your life.
- You can look back, then reset intentions, or set actionable items of improvement as tiny experiments.
You can then inspire others by modeling the Agile behaviour you want to see in the world (ha: back to Gandhi), maybe via, oh, I dunno… your own blog. Insert winkie-face here.
Experiment on your own. #YouGotThis