NOV. 8 – 13, 2020


Agile lessons from the ski slopes

Lessons learned from being a downhill ski instructor - and how it made me a better Agile Coach.

The challenges of transforming a team into Agile are the same as teaching someone new to downhill skiing. The skills are the same - its just a different environment.

Here’s the challenge as a ski instructor: you are getting a group of students for 60-90 minutes. You are going to be asking them to do things completely outside their comfort zone. You are going to be asking them to do things they have never done before. It’s strange. It’s different. It’s feelings and behaviors they have never had or done before. The students look at the strange equipment. It’s different. The terminology is new, the environment is unexpected and uncomfortable. How are they supposed to work with these strange things? Somehow in a very short time, you need to transform these students into performing enthusiasts.

Sound familiar? Right now I could be talking about downhill skiing. Or I could be talking about Agile. As different as these two things sound, the basics are really the same.

So, how do you do it? That’s going to be our conversation.

1. Building trust – find some common ground, make connections and gain their trust.

2. Remember what it’s like to be new at something. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes.

3. Progress at the pace of students. Read how they are accepting what’s new and adjust your pace

4. Situational awareness. Understand the situation and the landscape. Where are the hazards? What can make things go smoother?

5. Create a safe place to explore

6. Recognize the “a-ha” moment!

7. Need to be coachable as a coach. Keep learning

8. Tailor your approach

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