People are Magic

Change Happens

P.: I hear you’re an Agile Coach.
Agilista: You are correct.
P.: What do you do as a coach?
Agilista: I change people.
P.: In my experience, you can only change yourself.
Agilista: I change people. Like psychologists do.
P.: My mistake. I thought you said you were an Agile Coach.

With great power comes great responsibility

Agile Coaching is a people business. I’m an Agile Coach because I’m interested in people. Why? Because working with others helps me better understand myself and the world around me. Learning doesn’t just help me deliver business value. Learning helps me create things of worth. I’m an Agile Coach but that doesn’t make me a psychologist.

An effective Agile Coach inspires those around them to change for the better. They lead by example. They constantly strive to improve by seeking feedback and taking action arising from the feedback. They show that change happens by changing themselves.

An effective Agile Coach learns by making mistakes. They take calculated risks by trying out new or different ways of doing things. This means sometimes things might go wrong. Making mistakes is essential in the cycle of learning. You have to do something different to change the status quo. Doing the same thing you’ve always done and expecting a different result is like re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

An effective Agile Coach is trustworthy. They act as the guide for a team on their journey towards becoming more agile. ‘Integrity is the opposite of manipulation,’ Pollyanna Pixton once said during a JAOO session on leadership. I take this to mean you can help people change by providing and exploring real options, but the choice remains theirs. Believing you have the power to change others sounds a lot like meddling to me. So long as people have the choice to change, you cannot ‘change people’.

Making a living out of learning

Human beings can’t help but learn. As Jim Collins (of From Good to Great fame) says, there’s no OFF switch to people learning. We’re learning all the time, whether we want to or not. Start by taking responsibility for yourself instead of trying to change others to suit you.

2 Responses to “People are Magic”

  1. Thinking for a Change » Real Options in the Real World writes:

    […] always have the Learning Option. We can always gather more […]

  2. Yves Hanoulle writes:

    The person that told you he could change people like a psychologist has not understood anything about psychology. As a psychologist does not change people. He helps people changing themselves.
    One of the main reasons I am now following a therapist course is to make sure I would never do a psychologist work when I work as a coach.

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