Coaches are essential in OpenSpace Agility.
Coaches model what good facilitation actually LOOKS LIKE.
OSA Coaches invite others to learn these skills.
Individual OSA Coaches are typically responsible for coaching specific teams, usually not more than three at a time. During the 100 Days of Experimentation and Learning, the Coaches provide facilitation and guidance, and may administer various kinds of before-and-after assessments. These assessments serve as diagnostics and metrics. The OSA method contains a toolkit with assessments that help you, the Coach, figure out where teams (and the organization) are – and where they can get to next, in a reasonable amount of time.
The coaching role is about assisting others in learning the Agile principles and helping with the execution of experiments with specific practices.
When beginning with an organization that is mostly new to Agile, starting with strong momentum is important. This means being present almost every day. However, as soon as possible, you the Coach need to be absent at least some of the time. For example, after you have successfully trained some employees to be facilitators (or Scrum Masters of they are doing Scrum), it is a very good idea for them to experience life without you for a day or two. You are leaving soon after all, are you not?
While coaches work closely with teams, they must also coach the formally authorized leaders in how to think, and especially how to behave.
Coaches need to be sensitive to what is going on at every level of authorization: the executive level is key.
OSA coaches pay careful attention to the executives and make notes about levels of support for Agile across the entire leadership team. The reality is that, even if you have the strong support of the CEO, you can and will run into trouble if you fail to acknowledge that not everyone on the leadership team is at that same level. Some executives can and will work to slow down progress. Agile does after all change the game – a change that not all players are entirely comfortable with. OSA coaches do not “inflict help” on teams, managers or executives but rather, work closely with those who signal strong interest in learning Agile principles and practices.
Written by: Daniel Mezick, OSA-Certified Trainer