In agile coaching, it is essential to adopt a low position or stance. It is the coachees who should make decisions and even find solutions themselves. While it is easy to say, maintaining this low position can be quite challenging, especially when you have extensive experience in a particular subject.
The low position is a difficult posture to maintain, and in this article, you’ll understand why.
What is the Low Position?
In contrast to the high position, where solutions are provided readily, the low position encourages the interlocutor to take responsibility.
The agile coach will adopt the low position. They set aside their ego, remain humble, and are pleased to see a team testing their own choices, even if they don’t align with the coach’s ideas.
On certain topics, the coach will ask open-ended questions and avoid handing solutions on a silver platter. Sometimes, they will rephrase what the coachees say without distorting the meaning, aiming to guide them in completing their own thoughts.
How to Introduce Scrum to a Team?
On specific topics like Scrum, the agile coach will explain and raise awareness of Scrum practices without imposing them.
Here’s where things can get tricky for some individuals. For instance, if the team doesn’t want to do the morning Daily Scrum, how should the agile coach act?
- Should they adopt a high position and enforce the Daily Scrum?
- Or should they take a low position and let the team decide?
The agile coach is not supposed to take a high position and impose their choice on the team.
However, some might argue that if the agile coach provides multiple arguments to convince the team that skipping the Daily Scrum is a bad idea, isn’t this an intermediate position?
Indeed, while the Scrum Master acts as the guardian of the Scrum methodology, this is not the role of the agile coach. The agile coach should neither impose nor push teams to follow specific practices.
The agile coach may offer alternative solutions and present the pros and cons of each. The team must make their own choices, and the coach will encourage them to test these choices. The team will learn from the results, whether they are positive or negative.
Not everyone can adopt this posture with ease.
Difference from the Consultant’s Stance
The coaching stance is quite different from the consultant’s stance. Here’s an example to illustrate the difference between the two:
Consultant: “I recommend this because it’s what really works.”
Coach: “Do you think that something like this could benefit you?”
In consulting, you might sometimes encounter higher positions, but this simple example should help you understand the distinction between the two stances. A consultant does not adopt a low position.
The Occasionally Useful High Position
In some organizations, experienced coaches may temporarily adopt a high position, but this is specific and even exceptional. It typically occurs in urgent situations.
To be honest, sometimes adopting a high position can help resolve complex situations that are impossible to address with a low position. However, it is crucial for the coach to quickly return to a low position once the situation is stabilized.
Nevertheless, some agile coaches adamantly refuse such actions, and others may not have the temperament for it. I’ll leave it up to you to decide your stance on this practice.
Conclusion on the Low Position
An agile coach should primarily maintain a low position. I hope this article has shed light on the low position, which is indeed challenging to put into practice.