Agile Coach Camp 2011

by sebsonconferences

The coach camp, what to say about it? A little more happened than I had expected and in general I must say I am grateful I was accepted as an attendee to participate i this event. It was on the ending of the “Play for Agile” conference that it came to my mind that this would be the next chance in a realistic timeframe to meet all the nice people again and have a Openspace to communicate with them. After Play4Agile it turned out that my role is more and more turning to a coaching one or I could use the methods of coaches in my (work)life. According to the fast brainstoring I did in my hotel room I had the following topics I wanted to gather more Information on.

  • Insights on “Training from Back of the Room” technique, which is very natural for me now and where I wanted to deepen the experience and gather new Idea
  • Get a Coach or Coach myself to follow the path I am on?
  • How do FedEx or HackDays work
  • Management and facilitation of innovative processes
  • What to do with the new freedom in my worklife
  • Non-Violent communication and as it turned out Group Dynamics
  • More ways of using Post-Its and presenting the Post It Planning
  • Techniques to relax my overly excited/energized mind at night

It’s so easy to write that very transactional list of thoughts down after the event, not all of this was exactly in that terms on my mind. All went well, the coach camp had a more exactly stated meta topic (fire, keeping the inner fire burning) which resulted in some comments about tree hugging. I don’t know what to say, beeing one of the critics on that overall and overamplified theme, now sitting in the train to my home I can say it worked and maybe I was wrong.

Beeing at the second Openspace in format conference I had a easier approach to all of it. For example I knew when it was time to take a break and take the chance to walk in woods or simply powernap. It can’t be overstated that the “energized work” over a day contains some challenges for the mind and body that only can be adressed by using the law of 2 feet and some rest. Since the list contained some topics that required me to work with some challenges my personality obstructs on me and my environment, all this turned out to be very emotionally touching. I really must say that my peergoup absolutely helped me through one or the other problematic processes and (again after p4a11) gently helped me to emotionally survive the moment where I for example realized my fallacies in communication (or started to). There is no way to make up an amount of money that could pay for that experience and was way out of bounds with all the other conferences I attended this year. As good as all of them might have been, this was outstanding and is only comparable to Play4Agile, but still a class of it’s own.

So I feel oblidged to share the insights I gathered.

Back of the Room Technique

I think I started out good and now it’s time to walk that path. It’s one of the best training techniques I have encountered and I should focus to make sure everything is applied correctly. I need to acknowledge I am at the beginning of that journey and a special shout goes out to sergey for challenging my stance of beeing receiver of information partly and not only the facilitator. Maybe I broke some rules of facilitation with that behaviour, but I feel like I need to observe this and further experiment.

Get a coach or Coach myself?

Last week someone told me I should consider personal coaching to be more effective with what I do. It turned out that I will not do it for several reasons and futher go with networking. Some of the reasons: Who the fuck do I think I am I need something like a personal missbehaviour corrector? I would feel like a spoiled kid, and considering the amount of coaching I can receive from the people around me and at events like #accde11/#p4a11 I should be fine. Since my listening mode is broken sometimes, this is the main reason I do not get good advice in my brain. Another one is that people at such conferences strat seeking my advice (WTF?) and I am better off with giving and taking than with paying and taking. So dear environment, please bear with me. I decided to network further, and explore that path maybe occasionally visiting a specific trainig (group dynamics and non-violkent communication)

FedEx-Hack Days
Yeah, the dutch saved my life again. A very humble and nice fellow development guy explained FedEx Days in his company and the group came up with a lot of good ideas of fedex days. I was suspecting that there was a chance i’d spoil the session with too much activity and input from my side, so I decided standing on the side and clustering the information that was flowing though the room and simply enjoyed listening to the concrete and very competent advice. Funny thing is that some people thoght I facillitated the session which I didn’t, at least from my perspective, I just stood there and wrote post-its, added some content if I liked to and oserved the scenery. I got enough information on planning a FedExDay and providing it to @Bibliothomas so he can make it happen at our company.
Management and Facilitation of Innovative Processes
This is more complicated, but I got more practice in Systemic Design, Infos on the roles (which I had pretty much ignored to that point) and a little new Activity called 6-5-3. Lots of Infos gathered, we will see how far I will get this time on work with this. This is where I am a aboslute newbie. Sven Tiffe and LeiderLeider turned out to be absolute funny partners to work with.
Non-Violent Communication  and Group Dynamics
Great Sessions with exactly the input I needed. Both absolute weaknesses of me and so these where the sessions where I was emotionally and mentally 155% involved and the very polite way both presenters held their sessions contributed to the fact that I didn’t block mentally and got a deeper understanding why one or the other person that I would have deemed “overfriendly” are just approaching me the right way to keep me in “Social Connection Mode” in  conversation.The main Learning: Non-Violent Communication is about listening and Solutionbs in a Group are only 20% on a Content Level (Rest is Process and lots of Social). if I had read the book that @321heinz Gave me on non-violent communication I would have known a model for listening for months. This 2 Sessions triggered and are still triggering stuff in me, maybe a little more than I could take.
Post-It Planning
In the Post-It Planning Session I tried to show off the style of planning for the workshop in Amsterdam when I was late with planning and had to align the “Back of the Room” Activities to a whole dayy workshop and there was even a very small timebox at hand (I wanted to go to a bar and not waste a moment in the hotel). So far, the Session, from my Posint of view was to frontal and I still lack basic Skills with such 1 hr presentations to let people interact and still have a specific outcome (very stipud fears btw considering the room is full of people who knowhow to make outcomes sure). I likes it, the people liked it and what needs to be left to say: Those colorful stickies are warmers for most of the people. I learned over the day that I need to go with the bigger ones. 😉
Relaxation techniques
Over the last months, with travelling, ongoing change management stuff and still work at hand, serious sleeping issues arised. I simplky couldnt sleep and on #p4a11 it turned out that this was not only a sign of stress, second to that I adopted behaviours that simply made it more problematic to fall asleep. I got a lot of advice on techniques that help fast passing away to sleep and I will try them. But go out for a walk is a good thing however.
This was it …. but not … a multitude of things that happened outside what my little mind could come up with before the conference began. A thousand thank yous go to the organizers and the participants. This weekend was worth a thousand smiles and we all know that they are a currency of infinite value 😉
p.s. maybe more to follow