Review of Agile Coach Camp Canada 2018

I always look forward to Agile Coach Camp. It's a fun time of learning, sharing and gaming with Agile practitioners and Coaches from Canada and around the world. I always see lots of familiar faces but I am doubly happy when I see new faces in the crowd because it tells me the community is growing.

120 Agile practitioners and Coaches attending the 9th annual Agile Coach Camp. It was held at the NAV Centre in Cornwall, Ontario on June 1st and we spent three days growing together before closing the event on June 3rd.

The theme this year was "Boldly go where no coach has gone before!" We started on Friday night with collaborative team games, human bingo, constellations and designed a flag for our crew. As per usually the event was conducted in an Open Space Technology format that invited all the attendees to submit topics to discuss that were critical to coaching practices including facilitating conflict management, integral theory based coaching, and much more.

* Picture of the marketplace to come...

I wasn’t able to attend every discussion or session but I can share the pictures and notes I took at the sessions I attend as well as a brief outline of the sessions I hosted.

Session One – Finding Your Why with Ikigai Hosted by Peter LePiane

Peter walked us through how to use the Ikigai to find our passion for being.

Ikigai convergence on four primary elements:


  • What you love (your passion)

  • What the world needs (your mission)

  • What you are good at (your vocation)

  • What you can get paid for (your profession)

Discovering your own ikigai is said to bring fulfilment, happiness and make you live longer. Want to find your why, your own ikigai? Ask yourself the following four questions:


  1. What do I love?

  2. What am I good at?

  3. What can I be paid for now – or something that I could get paid for in the future?

  4. What does the world need?

Here are ten rules that can help anyone find their own ikigai


  1. Stay active and don’t retire

  2. Leave urgency behind and adopt a slower pace of life

  3. Only eat until you are 80 per cent full

  4. Surround yourself with good friends

  5. Get in shape through daily, gentle exercise

  6. Smile and acknowledge people around you

  7. Reconnect with nature

  8. Give thanks to anything that brightens our day and makes us feel alive

  9. Live in the moment (present)

  10. Follow your ikigai


There is a book you can read to help you discover your Ikigai

Session Two – Servant Leadership? A bridge too far? Hosted by Frank Leong

What role does management play for Agile teams? Considering teams are self-organizing and empowered to do work what is a manager supposed to do now? Often managers will feel displaced and not sure what they need to do next for their teams.

If we look at the information currently available there isn’t a whole lot out there to help managers be successful in their role while supporting Agile teams. The bigger question is “As Agile Coaches what are we doing to help foster and grow a Servant Leader mindset and skills?”

Our points of discussion and thoughts circled around Managers need to helping to build T-shaped people. They may need to be a focus on building coaching skills so they can help people be the best they can be. They need to play a role in building physiological safety and embracing a learning mindset.

If we plot it out visually how do we move them from command and control to collaborate and coach?

A good place to start is by sharing with them a book called The Anatomy of Peace. This book helps them to understand that the focus of their attention should be “Helping Things Go Right” instead of being hyper focused on “Fixing / Correcting When Things Go Wrong”

Next we touch briefly on the drama triangle and where is HR in the mix when we’re transforming what are managers do?


Session Three – How to coach Product Owners Hosted by Rena Fitzgerald

This was an open discussion on how Agile Coaches can coach product owners. It was a free flowing conversation that centered around the roles and responsibilities of a Product Owner and capture in a word cloud.

There’s usual one reference that I turn to when I am working with new Product Owners and that’s Agile Product Manage with Scrum by Roman Pichler

Session Four – Getting Punched in the Face: Growing your courage muscle Hosted by Jon Tracy

During my session I talked about a method that the Stoics used called The Premeditation of Evils to help confront your fears. One of the fears I wanted to confront was being able to protect my loved ones in the face to physical danger.

I examined that fear to some depth and decided that in the unlikely event that I was ever confronted with physical violence that need to be able to protect myself first before I can protect others. I needed to be prepared.

This lead me to practice martials arts. By practicing martial arts at least a few times a week in the dojo I was confronting my fear of physical of violence. By practicing and continuously improving my style, forms and techniques I am build an immunity to this fear. An immunity to the weakness I had.

The inspiration for this talk came from The Daily Stoic and The Emperor’s Handbook

Session Five – Coaching from the Trenches Hosted by Jon Tracy

Recently I have been flirting with the idea of venture out into the world as an independent Coach. It was an idea brought on by a few things but I wanted to explore the idea with people who are already doing that.

We discuss the following points:


  • Describe your agile and coaching journey. How did you get to where you are today?

  • What do you build your coaching skills? Do you focus on particular coaching stances?

  • Do you have an approach to personal assessment? Like a personal SWOT?

  • Yes - there's always a need to an Agile SME with domain knowledge in transformation

  • Coaching Agreements are key but keep them light

  • Where do I get support? Reach out to the community. Build your network. Find a mentor

  • Coaching certifications from the ICF like ORSC and Co-Active help build your credibility but are not always required

  • To have a great impact with your customer you must first understand and empathize with their current problems

  • Make sure you know who you want to help - what customers do you want?

  • Find out for yourself what you need so you can feel safe if you cannot find work

These valuable insights were priceless to me. I gained a better appreciation for what is required if I decided to go independent. Since this discussion I have started to work towards it.
I am looking for a couple good books and reference related to running your own coaching business. If you have anything I would love to hear it.

In Summary

Agile Coach Camp Canada is a fantastic community event that I look forward to every year and would highly suggest it to anyone that is interested in developing the Agile knowledge and Coaching skills.
Future events. If curious about Agile Coach Camp Canada and would like to attend in the future please check out their site at http://agilecoachcampcanada.ca


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