The Road to Coaching Certifications

For many years I have been coaching teams, managers, leaders and stakeholders. I’ve been learning and growing along the way and it’s hard to believe I haven’t taken the time to get "certified" as a coach.

There are many different coaching organization out there and each have their own accreditation. However, today we’re only going to see what coaching certifications the Scrum Alliance has to offer.

There are two paths you can take. One is the Certified Team Coach (CTC) and the other is Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC). If you check out the Scrum Alliance site you can see what the CTC and CEC are all about. At this point in time I haven’t decided which path I want to take. For the sake of this post I am going to explore the Certified Team Coach path.


Am I Ready?

When you click on the "Am I Ready?" link it takes you to a PDF entitled "Scrum Alliance ® Certified Team Coach ℠ Readiness Checklist" where you can see if you have the right mix of knowledge, skills and experience to move forward.

This is how I stacked up against each section of the Readiness Checklist


Experience

  • I have significant hands-on experience in at least one of the roles on a Scrum Team.

  • I am an active Certified Scrum Professional® (CSP®-SM or CSP®-PO).

  • I have coached in 2 or more organizations, departments, or programs.

  • I have coached Agile teams or roles for more than 1,000 hours in the past 2 years, not counting time as a ScrumMaster.

  • I have coached multiple interacting teams using Agile/Lean frameworks.

The roles I have experience doing on Scrum teams are: development team member, Scrum Master, Product Owner and Coach. I currently hold CSM, CSPO and CSP certifications. I have coached in 8 different lines of business at RBC and 3 departments at Telus. I am currently a full-time Agile Coach and have been for approximately the last 5 years so well over 1000 hours. The teams that I have coached have practiced Scrum, Kanban, Lean, Scrum of Scrums, SAFe and LeSS. Some teams work independently and some have worked collaboratively as part of a larger program or portfolio.


Knowledge

  • I have some formal or informal education about coaching.

  • I have a good working knowledge of Agile and Lean values, principles and practices.

  • I have helped individuals and teams to understand and apply Agile and Lean values, principles, and practices effectively.

  • I understand the dynamics, patterns, and development of teams.

  • I can clearly describe the difference between consulting and coaching and know when to apply each.

I have formal educations on coaching from Lissa Adikins - Coaching Agile Teams and CRR Global - ORSC@Work. I have taught and applied Agile and Lead values, principles and practices to multiple teams and individuals. I have facilitated team development through tuckmen’s model by helping them creating and enforce their team values and norms. Plus, the lessons in 5 Dysfunctions of a Team are very helpful


Profession Collaboration

  • I have joined the Candidate-CTC Google Group to meet other applicants and ask questions about the CTC program.

  • I have participated in at least 5 private or public Agile-related events and have contributed to some of these as an organizer, presenter, collaborator or facilitator.

Yes, I am in the group. The 5 public / private events that I have been to most recently are – Agile Coach Canada, Toronto Agile Community Open 2018, AgileTO Meet-up, Systems Thinking Meet-up and RBC Agile Symposium.


Skills

  • I have contributed to significant improvements in self-managed Agile Teams through coaching techniques.

  • I have helped teams and groups of teams beyond the basics of Scrum theory and practice.

  • I have enabled teams to find their own solutions to business problems through the application of Agile principles.

  • I am familiar with, promote and embody the mindset of Servant Leadership.

  • I have good communication skills in my native language.

  • I have facilitated events for groups larger than a single Scrum Team.

  • I use a rich set of facilitation, training and coaching tools and models.

Significant improvements I have seen are in one-on-one coaching conversations where I have helped people break through personal barriers and move to next level in the personal and professional lives. With teams it's been facilitating discussions on goal alignment and bringing clarity to their biggest obstacles. Moving teams beyond Scrum theory and practices starts with understanding their biggest burning issue. A lot of the teams I have worked with needed help moving to the next level of technical excellence so I helped with DevOps practices like Automated Builds and Deployment, Automated Testing and Continuous Integration. Test Driven Development is always an interesting conversations but requires a fair bit of heavy lifting if the testing practices in your organization are still very manually driven.

Enabling teams to find their own solutions of business problems is a lots of fun for me. I implemented a product development practices using Design Sprints for fast prototyping and customer collaboration / feedback. To this day the teams in the department use the practice to create and test prototypes before building it. Servant Leadership has been a long journey for me but it started by practicing active listening and humbling myself. The Humble Inquiry book really helped here.

I am confident my communication skills are at least good if not better than good.

I have facilitated events like big room planning for multiple teams, problem solving workshops for team trying to coordinate around an issue, leadership meetings where we're building alignment on objectives that multiple departments meet to work towards.

Here are some of my favorite facilitation, training and coaching tools and Models: Partnership Maps, Systems Diagramming, Learning Loops, Team Context Diagrams, Presto Manifesto, Coin Simulation, Constellations, Value Mapping, GROW Model, FUEL model, CLEAR model, OKRs, Coaching conversations, Empathy Triangle and Design Leadership Alignment.

I am pretty confident that my experience, knowledge, professional collaboration and skills meet the criteria. Let's proceed to the next section.


Where Can I Find Help?

You can reach out the Candidate-CTC Google Group that have existing candidates and other coaches. Plus, you can find CTC mentors. They also have a good list of study resources for Certified Team Coach candidates here.


How Do I Apply?

You've gone through the CTC Requirements Checklist and studied up on any of the areas you're weak in. Now what? There's a Sample CTC Application form and CTC Application Instructions you can find here. You'll get some preliminary feedback on your readiness to complete the CTC Application by connecting with a Scrum Alliance Coach. Feeling like you're ready?! Then put your money down and pay the $250 application fee. Then you have to wait 30 days for the review of Part 1 and 90 days to review part 2. That's right. There are 2 parts to your applications. The first part is requirement qualifications and the second part is peer assessment.


Summary

The application is pretty straight forward but you need to be honest with yourself on each of the sections in the Readiness Checklist. Are you weak in any of these areas? Do you have examples and references you can draw from? What have you tired really?
Do an honest reflection and then take time to read, study and experiment so you can see what works and what doesn't. You will have to force yourself into some uncomfortable situations to gain the experiences. It's okay to feel uncomfortable because that's how we grow.
Good luck to all the candidates out there!


References

Coaching Agile Teams5 Dysfunctions of a TeamContinuous IntegrationSprint: Solve Big Problems
    
  
Humble InquiryMeasure What Matters  


comments powered by Disqus