And why I think it is a great choice.
It started off around 16 months ago. I went to a Scrum Tisch. Funny the translation of a Stammtisch is a group of regulars meeting. Derived from traditional German tavern where there is a table for the regulars.
The german word Stamm means tribe. Works very well in an agile terminology 🙂 So it basically it is the tribe of Scrum Masters from different companies meeting regularly for exchange. I went there – the subject was Systemic Scrum Mastering. Since I went to a Systemic Therapist a couple of years ago to deal with a trauma, I got really interested how that relates to Agile and being a Scrum Master.
Somebody gave an introduction what Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is and the idea of becoming a Systemic Scrum Master solving problems in the teams enabling better collaboration. It turned out the person that delivered the talk took a course at the Tübinger Akademie a couple of people in the room had at least some background and skills in NLP and started discussing. I kept thinking how can you solve problems as a coach if you are part of the system meaning also part of the problem as a Scrum Master. And I drove home thinking that this doesn’t make sense.
How judging and shortsighted I was.
After catching myself, I started looking around what NLP is and also looked at the offers of the Tübinger Akademie. And I stumbled over that there is a professional education complete becoming a NLP Practitioner followed by a education to become a NLP Systemic Coach. Being a facilitator and believer of the power of cross-collaboration methods such as Enterprise Design Thinking and Liberating Structures I thought this is a great addition in the toolbox to use with our development teams and with diverse teams cocreating.
As I described in my previous blog, I am very interested in taking building leadership to the next level, not by consulting and talking about my experience but by coaching. This is a very unusual role for a technical leader although these words are used everywhere in the literature that a leader is a coach. In reality, a lot of people have the expectation of a technical leader to be skilled always right, knowledgable and be able to make the right decisions and consult many teams. One sentence that I learned right in the first seminar changed my mind:
Within the problem lies the solution.
This is exactly the same mindset as facilitating a workshop. I trust the process and the team to come up with innovative ideas, solving problems. And this is the same on a personal level. For individuals and groups.
That was the point when I felt I was in the right place taking the education. It closes the gap to the personal level what does a team members personal needs, team conflicts. And it is the perfect place to learn listening (not only to words) empathizing and enabling individuals and teams to grow. And I learn trust without falling into the advice trap although many people expect me as a technical leader to do exactly that.
Who decides what is best?
What I also learned much besides the great methods and formats of NLP is that is is the much better way to not decide for humans what is the best for them but let the individual or group decide or decide together with them. It also means to me becoming better as a leader.
Going through the full education also means that in the same way that I exercise as a coach, I am being coached. This is an excellent opportunity for me outside my job to experience and learn both sides, get feedback and reflect and improve without any hierarchy. And I am convinced that this helps me a lot to become much more accessible, inclusive and helpful for every individual and team(s) I work with.
In many years, traveling to other countries being exposed to different cultures enriched my life and something that is a substantial part of me. I started the education right before Corona started dominating our lives and it turned out to be the best thing. Such a big enrichment. I am learning so much about myself and I definitely got me out of my comfort zone.
Which hat am I wearing?
It is certainly great to do multiple jobs! It is very important to tell people which hat I am wearing and very consciously switching between roles. Being a mentor, coach, facilitator, technical leader does go very well together and I do think all of these skills are needed to be able to develop individuals, teams and products.
Or better accompany individuals, groups and teams on their journey to grow.