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Who will guard the guardians?

In ancient Rome, the philosopher-poet Juvenal posed the satirical query ‘Who will guard the guardians?’ in response to the growing abuse of power amongst the members of the Senate and all-powerful army.

It’s something that sticks in my mind when I consider who coaches and mentors the guardians of Scrum. The Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches.

In my experience, many Scrum Masters and Agile coaches don’t have a coach, nor do they actively invest in developing mentoring relationships. It’s odd because Scrum Masters are Agile coaches and play a critical role in coaching teams toward high performance. If their role as a coach is vital in the evolution and development of a team, why don’t scrum masters see the value in being coached and mentored themselves?

Scrum is built on the Empirical pillars of Transparency, Inspection and Adaptation.

The concept is that we achieve excellence and continuous improvement through regular inspection and adaptation. The idea is that we are better because our work is transparent before others, and their feedback and recommendations help us to grow and evolve in our craft. Why do so few Scrum Masters and Agile coaches practice their craft in conjunction with a more experienced coach and learn from mentors who have successfully walked the path to mastery in similar applications and environments?

I’m passionate about growing the next generation of Scrum Masters and Agile coaches who help create Agile organisations that unleash people’s creativity and passion. I believe there is a significant opportunity for us as a community of scrum masters and agile coaches to harness the opportunity of Agile and help create a world where our kids can live and thrive.

It starts with creating communities where people can learn from the experience and expertise of others and connect with potential coaches and mentors that will help them improve and grow their skills. Coaching is a practice of practices, and both Scrum Masters and aspiring Agile coaches could use all the help they can get given the complexity of the world we now live and work within.

This newsletter, combined with my blog and YouTube channel, is an attempt to help grow knowledge and provide practical, actionable insights and recommendations valuable to practising Scrum Masters and aspiring Agile coaches. I believe we have significant work to do, and I am excited to share my knowledge and insights with you as you move along your journey to mastery.

Reply to this email with a question you’d love to have answered, and we’ll explore the question and answer in our ‘Deploy and Improve Scrum’ videos series on LinkedIn. Connect with me on LinkedIn and feel free to engage with our frequently asked questions series or the upcoming deploy and improve Scrum series.

One Quote

“Certified Team Coach (CTC) and Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC) are rigorous certification pathways that require candidates to demonstrate deep knowledge and skill in both coaching as well as Agile methodologies.

Whilst the credential has gained a great deal of respect around the world, we still see people with no coaching experience punting themselves as Agile coaches despite only having a year or two’s worth of experience as a Scrum Master.”

– John McFadyen, from ‘Who coaches and mentors the Scrum Master?’

And A Question For You

Who coaches and mentors you? How do you practice your craft in a safe environment and get valuable, immediate feedback that helps you improve?

author avatar
John McFadyen Managing Partner
John McFadyen is an Executive and Enterprise Agile Coach with proven experience working on some of the UK and Europe’s largest, most complex Agile Transformations. As a Certified Scrum Trainer, John brings a wealth of experience as an Agile coach, Agile practitioner and software developer into each of the four core courses he provides. The war stories, the insights into successful Agile transformations and everything he has learned from coaching high-performance Agile teams combine to provide course delegates with a unique, compelling training experience that transforms as much as it empowers.

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