Skip to content

Coaching Circles – a participant’s story

By Sheetal Gordhan
When I signed up for the Coaching Circle with Growing Agile my motivation was FOMO – fear of missing out. The first ever Growing Agile Coaching Circle being run as an experiment. How could I miss out? What if this was going to be the best thing ever that gave me all the solutions to all my problems and to the team’s problems?
So of course, I had to sign up.

FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out

The time commitment was a huge one and impacted the team, management and me. But, the FOMO factor was enormous and far outweighed the time commitment so I signed up.

I am a Scrum Master (among other things), accordingly, my focus is on day to day activities, on ‘fixing’ things and on putting out fires. As you can tell, I am still a Scrum Master in training since there is no mention of slack time, reading, researching and setting the stage for team to move to the ‘next level’. So obviously, this means that there is very little focus on self-reflection. Team reflection, yes, I make the time for that, but not for self-reflection, self-evaluation and self-learning. The coaching circle provided that opportunity, the opportunity for self-reflection and self-recognition.

The format of the coaching circles worked for me – the team agreeing on topics during the first coaching circle, voting on topics, pre-work (reading and thinking) before the coaching circles and then discussion during the allocated one hour. This worked for me because it gave me the opportunity to think on my own, read insights from other people on such a journey and finally, discussing with Karen, Sam and Carol.

We decided to experiment with Linkedin as the tool to gather and share information and personally, it worked for me. I know that if I wish to refer to these sessions and notes again, I can, easily. And we were able to share and comment on questions and items in one central place linked to my account and not to an email address during the time between sessions on topics that were not covered during the session. For example, I had a random question regarding Sprint Burn Downs and a question posed to me by team. Rather than wait for a session, I simply posted the question and got back three very quick and helpful answers – nominal admin, speed, real time discussions and notification. Best of all, not accessible to everyone so a confidential and personal space.

The quality conversation and quality thinking during the coaching circles combined with shared experiences in different environments and with different teams brought great value to me and ultimately allowed me to realize that the team that I currently have the honour of working with are performing and although I might not have fancy graphs and stats to prove this point, I have working software, a happy team and a team that speaks up and wants to improve. I have contributed to the formation of this team, to the knowledge of this team and to the empowerment of this team. I am convinced, had it not been for the opportunity to STOP, to THINK and NOT EXPECT ANY OUTCOME during the coaching circles, I would not have had this realization.

Collaboration is a Scrum Principle and the coaching circles are Collaboration in Motion. It connected me to the people I was meeting with, for an hour every two weeks. It allowed me to feel supported and not alone in my journey as a Scrum Master and ultimately, this was the greatest gift that this Coaching Circle brought me.

It is said that FOMO is something we need to ‘watch out for’. FOMO leads to people making silly mistakes, spending money, time and effort on things that bring no value. For me FOMO was the greatest motivator in this particular instance and has inspired me to make other decisions using FOMO as my motivator.