Relationships between coach, teams, and management/stakeholders

This sharing is inspired by a job advertisement. I appreciate the honesty and courage of the author of the job ad.  From the job ad, below are what I have gathered

1) Teams are using different agile frameworks with different results and in different maturity stages in software development competencies

2) Some teams may be “stuck”, e.g. little improvement over a period. 

3) Some of management’s expectations on teams have been missed for some time. 

"River" in the room
“River” in the room


As a coach, instead of focusing on how to improve team performance only, I would propose to review the situation from a systemic perspective, and focus on the relationships between the teams, stakeholders and the coach.

1) In this sharing I assume the coach has the intention to have a contractual agreement with the senior management of the teams to improve team performance. 

2) Relationships between the coach and the teams and between the coach and line management  are not clear or are not cast in stone, e.g. no agreeable deliverables


Assuming after a few conversations, the teams would like the coach to help in mastery and autonomy.  What are possible action steps of the coach?  So far the interactions are between the coach and management, and between the coach and the teams.  The coach is in a delicate position, e.g. being the middle person and being expected to “influence” team performance(usually for the better outcomes). There are a few challenges 

1) Some teams may have concerns on management expectations 

2) Management may already have some ideas on scope of work for the coach. In the job ad,  expected scope of work is team mentoring/coaching, product backlog management, process flow management, delivery risk management, training and facilitation. 


Before discussing scope of work, I would suggest the coach shifts from two-way dialogue model to three-way dialogue model.  This is to avoid being the “messenger”, e.g. interpreting management expectations for teams.  What is a triad relationship?  Here is an example : The Power of Coaching Triads

Triad relationship in coaching
Triad relationship in coaching


This is great.  The follow-up question is how to improve team performance.

1)  One of many tools and frameworks is team coaching.  Below is 5C model by coach Peter Hawkins

5c model for team coaching
5c model for team coaching

2) If the management is interested in optimizing flows, instead of local optimization, they may consider end-to-end flow management, e.g. Value Stream Management using Flow Framework.

Flow Framework
Flow Framework

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