Enterprise Coaching for Agility

Laura Copas


Learning to tease out polarities masquerading as problems, create clarity whilst embracing complexity, and innovative ways to ensure that all of those that are part of the change are part of the process.

Our mission to help people and organisations make a real difference, requires more than the support to deliver and sustain change. It requires that we deliver change whilst simultaneously increasing the organisational capability to effect change. It means increasing changeability.

As part of my commitment to helping people and organisations develop their changeability, I recently completed the fantastic Enterprise Agile Coach Training with Adventures with Agile (ICP-CAT and ICP-ENT). We covered vast ground from organisational design & development, systemic leadership coaching, large-scale facilitation, structural and process design to the organisational and human change process with great fun!

Reflecting on all that I have taken away, here are some of my key musings and learning:

1. Keep focused on the true goal – it’s easy to get caught up in the promise of silver-bullet methodologies, and the hope that lift-and-shift approaches will get you the same results as others have experienced. To this end our attention can turn to the process, becoming consumed with proxy measures and losing the sense of whether we are achieving the actual goal – to solve business problems. Agile tools, processes and practices can fall into this trap and whilst they are likely to help achieve this goal, they are never the goal in their own right. Agile is more mindset than it is tools, with the openness, curiosity and courage to collaboratively experiment and learn that drives real results.

2. Everyone is right, but only partially – we construct our realities by ascribing meaning to experiences based on our perceptions, values and beliefs. Truth and reality then, are relative. No single voice can be the voice of the system, even when that voice is the CEO. Creating systemic change relies on the members of the system hearing from a diverse range of voices in order to understand other perspectives and parts of the system. Change can happen when members of the system can collectively sense-make, creating new realities and new meaning. It is from this new awareness and new meaning that new action, change, can occur.

3. To navigate complexity, we must manage polarities – like a battery with a positive and negative charge, polarities are opposing forces within a system. This tension is a natural and healthy part of any system as it creates balance. Yet, we humans are not comfortable with tension. Our response is to perceive tension as a problem to solve. We exert control and our conditioned either/or thinking, jumping to one end of the pole perceiving it to be the solution. Whilst we do reap the benefits of the upside of the pole, we also experience many of the downsides. Soon new leaders come in to solve the new problem, and the pendulum swings the other way (consider repeating patterns such as the centralisation vs decentralisation debate!). Rather than trying to solve the tension, the way forward is for us to manage the tension shifting from ‘either/or’ to ‘and’ thinking. How can we have close relationships with our team, AND keep a distance to remain objective? How can we have the steadfastness of an ocean tanker AND the speed and agility of a speedboat?

Teasing out polarities masquerading as problems, creating clarity whilst embracing complexity, and finding innovative ways to ensure that all of those that are part of the change are part of the process are fundamental practices within our work. To find out more about how our approaches can help you visit our Services page and get in touch at laura@getrealchange.co.uk.

For more information about the Enterprise Coaching for Agility Certification please see: https://www.icagile.com/Business-Agility/Enterprise-Coaching