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Some of the properties to look for in a Scrum coach – Part 3

In 2 previous posts, I have been mentioning some of the properties you should be looking for in a Scrum Coach (Which Scrum coach to hire). In this post, I will provide some more inputs on how to hire the best Scrum coach for your organization.
– A good Scrum coach will be ready to listen to any feedback your team members may have. Consider the scene whereby you would be speaking to an expert about some issue (and a pretty well known expert in their field), and you find that the person is not really very open. They would believe passionately in what they are advocating, and would not be willing to listen to issues that you bring up. You know the style, where you bring up some problem, and the first reaction could be “Well, you must be doing something wrong, since Scrum normally works well in these situations”. You get your team members to get these responses from a Coach on more than a couple of occasions and you will start hearing feedback from the team members that the Scrum coach does not seem open to ideas, is more of an evangelist and less of a coach. What you need is a person who patiently hears out the problem, works with the team members to analyse and see what the particular problem could be, and coaches them such that the one or more of the team members suggests a solution to the issue, gets the team to listen to their solution and gets more of the team to agree to the solution. The coach guides them, moves them away from wrong solutions that may be proposed by some team members, and eventually ensures that over a period of time, more and more of the team members learn the right way to do things when they are using Scrum.
– A Scrum coach, however skilled in their areas and an expert, should deal with the team members in a respectful way. Occasionally I have come across experts in their fields who are brusque in their manners, and even though being rude sometimes gets people on their side (if they really are experts), more often than not, they tend to push people away. Would you really like a Scrum coach who does not treat the team with respect. People who are implementing Scrum tend to be in the IT field, where they normally have a level of intelligence that is more than normal, and do not really like somebody talking down to them. This can be difficult when the question or suggestion is frustrating, but you need to get a Scrum coach who does not lose sight of the fact that these are skilled people, and need coaching to make them better in the area of Scrum implementation.

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