Maaike Klasen is a Scrum Master and Professional Coach who is passionate about bringing Professional Coaching insights to Scrum Teams and Scrum Masters.
In this episode we explore various Scrum and coaching topics, like adult/child positioning in relationships between people and Scrum Team members. Maaike also elaborates on the importance of trust for feedback (constructive criticism) in collaboration and coaching. We then dive into how Professional Coaching can enhance your Scrum Mastery, by way of asking good questions (it's a skill!) and recognising and leveraging the similarities between the Coaching approach and the Scrum Framework.
Of course she also gets to answer the previous guests' question(s): "How do you know you are doing the right thing? What is the right thing?" Her question for the next guest? You'll have to listen...
Find and Connect with Maaike:
Upcoming event on coaching within agile and Scrum with Maaike and our own Chee-Hong Hsia: https://www.icf-events.org/chapter-event/icf-coaching-in-agile-scrum-2/
All ICF upcoming events: http://coachingfederation.nl/events/
Are you working with Scrum/Agile and have similar stories and tips to share? Or do you know someone that you want to voluntell to be a guest? Reach out! email@example.com
Also check out our website, LinkedIn and Meetup
Either structured. I'm a little bit breaking the frame, I guess. I guess so. Welcome to the Scrum Facilitators Community Podcast. The place for real conversations around Scrum. Hello and welcome to the Scrum Facilitators Community Podcast. I am your host Stewart Canada. And with me today is Mike Glasser and I'm very excited to talk to Michael for a few reasons. One is because she knows a lot about professional coaching, which is very interesting topic to to discuss in relation to Scrum of course, and also because we've tried to set this up numerous times. And finally, even though my daughter is still at the moment we've managed to make it work. So I'm very happy that you're here. Mike. Thank you very much for having me. Yes, my pleasure. And I look also forward to more collaborations in the future with the other Scrum facilitator and myself, but we'll get to that later. So first, to start off, this is something that we do every podcast is to ask you how your friends would describe you in two sentences by way of introduction. Yeah, in two sentences. Well, I guess they would say that I'm someone that is warm and I'm also focused on the people around me. That's what I hear. And I, yeah, I care for their wellbeing. On the other hand, I'm also structured and I'm a little bit goal oriented. So on one hand I'm um like they say, I'm an idealist. So that's the goal oriented orientation. And on the other hand, I'm holistic and I'm warm and I'm people oriented. So there's a there's two sides of the scale, I guess. Yeah, yes. And are they mostly balanced or are you known to be like. Well, no, I think I think they are balanced. But I think for people who get to know me at first in a new environment, they're a bit confused because yeah, it's two different characteristics that is often not described in in in personality frames. So you're either you're breaking the frame. I'm a little bit breaking the frame, I guess. I guess I is, yeah. Yeah. Because it's not common to see these traits together, but it shows that all these frameworks and structures that we like to box as we like to put people in are, of course, just boxes and they're not the truth. Right. So that's a bit about you personally. Um, and we also, of course are very curious what you do for a living. I already said you're a professional coach. You're also a scrum master. I think so. What is your job, would you say in your own words? And what do you love most about? About is it's also interesting. Yes, I am a scrum master at the moment. I do that for about six or seven years now. I'm from Origin. I'm a educational psychologist and a play therapist. I worked with children. Um, and, and the funny thing is, is that people laugh about it now because when I say that, they say, Yeah, well, people in the teams that I work with now, we are also a bit of children, so they understand the match of being a scrum master, working on a team. But then I say, Well, well, it's not that you are children, you are adults, and it is a different way of approaching it. Like I don't approach a team as a child sometimes you hear that like I'm I'm the mother of the team, but I don't see myself like that. I am not the mother of the team. I really want to connect with people and make them a better version of themselves, but from an adult perspective. But on the other hand, what I've learned and how I've been trained as an educational psychologist, I can implement the skills a lot as a Scrum master. Yeah, sure. So yeah, yeah. So at the moment I'm working for Fabian, which is a, um. Yeah. Idea what a provider or a cleaner more. The both actually they, they use, they have two products which is the water cleaning and they have the, the nature. So the dunes around the north of Holland, the province of the north of Holland, that's their product. It's a beautiful product to work for. Yeah, it is. And their aims for a monster. And I'm also now working in the transformation team and specifically focused on team development and coaching. Nice, nice. So I suspect we'll be going a bit deeper into those aspects later. Um, yeah. And I just want to tag on to the treating your team as children bit a little bit because now I have a professional in front of me, but I'm known to take the stance of, okay, we should treat our teams like children, but treating your teams like children does not mean what you think it means because we want to encourage our teams to grow, right, to improve. That's our role as Scrum Master. And it's also what we want children to do and when we say normally like, Oh, you treat me like a child, we say it very negatively, and it's because we have a wrong and old and command and control style view of how you should treat children. Right? So, I mean, I sometimes using this to flip people's mindsets about this, like, okay. And but I would you really do you really think you should treat a child to make it help it grow the best and learn the best? And then I know. That's very nice. Yeah. So you're relabeling the frame of, of being a child or like. Learning and growing basically. Yeah. Yeah. Well I'm not sure if you're aware of the. Well yeah I want to dove in a little bit on the psychoanalysis. You have the transactional analyzed, which is an approach to an inter dynamics within you as a human being. And it says you everyone has a child, a parent and a adult in them and they talk to each other. But we also take a stance when we communicate with each other. So and and the funny thing is that that's what you were referring to with the directive leadership style, is that when you take a stance with an adult, the other person will automatically get into their child's. And you'll see a lot of problems at work happening in that interaction. Yeah. Because the child will, they'll be resistant and will not want to, you know, only if I really trust you. If I really trust you as my guide, as my mentor, as my. And I really look up to you in that way. And I then I will consider myself maybe as a child that wants to develop and learn from you. But it's often you haven't established that relationship yet. Yeah, in a working environment because you jump into a next project and you just meet and you just go with the flow and you go. So that's why I always reframe in the other way that I want to see each other as adults and also take responsibility as adults. Yes, sure. In that sense, yeah. Yeah. There's of course, a huge difference because children in terms of brain development have less ability. But it's good to take into account sometimes teams that you encounter in the world also have less ability to cope with stuff because there just have been so many changes. Maybe there's a reorganization looming above their head. So it's good, but it's also good to be open and transparent about this because they are adults. They can understand about this stuff. So I think with teams it's also good to tell them, okay, I'm now going to make this decision for you or do this suggestion instead of asking you for a solution. Because I know you're already swamped and you have a little capacity for this extra stuff, right? But later we're going to do this to get it right and then you. Yeah. To get them along and not get into the the negative mother or father role where you decide everything for the team because that's not what we want to do a scrum master. So but it is really nice to think about it this way. Right. And that we could do though both costs on on this topic maybe. But on this topic, the last thing I can say about it is that exactly what you've been pointing is that you want you need each other in the long run. Yes. That you need each other's contribution in the long run. So it is important that you acknowledge everyone's contribution. Then from an adult point of view. Yes. Yes. And try to empathize, of course. And you can move wrong, because if you don't say why you are doing what you're doing, they never have the chance to correct you right because you're wrong half of the time also or more even. And I don't mean you are wrong, but we as schoolmasters. Absolutely. Yeah, we are also human. And in something. But what about being a scrum master and working at a at a PWI? And at this moment, do you love the most? What what's the thing that you say at this moment? This is what I like. This is really when I get up in the morning, you notice that kind of. I really love it when we have established that trust and when we when people feel really free to be vulnerable and to talk about their own learning curve and what they want to develop and what they find difficult. And that doesn't have to be like a I always say a kumbaya session where we are. It doesn't have to be it can be very effective and structural like it doesn't have to take hours to talk about it. We can make it sessions, but it's all about trust. So it makes me very happy if we have established that and that we can in 10 minutes just go through this is difficult, okay. How we're going to broach it. Okay, this needs it. Isn't this from me and not it doesn't it takes something from you because we are used to tell other people what you need from the other. No, what does it take from me? And then you see energy flowing and then then the collaboration goes, yeah. And you can have constructive criticism and really improve stuff. Right. And not be like, oh, but I don't want to step on anybody's toes. Yeah, that's and that's such a good one. Constructive criticism because we all say it and we feel it is important and we have all kind of feedback workshops, but constructive criticism really starts with trust. It starts with that, you know, the other person wants the best out of me. And that's such a sensitive feeling. Yeah. Which I personally I find that often difficult to, to receive feedback from and from my colleagues and to feel that they mean it for the best of, of, of, of maybe our collaboration of the goal that we're going to or is it because it's in their own advantage? It's yeah. So that's yeah, that's a super important thing to me. Yeah. That you really, really feel that. And not just say it as a, as a, as a construct. Yes. It should not be a trick. Right. And that's often what happens when we live. Yes. Especially when we get like this a few years back, you had this book, Radical Candor. So every manager said, well, no, I'm just going to be a dick, because radical candor says it's good for productivity. And then they they didn't like me exaggerating. Right. But so, yes, radical candor is, of course, just like the constructive criticism. It's like, be honest. So people can really have useful feedback and then improve. Right. And the idea is radical if you come from an American culture, I think, you know, where like you're not not saying the truth because it might hurt your career. And this it was really radical in that sense. Yeah, but you should really live livid and you should have trust to be able to really do it. So indeed the other person does not go down like, oh, is there a hidden agenda here? Or is this person just saying this because he thinks everybody should be like them or something like that? Because sometimes you have that right. You think, Oh, that's nice advice, but I'm not you. So yeah, and. Oh, that's in other word, you're using advice. So there's also such a difference between giving someone advice or providing feedback. It's such a different thing. Yes, yeah. Yeah. So of course, we also want to have this podcast to share knowledge and we are having a really nice discussion which people will hopefully start to think about also, but to make it a bit more concrete maybe on this, the things we already discussed, to go a bit deeper, but also maybe something that you really think is important. You're a professional coach, so if Scrum Masters or other people are listening, working with Scrum and they think, Oh yeah, coaching, coaching, yeah, yeah. I read something sometimes and it's just asking questions, right? So what can you give an example maybe from your own practice where you thought, okay, this is really where being a good professional coach and having this knowledge helps me getting better results for the team. And what advice would you give other people to also try to move in that direction? Mm hmm. Well, first of all, good coaching is about asking good questions, so we shouldn't make that a like thing. I guess asking good questions is a skill and you can develop that a lot. On the other hand, coaching is more than just asking good questions. So I think that's where my fascination goes with the Scrum framework because I feel but that's just my opinion. But I feel that Scrum Framework offers exactly the same framework as a coaching framework because what from the is starting from a backlog refinement asking a lot of questions in the content but also in the meaning why are we doing what we're doing? And that's what what coaching. That's how you first start with a focused question then you understand meaning what does it mean to me? And then you transform that into options and possibilities to you come to a resolution. Yeah, yeah. What excites me in my work is if I'm able to facilitate that process from, from the question to the meaning to a resolution and make it timely and make it like a commitment because people feel coaching is something soft and there's a lot of questions and a lot of talking. But within an hour, refinement, for example, which is not an event, it's an activity. And for me, it's an art to get a team to work, commitments to towards AI. So what are we now going to do? What's going to be the action? Yeah, and that's hard. That's very hard. It's just a hard output. Yeah, exactly. And that. Excites. Me. Yeah. And it's a there's a lot of parallels of course, to one on one coaching, to personal coaching or professional coaching or how you want to call it. Because you also want to people who once coaching want to change something in their life often. And if you don't as a coach be the structure to to get to okay so what experiments can we do for the next coaching session to see if this helps or very helpful then also these people I have only talked about it, which is good. I mean, then it's maybe maybe more like. The process. Talking to a psychologist or you know, or a psychoanalyst, which I've done once I notice it is triangle also. But one thing that bothered me after a while or bothered me, which was also the point where we we stopped basically was that it was not his job to be my accountability buddy or something, which I think is a good coach, is both someone who helps you dove deep in what you want and what you could do from your own possibilities. Right. And only broadening your options. Helping broadening your options. And then also for the next time you see each other, be something of an accountability, buddy. You know, it's not the coach's job to make sure you do it, but they will ask you for it. It's like, have you done it? And if you struggle, they will also help you. Just like Scrum has to do with the teams where how can we make sure next Sprint? We don't forget about the retrospective actions that we thought were important right? So sure. So that's I think, a big difference also between a professional coach and someone who just asks coaching questions. Right? Yes. Yeah. I guess that's exactly what it makes professional. I think I'm also trying to tell a story about understanding how much layers of skills it needs to be a professional coach and to be a professional scrum master. Yes. And that there are parallels. Yes. Yes. And I totally see them. Even though this is a podcast and I could see a lot. Yeah, yeah. Just visualize it read between the airways. But yeah, I hope they're listening to you too. And of course, this is not a topic to to to get straight or really into the total depth of it in half an hour talking, but I really like the way this is going. So so what concrete data would you give a scrumhalf who says, okay, this sounds good. So so how do I move towards a professional coach in my daily practice without resorting to okay, you have to take a course of a half a year and do mainly because you do have to do that if you want to be a professional coach. Right. But we also want like these small things that. Yeah, sure, absolutely. I think if if look, I'm an idealist. So if every agile organization has one or two qualified professional coaches in there, Scrum Master or Agile coaches bold and that's great because they can then lead the coaching profession within the role of Scrum masters. But not everyone has to walk that path. And there's so many different aspects of the role of Scrum so that you can also deepen your role in more technical aspects. Or so you're, you're asking for a tip. Like I just actually said, be aware that you are a facilitator of the process. So step back. Try not to dove into the content of what the teams say. Yeah. Sometimes really hard. Yeah. That is, especially if you have a technical background or a contentious background that's I feel some that yeah I feel it is my strength that I don't have. And my only challenge is when I start working with a team is to understand their language because I need to understand what they're talking about, to understand patterns in where they want to go to. So I do need to understand their language and also to be a captain if I can, a phase for the team sometimes to management. I need to speak the language, but when I'm working with the team, I'm not focusing on their content. I'm focusing on how how they behave towards each other, how they communicate, and do they get the best out of each other? Do they ask constructive questions instead of rhetorical questions? Are they vulnerable about their own challenges? And can they exchange that and can to help each other? And because then you get to meaning you get to that level of meaning, what does it mean to me and how can I contribute? Yes. If you establish that that to start you have a constructive base to get a good outcome and to just to get your sprint goals met. So yeah, that would be my tip to to step back only look at interactions, is it constructive, is it safe? Does the team get to a level of meaning? And can are they able to transform it into constructive goals, often within a timeframe of an hour? Yeah. Yes. And it goes over 5 minutes, as you mentioned. Those are retrospective slides. We often take just an hour for that. So we really have to be skillful adds guiding the team to a meaningful outcome in that hour. Yeah. And you'll see me for example to add on this so teams often expect me to keep time in time boxes like 10 minutes to 10 minutes that I have moved away from that. A little bit like I also trust the process, especially in the retrospective. That's as long as I keep an eye as an helicopter few on how this process goes. So is the team vulnerable? Is it safe towards are they going to meaning and are they making constructive goals? Even if it's one goal, it's actually most important to have one goal. It's not 21. That's enough. And then then the whole time boxing for me is less important as long as it happens within the overall time frame of an hour. Yeah, exactly. So. So you will be I think mindful of oh we only have like ten, 15 minutes left. Are we moving towards that goal or should I nudge the team or remind them like it depends of course on the situation in the team that says good, so just let. Me and I make them accountable. So I say, listen, we have ten more minutes. What do you want to do in these last ten more minutes to reach the goal? Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And let me just just put the spotlight on the thing you said. And I think that is like a really strong tip. It's like not an advanced. It may be, but it's cannot be mentioned enough. Like gets one good outcome of a retrospective or whatever session you have. If you get one good outcome every session you have, if it's a retrospective or refinement or your daily scrum or your teams, then that's like really worth it. Yeah. But very often, of course we fail at that and we just say, okay, you, we just the team needs to talk more, so let them talk. And then last five minute we say, Oh, quick, quick, what action are we going to take? And then right. So that's really important. So I think that's that's something even I still struggle with sometimes. So yeah, that's a good one to refresh now. And I really think even if you look, the ICF has now also included team coaching in their portfolio. So before they were pretty much focused on one on one coaching, but the process is the same. The only thing is, is that when you are guiding a team, then you're at the team is your client. So you have a whole dynamic to as a client. Yes. And and then you have to work with the dynamics. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And I kind of I expect there's a lot of more stuff to, to, to explore because I've had some chats also with Jasper, who's also certified ICF, but like a no log or whatever it is in the Netherlands. And we have traps and intercoms and that's who who's ICF accredited is, of course, CHIONG. You mentioned him not in the podcast yet, but you will soon. But he's also working on this and there's a lot of other stuff like there's how do you do contracting? And I don't mean contracting of course with hiring a team, but like in your role as a coach and it's also very interesting. So yeah, we already said a long while ago when we first chatted about you appearing in a podcast like, Oh, there's so much to explore, maybe we can kick something off. So yeah, there's definitely more to explore for today. I think we have like some, some for me good insights already and some interesting different pathways to help people consider how they could be more coaching or at least be more constructive in how they as a Scrum Master approach teams. And there's every podcast, there's something we do and that's I hope you thought about it already. If not, then I hope you have a good one off the cuff. So there's also this question is Jane question like we have the previous guest provide a question and you get to answer. Oh, sure, yeah, yeah, yeah. So we do that and then we close off and you can mention all the other cool stuff you're doing and we'll get to that first question. So this question I almost didn't have it ready because we had to postpone some time. So it was changing over to Yeah, I have it and it's the question by Gina Shute this is her question is how do you know that you're doing the right thing and what is the right. Let's start with the first part. How do you know you're doing the right thing? Well, I think I want to just you actually gave me a very nice leader to do in this question because you were just mentioning the contract face contracting phase, and that's essential. So yeah, in Agile we are not focusing on contracts. So the word contract is maybe not so nice, maybe agreement is better, but you can only do the right thing if you have established a coaching culture on an agreement level, you need to understand the role. Taking everyone in the room needs to understand the role taking. And yeah, I think if I know that I'm doing the right thing when everyone is in yeah. Is settled in their role. So the role of coach, the role of coaching client and the role of a sponsor? Yeah, I think I'm, I know I do the right thing when that's established and I see people acting that way and that. Yeah. And of course it ends to results so people are happy with their own achievements. Yeah. And they say that I have contributed to that some way because you have to trust the process. Yeah, exactly. And you mentioned it before. So how do you know you're doing the right thing is when you establish a good contract and then if you see results and the right thing is that you help people achieve results basically, right? Yeah. Yeah. Cool. Yeah, yeah. Very nice. And now, of course, you get to ask a question that the next guest has to answer. So do you have like a question for the next guest? I'm always very interested in in childhood experiences and how that and how to drive you into the professional that you are now. So I think my question would be, um, yeah, but from your childhood has made you the professional you are now. What drives. You. Yeah. Yeah. So that's a good question. I was immediately so thinking about these questions. I don't have to answer them. That's because I'm host and that's you. Can if you want to. Right now but there's actually a fun thing we're planning to do. I've said a couple of times before in in other podcast episodes that we're planning to host a special podcast series with the trainers of scrum facilitators and to ask all these questions with a random roulette wheel. So just 20 minutes, I'm going to do it with Steve Traps first after Ben and Steve. Sorry for canceling a few times, but and then we're just going to do like 20 minutes, spin the roulette wheel with all these questions that you lovely people asked. And then. And I said, Yeah. Yeah, see how much we can do in 20 minutes. And then that's also a way to, of course, get to get to know more about us, because in this podcast we are asking questions and you you see a bit of us in when we get empty, ask about a topic and we add some stuff. But yeah. That's so much. Fun. Yeah, we will do that. So, so I'm really not going to answer it now. Now, but we are going round this off and yeah. So I mentioned Cheong already also scrum facilitators and if people want to know more about you and learn more about you, just a few things they can do. Of course they can go on LinkedIn and we will provide your profile for that and connect, connect, say hi and see what you're up to. Yeah, that's other possible possibilities to connect with you. Right. And learn from your show. I think you mentioned a few. Well, there there are two webinars coming up. It's going to be the same webinar, but just on two different dates. So one is on the 2nd of November and one is on the 7th of December and it will be all about ICF coaching within Scrum and to bridge the two worlds. And I've done that before with Scrum dot org. So it's also fun to Google the hard questions around Scrum and then you'll get the webinar with Dave West and Leslie Morse and with Scrum note of the two webinars for the ICF Netherlands, it's going to be co facilitated with Chiong. I had such a lovely chat with him about coaching and we did some work together a couple before and we've worked with the definition of done a framework and we coached the team towards the definition of that and it was wonderful. Yeah, and I'm also on Facebook, so you can also connect there. It's more personal. I love to post a lot of art because I'm creative and I paint myself as well and look, I am not a super political debater on Facebook. I like to keep it. You keep it friendly. And so, yeah, art friendly, soul sometimes inspirational. And then LinkedIn for me is really a professional network. And yeah, to explore more on leadership management and agile, I guess that's how people can connect. Cool. That's, that's really nice. And I look forward to learning more from you. I will look into joining these webinars, of course, because that would be fun to see. Yeah. And you can see it. Yeah. And also again, I do think there's more to explore. So I do want to extend the invitation to you to return on the podcast. And if we do it right, you will be the first one to do multiple podcasts. So. Oh, wonderful. Grace Yeah. So and we'll see. You know, Steve, Steve Traps was also an assistant coach, was also interested to join. But, you know, planning wise, this was already hard to pull off. So know it is. But look like I said, we just persist. Yes. And we make it a goal and we end it and it happens. Yes. Yeah. At the end of the day, you know, it's also an invitation the other way around, too, because I really love to connect with people with a fascination for it or for coaching within Scrum and how they work with that and their challenges in it. So it's also an invitation the other way around. Yeah, sure. So let's continue the conversation. And if people have any questions, just approach you on LinkedIn, go to the webinars, ask questions there and we'll see if we can help, right? Absolutely. It all starts with the question. Thank you for listening to the Scrum Facilitators Community Podcast, The Place for real conversations around Scrum. Do you have a story to share in this podcast? Get in touch with us at podcast at Scrum Facilitators dot com.