Learn What an Amazing Mentoring Relationship is Like

Photo by Liz West

Photo by Liz West

Mentoring relationships can take many different forms. I have a few people I consider mentors, and I do not work alongside them on a daily basis. In fact, most of them do not live in Dallas. It seems like our lives intersect precisely when I need it most, and I gain much from our conversations. They can be my champions, my inspiration, my teachers, and my source of wisdom. When I imagine my future, I find myself borrowing from their examples. This quote from an article about 5 types of mentors captured it beautifully:

The best mentors can help us define and express our inner calling. —Anthony Tjan

That’s a big task for a mentor and one that I take seriously. Part of being an Agile Coach and consultant means mentoring the internal coaching capabilities of an organization—finding the employees who will continue the good work of teaching and coaching others after I’ve left. I’ve had the pleasure of coaching many new Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches over the years, and one of my joys is connecting them to the greater agile community—I especially love catching up with previous clients at meetups and conferences. So when my friend and fellow Dallas-based Agile Coach Chris Murman said he was looking for someone new to be on the Agile Amped podcast, I immediately said, “I have an idea!”

Noreen, Chris, and Allison at Agile 2018

Noreen, Chris, and Allison at Agile 2018

This podcast episode marks the first for Noreen Emanuel, Agile Coach. She brings empathy to relationships and lights up a room with her positive energy. An avid learner, Noreen embraces new ideas and adapts to change; her servant leadership inspires those around her to do the same. I’ve been fortunate to be her mentor as she begins her agile coaching journey, and we’ve got a formidable partnership. Listen to our conversation with Chris and learn what an amazing mentoring relationship is like from both sides.

Allison Pollard

I help people discover their agile instincts and develop their coaching abilities. As an agile coach with Improving in Dallas, I enjoy mentoring others to become great Scrum Masters, coaching managers to grow teams that deliver amazing results, and fostering communities that provide sustainability for agile transformations. In my experience, applying agile methods improves delivery, strengthens relationships, and builds trust between business and IT. A big believer in the power of community-based learning, I grew the DFW Scrum user group significantly over the five years I served as an organizer. I am also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, a foodie, and proud glasses wearer.

Mentoring for All Ages

Photo by Ariel van Spronsen

Photo by Ariel van Spronsen

January is National Mentoring Month.  Realizing that it's National Mentoring Month made me wonder what else I can do to mentor others.  According to the official NMM website:

To be a mentor, you don't need special skills, just an ability to listen and to offer friendship, guidance and encouragement to a young person. And you'll be amazed by how much you'll get out of the experience.

Helping young people is great, and it's why I'm happy to be on the Theta Tau Educational Foundation board supporting college students who belong to the fraternity.  In fact, one of the key skills I look forward to teaching my student brothers is how to be a mentor to others.

But it's not just young people who can benefit from mentors.  Sometimes we all need to talk to someone who can help us be successful.  In order to connect with more people I can help, I'm trying a new tool: Clarity.  It's a service that helps you find, schedule and pay for expert advice over the phone to help you be more productive.  All of my earnings go to charity:water.

Allison Pollard

I help people discover their agile instincts and develop their coaching abilities. As an agile coach with Improving in Dallas, I enjoy mentoring others to become great Scrum Masters, coaching managers to grow teams that deliver amazing results, and fostering communities that provide sustainability for agile transformations. In my experience, applying agile methods improves delivery, strengthens relationships, and builds trust between business and IT. A big believer in the power of community-based learning, I grew the DFW Scrum user group significantly over the five years I served as an organizer. I am also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, a foodie, and proud glasses wearer.

Mentoring and Gratitude

Photo by Shannon Kringen

Photo by Shannon Kringen

I just finished a virtual coaching class, and I am now an ICAgile Certified Professional in Agile Coaching!  I loved the class, and I learned a lot by practicing coaching skills over the 7 weeks.  During the class, we watched a video about gratitude that got me thinking about the role of mentors in the agile transition:

By the time I "really" became a Scrum Master, I was already part of the agile community and knew people with more experience that I could learn from.  I had someone to tell me to trust my instincts and be proud of my small wins.  I was excited to tell him about the magic I had found in posting 300 index cards with features and defects on walls for our business folks to prioritize, and he laughed and smiled with delight.  He has been instrumental in making me the coach that I am today.

Now as a coach, I find myself showing gratitude for the Scrum Masters and teams that I work with:

 

And showing gratitude for my peers:

And I'm in an environment of gratitude:

And some are showing their gratitude for my coaching:

Allison Pollard

I help people discover their agile instincts and develop their coaching abilities. As an agile coach with Improving in Dallas, I enjoy mentoring others to become great Scrum Masters, coaching managers to grow teams that deliver amazing results, and fostering communities that provide sustainability for agile transformations. In my experience, applying agile methods improves delivery, strengthens relationships, and builds trust between business and IT. A big believer in the power of community-based learning, I grew the DFW Scrum user group significantly over the five years I served as an organizer. I am also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, a foodie, and proud glasses wearer.