Agile Coaching, Whys and Hows with Anu Smally and Cherie Silas

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Keeping Agile Non-Denominational, Episode 31

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Alex Kudinov   Hello everyone. This is another episode of Tandem Coaching Academy's Bringing Agile and Professional Coaching Worlds Together. I'm your host today, Alex Kudinov, and I have two fantastic ladies joining me today. It's Cherie Silas. She is the Founder and Managing Director of Tandem Coaching and Anu Smalley. She is a CTC,CEC, and all that soup of letters, and she is the principal and owner at Capella Consulting. Today we are talking about Agile coaching; Agile coaching in general and some specifics. Why you do that? Why you want to be an Agile coach? What's in it for you? All that stuff so, listen in. Good morning, ladies. How are you doing?

Cherie Silas   Doing well, thank you. 

Anu Smalley   Doing well.

Alex Kudinov   All right. So, Agile coaching. Coaching kind of getting bad rap these days; coaching is everything and now there is this Agile coaching. So what is Agile coaching?

Anu Smalley   You want to start Cherie or shall I?

Cherie Silas   Yeah, I think I got triggered immediately. When Alex said, Agile coaching is everything or whatever. Um, so yeah, let's start there. Agile includes a lot of different disciplines, right? To be an Agile coach, you have to be really skilled in what I think is five areas, or five disciplines based on Lisa Atkins original model for Agile coaches. So it's not just coaching, there's an aspect that professional coaching brings to the table that enables you to work with people to create sustainable change. Extremely important, and I believe the foundation of all of it. Coming from that coaching, mindset and position, there is also facilitating. Facilitating discussions, facilitating sessions, facilitating conflict, decisions, things like that, and there's training, or teaching, and mentoring. Then there's also an aspect of consulting. When I say I get triggered, it's because I'm hearing so much of this, "It's only coaching." It's like the world went from this, 'tell everybody what to do' to 'don't say anything, just ask questions' and it's somewhere in the middle. Let's rebalance. So, yeah, Anu what about you?

Anu Smalley   You know, I was thinking about a few years ago, within the Agile space, there was not much emphasis around professional coaching. So it was, "I have all my Agile stuff and coaching means I'm going to give you all the answers." Now, it's the pendulum has shifted at the other end to say, "I'm just gonna ask you questions that I'm not going to tell you anything" and it's that balance of, you need to have experience and Agility, and understand your client, and know how to coach them, and bring all of those together so that you can help them. Whichever of those five things we mentioned, you do a little bit of everything.

Alex Kudinov   So it's easy for you both to say that. Anu is CST, Cherie is MCC with ICF and also CEC with Scrum Alliance. So yeah, you got here, you know that. So how do people actually get to this balanced position from where they are right now?

Anu Smalley   You know, from a trainer perspective, I'll say something and I think that applies to all the guide levels at the Scrum Alliance. I get students in class who, when I'm done with a class, they say -- and it could be a CSM class, like the foundational class -- and they say, "I want to be a CST. What do I do?" It's like, you're starting, work your way up. I think there's, for me, I know I did the same thing. Don't get me wrong. I did the exact same thing. I saw a trainer and I thought that was so much fun. I said "I want to be you." and it was actually having a bunch of people mentoring me through understanding what is the path to get to where I am now. You cannot do this alone. You've got to have somebody who's guiding you along the way and I didn't have just one mentor. I had multiple mentors, who said, "Wait, you've gotten good here. Now focus on this. Now focus on this" and I think, for me, that's the power of becoming a good guide level coach or trainer with Scrum Alliance is to find your people.

Cherie Silas   Yeah, and I think what-- part of the thing that creates some of this confusion around 'Oh, I can do that' is that you learn Scrum and let's be honest, I can teach you the Scrum framework in five minutes, eight minutes. That's not the piece that's hard. It's the helping organizations to actually take this framework, among others, and Agility, and bring all that into their organization to change the way they think about creating products, delivering products into the market, and so it's a lot more complicated than that. That's where the experience comes in and it's not just about Scrum. Scrum doesn't necessarily work for everybody or for every team. There's other things out there and it's the experience to know what fits, what doesn't fit, how to experiment and figure out what works because you can't take the book and shove it into a client organization and say, "Square peg, round hole. Got it!"  It doesn't really work that way. I mean, I see a lot of people doing that and it doesn't really work that way.

Anu Smalley   Exactly and you know, something you said about getting your experience and learning.  I'll admit to this in my own career. Every step of the way I've sat and gone, "Huhh. I don't know anything. I got to learn more stuff" or every time I take a class, I do more stuff, or get an experience, and there's a, "If I hadn't done this, I would not have learned this" and I've continued to learn, as opposed to, "Yeah, I know Scrum, I can help an entire organization towards Agility." Well, there's more to it than that.

Alex Kudinov   So hold on, you're telling our listeners that you went to a three day class and you are still not Agile coach and you still need to learn something more?

Anu Smalley   I know what a surprise, right.

Alex Kudinov   And so Anu, you mentioned multiple times the term guide level coach and that's kind of a big umbrella for a couple of high level certifications with Scrum Alliance.They can go and they can look it up and what that entails. My question is, so you both are CTC and CECs, I'm CTC and CEC too, what makes us difference so that we are actually qualified as guide levels?

Anu Smalley   That's a fantastic question. If you were to ask me this 13 years ago, I would have said, I'm qualified because I work in an organization that has implemented -- "implemented" -- Scrum, whatever that means. It was really badly done but hey, I would have thought the answer to that would have been very different 13 years ago, it is very different now. For me, what makes me qualified to call myself a guide level is, I have enough knowledge enough, for now, and I have, as Cherie was pointing out, I have a variety of experiences, good, bad, ugly and indifferent. I've had teams where I've imploded teams because I didn't know what I was doing or I did the wrong thing and that was learning. The thing for me, it is absolutely the experience of doing and learning from it that has got me to a point where I can say, "I may be able to help you. I don't know if I'm the right one yet but I can attempt it."

Cherie Silas   Well, I think it's important to clarify what does Guide Level coach mean and what does this CTC or CEC, what does that actually mean? It's not, "I know Agile", it's not, "I know Scrum." It's not only that, "I'm helping companies--

Alex Kudinov   But hold on, you still know Scrum and Agile right?

Cherie Silas   Yeah, you should know that plus a lot more. It's also, you are guiding the industry in what Agile and Agile coaching is, and adopting Agile into companies, and transforming or transitioning organizations, and leading the knowledge and the practice in the worldwide industry. So this is why it's, number one, a big deal and why it's not as simple as, "I took a three day class."

Anu Smalley   Yeah.

Cherie Silas   When I first heard-- I didn't know what CEC was. Back when I did this, back in the day, there was no CTC. It was was Certified Scrum Coach and the way I heard about it was some guy at work came in fuming one day because his application had been declined and, "It's just a good old boys club." and I was like, "I've never heard of it before. What is that?" Well, you know, me and my typical, 'I've got to rebel against the system', nature figured, "I'm gonna see if it's a good old boys club. Nobody knows me." Then I went on that journey and I went through the first round, and I was accepted, not immediately, that was like...that's three years later. I was already an experienced coach and enterprise coach and all that at that moment. But it was just interesting that the perspective from someone being declined, being validated at that level, was that it was a good old boys club and I don't think that's true. I think it is that you actually have to know what you're doing and be able to prove that you know what you're doing, and that you're not only a consultant, but you know how to help people create sustainable change in their organization and you have a coaching mindset.

Anu Smalley   So Cherie, wait, are you saying it's a little bit more than slapping on the word 'Agile Coach' on LinkedIn?

Cherie Silas

Alex Kudinov   You just have to keep triggering her,

Anu Smalley   Of course!

Alex Kudinov   So, just for the record, how long did it take you both to get to this Guide Level?

Cherie Silas   From the time we started trying, or from the time we started practicing?

Alex Kudinov   Maybe both.

Anu Smalley   So practicing, I started in 2009. I became a CST first. That was in 2005...and I start-- not 2005, 2015; the math didn't make sense. 2015 and I started trying in 2013. So I started my journey. It took me two years to become a CST. Around the same time, one of my mentors said, "You know, you should do the coaching stuff first. You have more experience in coaching than you have been training." I'm going. Okay. But then I finished my CST, and then I stayed for years without doing this, and then last year, I got a little kick in the behind by one of my mentors, saying, "Are you ever going to get off your behind and get this. You need to do this. I'm like, "Fine." So that's when I started the journey again. I went down the domination path in 2019. I started and there was spurts and starts; finally got it this year.

Cherie Silas   This is amazing. I started in 2009 when I accidentally ran across Scrum in a weird place, and in 2013,

Anu Smalley   Oh my goodness!

Cherie Silas   I decided that was when I had this awakening, like I'm going to push the system and I'm going to see. In 2016 was when I got my CEC

Anu Smalley   The dates are amazing! 

Cherie Silas   Isn't that hilarious?

Anu Smalley   That is strange.

Alex Kudinov   So it's years.

Anu Smalley   It is years.

Alex Kudinov   It's years and years, and as Anu mentioned, it's climbing the ladder all the way up. So why would anybody be climbing that ladder? All the way up for years? What's in it for them?

Cherie Silas   Well, um, some of the things it's given me, I think, first and foremost is that someone else, who I know to be an expert in this industry, and who really knows what's going on, they validated that I also knew what I was doing. To me that was like the most important because I wanted to make sure that the work I was doing with clients was doing more good than it was harm that it was actually doing what I thought it was. So that was the first thing for me. Then, there's, what I didn't know at the time was that, I would have access and relationships with all of the world leaders; as many of them as I wanted. Each one of them was just an email away or a chat away, which has been completely phenomenal. Since 2016, I have learned so much more and so those are two of the big things that first come to mind.

Alex Kudinov   So it's validation and a huge network of Agile thought leadership that you can tap into, at a press of a button.

Anu Smalley   And it's fun! It's fun to learn and grow and become part of this amazing community. I mean, I got to meet Cherie and you because we are part of the Guides community. I have some of my-- like Cherie said, the relationship, the networking, and because of those, we get to help so many more people. It's amazing. It's an amazing opportunity to not just grow yourself, but also look behind you and go, "Who else can I bring along? How can I grow more people and build up this community to make it even bigger?" For me, that's fun.

Alex Kudinov   It sounds like it's more of a capstone, more of a kind of crowning achievement of the long journeys that you undertook and I don't think that was an easy journey.

Cherie Silas   It's kind of like when you get your PhD. Like, "I worked all these years and finally, I think I can go out into the world now." Right? Although you continue, usually, being a lifetime learner. So yeah, that and another thing that it gave me, because I had that capstone, was the visibility and ability to impact more people because being a Guide Level coach, people knew that I was somebody they wanted to learn from and be mentored by. So it opened a big door for me to create mentoring groups, and to be able to work with individuals and help them along the path that I had been along, not just for some letters  -- because at the end of the day letters are just letters, they don't do anything except take up more room on your signature line -- but to help them actually create impact in the world.

Alex Kudinov   So as you were going through your multi-year journey, and I'm going to stack this question for both of you. What help did you have on this long way up and what do you wish you had, in terms of help, in terms of some other things that you didn't?

Anu Smalley   So for me, as I started my journey, what I had was a few mentors, who, and it was not an official mentoring relationship was just people I knew where I would reach out and say, "Hey, Cherie, what do you think I should do next?" "Alex, I've done this, what's next?" and as time permitted, I would get some feedback from people saying, "You need to do more of this, and get to the next step, and get to the next step." What I wish I had was a little bit more structure because I stumbled my way through my journey. I learned a lot of stuff along my stumbling journey. Don't get me wrong. Would I change anything for me? Probably not, because that's how I learn best but I wish I had a little bit more structure. I wish I had, like one person or a couple of people who could actually say, this is your journey. Do you want to go here? Honestly, when I first started, I didn't know what the capstone was. I just started walking and went, "Wait, hey, there's a capstone. Oh my God, that's amazing." I wish it was more deliberate and more structured. Why would I want that? I think the reason I would have wanted that is I didn't have a goal per se that I want to become a Guide Level. I just went until I became a Guide Level. I wonder often if I had that as a goal, would my journey have been different? I don't know. Might I have learned more stuff? As you can tell, I have an obsession with learning. So might I have learned differently, learned more? I think that's what I would have wanted a little bit more of. So what now as a guide, that's what I want to do for others; provide that structure or provide the ability to see out front so that they can identify the path that best suits them.

Alex Kudinov   So it's like more effective walking that path rather than wandering around and getting more focused learning and focusing on what matters.

Anu Smalley   Yeah.

Alex Kudinov   What about you, Cherie?

Cherie Silas   So my journey was similar and quite different at the same time. I knew no one, I had no official mentors, I got lucky, and I happened to take a consulting role, working side by side with a few people; some PSTs and some other people were really more on that path. So, I became work partners with them and really learned a ton, and they learned a lot from me too, which was very interesting, because they were phenomenal. So, I, like you, didn't have any official mentors. In fact, I was often told, "Where the heck did you come from and can we not know who you are? Where were you?" but it was because I didn't even know that there was a community, I just did what I did. I didn't know that there were other people who actually did what I did, until I happen to fall into this consulting gig. So, like you, I wish I had known more. My guide that I followed, I printed out the CSC application, the Certified Scrum Coach, it sat on my desk for three years and I use that as a roadmap. I didn't even know there was the Google Groups and different things. I did it all on my own. I didn't know anything or any body. So had I known that support existed -- and I don't even know if it did back and by the time I applied it, it changed to the Certified Enterprise Coach and it was like, there were a bunch of things I didn't find out until after I was credentialed. So, if I had some kind of a guide, someone to work with, to just to point the direction and to tell me what I knew and what I didn't know. To help me along the way, the big things that helped me along the way were like Devon Morris saying, "I don't even know who you are. How can you possibly be a guide level coach? I've never seen you. I've never heard from you. Who are you?" and actually, I was looking to be a trainer. So after that discussion with him, I sat down, and I did some introspection, and that's when I decided to go into coaching because that was what I really liked, not training. So yeah, I wish I had had more support. So that's a big reason why, as soon as I got credentialed, I started opening up mentoring groups, and helping people along that journey because I heard people saying, "I need a mentor for the application." and I was like, I beg to differ. You don't need someone to help you fill out the application. Either you know what you're doing, or you don't. I'm going to mentor you and help you know what you're doing and you can figure out how to fill out the application. If you need a mentor to fill up the application, you're not there.

Alex Kudinov   Alright, so sounds like there would be some of the useful things, had you had those on your journeys, and now we all come together and do this big thing that we call Tandem-Capella Agile Coach University. What's that all about?

Cherie Silas   It feels like the capstone. So when I first opened Tandem Coaching Academy, I had this....what I wanted was at some point to have a university. To be able to have a place for agile coaches to come, and grow, and learn, and be able to serve their whole careers, and I wasn't able to do that on my own. So my big focus is bringing professional coaching into the Agile space and helping Agile coaches grow to be able to bring more sustainable change. I couldn't do...there was nothing well rounded that... I can't offer everything. So, working, first being able to work with Alex, who brings in all of the stuff, which is wonderful, and all of the Kanban University stuff, and that technical side of life that I knew very little about. So, being able to first work with Alex was a big part of the coming together, and then linking up with Anu just like, "Hey, how are you doing? We should do something together" and Alex kept pushing on, what's the end to end? How can people go from, "What's this Scrum thing" to "I'm a guide level coach, leading the industry" and Anu filled, you filled, all those gaps. One person can't do it all and quite frankly, there's too much of that in the Agile world. There's too much of the "protect my territory; it's about me and I've got to be the king of the hill." We-- there is more than enough work and more than enough dysfunction out there for all of us; more than we can all handle. So as coaches, we should be collaborative and we can -- the three of us can -- do together what none of us can ever accomplish alone.

Anu Smalley   Exactly, it's that wisdom of the crowd; all of us are smarter than one of us. I so agree. Even from a, whether it's a trainer or coaching, I think there's so much of this, "Well, I'm not going to help anybody else grow. Because if I help you grow, then I'm not growing." I'm like, "Are you kidding me? If I help you grow, I'm growing with you." It's just as simple as that. For me, it was just so straightforward. When you reached out and said, "Hey, we should do something together." I'm like, "Oh, my god, yes, let's do something together!"  I still remember my husband asked me, "So why...why are you so excited?" I'm like, "Because I get to work with amazing people, and build something, and create something that will help others. Oh, my God, why would I not say yes!?!?" It was just that it was, for me that's what it boils down to, as you said, "I cannot help everybody. I have a lot of stuff that I offer from a training perspective, some from a coaching perspective but collectively, we can change the world, transform the world of work. Yes.

Alex Kudinov   I remember us having a lot of square holes and we came to Anu, "Anu, do you have square pegs?" and she's like, "I have square pegs! Here they are!" So Tandem-Capella Agile Coach University. Why go there? What's in it for the students?

Cherie Silas   Well, if I was a student, the first thing I would say is, "Oh, my God, are you going to tell me that every week, I can meet with one to three world leaders every week, and have two hours of their time, and learn with other people who are on the same journey, and learn about stuff I don't know." Having just having that full access to three industry leading coaches and trainers as mentors, that...there's no amount of money that can cover that. So yeah, I guess on that note, it's you get help along the journey and you get to learn the things that you don't know you don't know, which was a huge part of the growth curve for us. Because there was no roadmap,they didn't know where to go. Just, I see so many people -- and Alex, you and I have talked about this before -- just like, "Do this. Do this. Do this. Do this; all this stuff and you've spent so much time, and so much money, and so much energy, and you've got a lot of knowledge, and, many times, it's not the right stuff. It's not the stuff that's going to get you where you want to be and so there's a lot of energy, time, and money wasted and that's not what we want for people who we want to partner with.

Anu Smalley   You're right. It's something like you throw everything on the wall and see what sticks. That's what I did. That's what sounds like you did Cherie but I wouldn't want that for anybody else. I would's about making sure you have a path and I come across a bunch of people, often, who say, "I can't handle another class. I've done so many. There was a colossal waste of time." I'm like, was it the right thing to do? Was it the right class? Was it the right cohort? Was it the right learning? There's lots of misconception out there about what it takes to become a Scrum Alliance guide member. For me, it's two things, right? One, you have three guide levels, who are telling you, "We can help you." Why wouldn't you? Why wouldn't you?

Alex Kudinov   Yeah and since Cherie mentioned, so my story is: I was very lucky, I had an absolutely fantastic consulting gig. I could throw as much money as I wanted at learning and unlike some other consultants, I could actually afford taking time off and throw additional money at those courses. I wish I were smarter. I wish I had, what Anu refers to, kind of framework, or a path, or guide so that maybe I would have saved some money in the end, and save some time and maybe not go into specific classes or taking some other classes that would contribute to my growth. So, let's say somebody is like, "Well, yeah, that's great Coaching University. Okay, so what will I get on the other end?"

Cherie Silas   So, our vision is to meet you where you are, and bring you along the journey. So that means if you're at the very beginning of, "What's this Agile thing? I need to shift my career." we start there. Most people, we suspect, will already be Scrum Masters or Agile coaches or Agile leaders who are midway through their journey and ready to move. So, at the end, to answer your question directly is, what we are preparing you for is that guide level certification. So the Certified Team Coach is our focus. What the university will give you is sufficient also, for the CEC, the Certified Enterprise Coach. Our big focus is the Certified Team Coach because, in my experience, there's a lot more people doing that multi-team organizational coaching than are actually doing enterprise coaching. You might have one enterprise coach in twenty Agile coaches or team coach level people. Team coach doesn't mean you're coaching a team, it means you're coaching an organization that is a multi-team organization. So coming out the other end, there's a few avenues for you that we're preparing you for and it is dependent on your ability to grasp the concepts, have the experience, and build the competence. We can't do that for you. So either a nomination path, where if we have worked enough with you and can understand that your competence level is to a point where we can say, "I have watched them work, and I can validate, they're ready, and I will nominate them; I'll put my name on the line and nominate them." That's one path and then the other path is you will be ready to submit that application. We of course can't, I guess, promise approval through either path, because that's not us but we can prepare you to get there. We'll give you the honest feedback. "No, you're not ready" or "Yes, I believe you  are ready, both at the end and along the way."

Anu Smalley   Cherie you had said something about a PhD earlier and as you were saying, what came to my mind was a PhD candidate has an advisor. They have an advisor that guides them throughout their PhD, gives them feedback on their thesis, but the candidate is the only one who can pass that oral exam. The adviser has got nothing there; cannot help you there. That's you proving that you know your stuff, you got the stuff, and that you can explain to people this is where you are. I think that's a...I love that analogy there.

Alex Kudinov   So, you're saying that the student comes in here and it's no guarantees that, on the other hand, they are still CTC and they still need to do a lot of work on their own. Okay, fine. Apparently, doing the work is always the individual undertaking and in this case is more alongside with other guide level coaches and mentors. So what does the kind of life of a student look like throughout this path with Agile Coach University?

Cherie Silas   Yeah. So like I said, it's not a, you give me your money, hit the easy button and you've got your CTC. It's not an easy path. It's a directed path that's going to take a lot of hard work. So if we look at the structure, we have this structured in basically three, what we're calling, semesters. You'll come in at the level you're at. So the semester one, which you may bypass is really a foundational level. So it's at that semester one where it's all of the like CSM, acsm, CSP Scrum Master of same thing on the PO track. The ICAgile Coaching Agile Teams and Facilitation and there's a technical piece in there. So it's all the basic foundations that you're working on, all the way until you're like, "Alright, I'm an Agile coach, and I am ready to go."

Alex Kudinov   So Cherie, let me interrupt you for a moment. I'm just realizing, as you're talking that ACSM, CSP SM, and Scrum Alliance world, it's pretty advanced and you called it foundational?

Cherie Silas   Oh, yeah.

Alex Kudinov   So, what's beyond that advanced foundation, I wonder.

Cherie Silas   So, all the way through CST is really, it's Scrum Master, right? So when you do Advanced CSM, you're starting to learn more. When you get to CSP, it's, you're beginning to impact the organization and look outside at the organization. So that's why we call it foundational, you may or may not be coaching at the CSP level. Then beyond that is where the really, really even harder work comes in and that's coaching the organization and helping the organization to adopt Agile. This is where two things come into play. The semester two, which is professional coaching-- and I want to be really clear in my understanding that, Agile coaching, you will not be doing one-on-one coaching with people all the time. It's going to be a very, very small slice of what you do. You'll mostly be doing organizational and team coaching. So we're teaching you that piece. Then Anu, why don't you talk more about the Agile piece, the semester three?

Anu Smalley   Yes, so semester three, it kind of rounds you out, right? We're, as Cherie was saying just now it's a helping organizations or multi-team environment. In order to do that you need to know how to be a leader as well. So semester three kind of focuses on the leadership aspect, and coaching the enterprise, and coaching a transformation, because most teams, as they move from one perspective to the other, whether it's traditional to an Agile environment, they are going to need coaching help as they move on to transformations. That semester three. You've learned Scrum fundamentals, you've learned professional coaching, now we're going to put everything together and help you figure out what are the bits and pieces that you need to work on, and help. How do you put everything together? For me that becomes the thread that you're pulling through within all three semesters. I was recently talking to somebody and they said, "Oh, so it's three separate semesters?" Yes and there is a thread that goes through all three semesters that actually builds on what you have and gets you ready for this; the final application to the CTC.

Alex Kudinov   So definitely long journey and definitely expensive one. Maybe not as expensive as just throwing money at the wall and see what will come out of that wall, but still expensive. So how does the financial part and maybe ROI work in this case?

Cherie Silas   Yeah, so great point and I think it depends on several different perspectives. So first of all, if you take all of this stuff and you price it out separately, quite a deal that you're getting. Our semesters cover a lot and we try to make them as inexpensive as possible. So if you would go to another place and take coach training, it's going to cost you, in most cases, especially the two, that most -- many -- Agile coaches go to $16,000/$17,000 just for the coaching; just for the professional coaching piece that we're bringing. Then, on top of that, all of the Agile training, which I've listed a ton in the beginning, Anu's listed a ton in the end. So price out separately, this is probably -- I'm going to round number it -- $30,000/$35,000 worth of learning that you're going to get. Your investment here is going to be...anywhere between $12,000 and $18,000. So each semester is roughly $6000 or $7,000 at the time of this recording, so it's gonna depend on your exact path. Way less than-- about half the price of everywhere else. So yes, there's an investment of time and energy over a period of a few years, likely, depending on where you are. What you'll get back is, I think, the financial return on investment is huge. So I, how do I say this... I know that I've invested over $100,000 in education for myself over the years easily and my income has increased by that yearly. So, return on investment. I can't promise what you'll make and I can't promise what your income or your salary is going to be; only you can do that. However, what I know is that when you get to these levels, first of all, there's the industry recognition, and then there's validation. So you can command a higher price. There's also the opportunity, if you love training also and you want to be a CTC, that opens up the ability to start doing mentoring groups. You charge for your time. You start teaching ACSM or CSP classes or Product Owner Advanced in CSP classes. You can teach the leadership classes; the CAL. So there's a lot of opportunity and added income that you couldn't have access to without these credentials. So yes, a big time investment. Yeah, there's a financial investment. If you want it for you, you're gonna have to invest in it and potential for a huge return. I know for me, I saw way bigger return than I even expected. I didn't even know there would be a return when I went on this journey. I was like, "Wow!" So, Anu, what about you?

Anu Smalley   I would agree. I think financially, it has made a difference for me in the last six years. Every time I have invested money, like the coach certification you were talking about, I've invested in a bunch of those and spent a lot of money and everybody says, "Why are you doing another class? What are you gonna get out of it?" I'm like, "I don't know. I'll figure it out at the end." Because at the end, I'm going to be better which allows me to potentially make more money, charge more money.  I know I get that question a lot from people. "So will CTC help me make more money?" Yes, and that depends on you. If you get your CTC and you don't do any coaching whatsoever, no, you won't make money. So you have to work hard and you have to do that. For me, the other big advantage of coming through the Agile Coach University is you are going to have a group of people, three of us, mentoring you throughout the journey. You can't put a price on that. You cannot put a price on that. I've also experienced this, where different coaches and trainers tell you, "Turn left oh no, turn right, oh no turn left. No, no, turn right." While there is immense value and diversity of opinion, you will get that plus a consistent approach. You get both. You're not going to get that anywhere else.

Alex Kudinov   You can both at the price of one.

Anu Smalley   Yes.

Alex Kudinov   Nice

Anu Smalley   You get three for price of one, not both

Cherie Silas   Who wouldn't want us?

Anu Smalley   Who wouldn't want us?

Cherie Silas   We're amazing!

Anu Smalley   Exactly!

Alex Kudinov   All right, ladies. So, um, last opportunity, what else would our students, potential students, need to know that we didn't discuss just yet?

Cherie Silas   I think from my perspective, is, we're tough. We're gonna give you real feedback. So some of my mentees have said, "She's gonna stab you in the heart and it's gonna hurt like heck and you're going to be better for it. She's not going to hold back, she's gonna tell you the truth, and it's gonna hurt. To me, I care enough about you to stab you in the heart and say, "Yeah, not there yet. Fix it." So that is a part of the journey and we think it's an important part because life and excellence is not just handed to you.

Anu Smalley   There is something and I'm very similar to you, Cherie, when I'm mentoring people. I tell them, "No, you're, you're not ready" and they fight me and I'm can fight me but you're not ready. So I'll help you. One of the things I've often told students is, there is a difference between knowledge and wisdom. I can, as a trainer and a coach, I can give you knowledge. "Hey, this is what coaching is about. This is what Scrum is about. This is how you can approach things." What you do with that is how you make your own wisdom. So, the analogy I give students often is, "Knowledge is knowing tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put tomato in a fruit salad." So what you make of this will depend on the effort you put in, we will guide you, we will help you, we will give you knowledge, we are here, but if people are thinking, "Oh I'm just gonna come in and Anu, Alex, and Cherie are gonna just make me a CTC." That's not what this is about.

Alex Kudinov   Ain't gonna happen.

Cherie Silas   If you're looking for letters, just letters... probably not for you. If you're looking to grow and letters are a byproduct, probably for you.

Anu Smalley   Absolutely.

Alex Kudinov   All right, ladies. It's really good to have you this morning and talk about Agile Coaching, the path to CTC, and Tandem Capella Agile Coach University. Thank you so much and it's been Tandem Coaching Academy's Bringing Agile and Professional Coaching Worlds Together podcast. I was Alex Kudinov, your host today. Bye now.

About Episode Guest

Anu Smalley

Anu is the President and Founder of Capala Consulting Group, LLC where she specializes in Executive coaching and Agile Transformations. She is also an Enterprise Agile Coach and Certified Scrum Trainer® - providing education and coaching, consulting services to clients across the United States. An IT professional with over 25 years of industry experience, Anu holds a Master’s degree in Psychology from Osmania University in India and
a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Bowling Green State University, Ohio.
Anu has extensive experience with large scale agile transformations, integral to the success of the likes of Capital One through her training and coaching expertise. She has specialized in leadership coaching and large group facilitation. Anu has established internal agile coaching Centers of Excellence for several clients to allow self-sustained coaching of their agile transformations. She has developed a coaching program specifically designed for evolving organizational leaders. Anu speaks frequently at conferences both nationally and internationally on Product Ownership and Group Facilitation Techniques.
Anu is passionate about coaching and training others, dedicated to helping to achieve professional and personal success. She is also committed to improving the agile community through several activities. She is an active member of the larger Scrum and Agile community and enjoys giving back via volunteering at various conferences. She is also a Program Advisor to the Scrum Alliance Events group as they plan, organize and coordinate various conferences, retreats and meetups around the world.

Cherie Silas, MCC, CEC

Cherie Silas is an ICF Credentialed Master Certified Coach (MCC) and a Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC) and Certified Team Coach (CTC) with Scrum Alliance.
She has a strong desire to help people arrive at the place they define as success in both personal and professional life. Her goal is to invest the experience and talents she has gathered through years of learning, oftentimes the hard way, into people whom she hopes will become greater than she can ever dream to be.
Cherie often focus is culture transformation work in the corporate environment and development of team and enterprise coaches. Cherie serves as an executive coach to employees and leaders of non-profit organizations that works with rising leaders all over the world at crucial points in their careers to help them manifest the change they want to be, and see, in the world.
Cherie serves as a mentor coach helping coaches improve their core coaching competencies and skills. She also provides coach supervision to experienced coaches helping them look at the work they are doing with their clients and strengthen those client relationships to have more effective coaching engagements.
Cherie’s life mission that drives every interaction with every individual she encounters is simply this: To leave you better than I found you with each encounter.
Professional Certifications: Master Certified Coach (MCC), Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC), Professional Scrum Master (PSM), Certified Scrum Master (CSM), Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO), Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), Certified Scrum Professional (CSP), Project Management Professional (PMP)

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