Facilitating Real Conversations with Marsha Acker

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Keeping Agile Non-Denominational, Episode 17

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Alex Kudinov   Hello everyone. This is Tandem Coaching Academy's Keeping Agile Non-Denominational podcast. Today our guest is Marsha Acker and she is an Executive Team Coach, she is a facilitator, she is a COVID survivor, a mom, and all the good stuff. We are your hosts Cherie Silas and Alex Kudinov. Hi, Marsha. Why don't you start with introducing yourself to our listeners?

Marsha Acker   Hi, Alex and Cherie, it's lovely to be here so thanks. Introducing myself...so I would say that I describe myself as an Executive and Team Coach right now but I come from a background of software engineering. So I often say software engineering was my first career working with engineers and end users to sort of bridge the gap between requirements and development. So I spent quite a bit of time in that space. Today, I coach executives and I work a lot with leadership teams. I'm passionate about facilitation and coaching. I've been doing this now for a number of years and also have a great deal of passion around Agile coaching and what that competency looks like. So that's what I'd say is like a high level bit about me

Alex Kudinov   Fantastic. High level gives us a lot to chew on. We are going to build some bridges and bridge some gaps with facilitation and real conversations.

Marsha Acker   Yeah.

Alex Kudinov   So what is the role of real conversation and bridging those gaps?

Marsha Acker   Yeah, it's interesting, Alex you picked up on, a few minutes ago, like something today for me about talking about real conversations and I think what sits behind that, for me, is I've had an opportunity to grow other facilitators to certainly have my own multi-year journey and facilitation. I can look back on my own journey of when I, early on in that process, would be in front of a room holding space for a conversation, but I could point some moments where I made choices as a facilitator to like, "It feels like it's getting hot in here", or "It feels like the conversations getting a little bit heated", or "There's some disagreement happening and early on I would make choices to manage that out of the room. So it would look like a good time for a break or "Let's go from full group conversation over to small groups."  I can laugh about it now and I can tell you about it now, I wouldn't have had the words and I think the framework and the structure to tell you back then what I was doing but I use it as an example because I think there are many ways, either playing in the role of facilitator or just simply being a team member and a conversation in a room -- whether it's online or in a physical space back when we used to do that -- where I think we do sometimes a really good job at staying on the surface level; like what are the safe things to talk about? What are the things that make it still feel like it's okay, or "It's my role to offer this particular perspective but it's not my role to say that", or "This wouldn't be welcomed", or "Somebody might think that I don't like them", or "That feels really difficult or rude." I think we have lots of stories in our head about why we do what we do when we come to a conversation and so, for me, I think there's so much potential underneath the surface when you can get to the real conversation and I don't think that's always easy.  I see facilitation as kind of bridging that gap.

Alex Kudinov   As you're talking about that, what's coming up for me, parallel to the coaching world is the coaching presence; being in the moment, staying in the moment, and have all these opportunities and possibilities to go into, all these multiple directions, and then picking one and making it important and bringing value to the room and to the customer. So how did you get where you are? How did you get to be this facilitator?

Marsha Acker   I love what you said just a moment ago about what you're hearing is coaching presence, because I would say the way I would describe my model for facilitation -- just my own personal model -- it's highly informed by coaching. So I think the skills and competencies of coaching and facilitation blends really well. Where I started, back in that first career working with developers on a development team, I -- that was back in 94, when I was actually working with the Department of Defense and we were trying to collect user requirements across all five services -- I was working from Joint Chiefs of Staff and the objective was to come to an agreement. If you've ever done any work with those five organizations, getting those organizations to come to any kind of consensus on anything,  is rather challenging. So I found, I was fresh out of college at that time and I had a book called Joint Application Development. This was well before we were talking about Agile but it talked about facilitation and so I found the class, went off to training for five days, and then stepped into the room the following week with 35 people and facilitated one of my first sessions around gathering requirements from end users. That was really my first foray into facilitation.  I often say that that five days, in that facilitation class, changed fundamentally so much for me. So it changed how I looked at my own leadership, it changed how I interacted with friends, it changed how I interacted with community work that I was doing. I just began to see -- and at that point, I probably couldn't have told you that-- but I began to see my own leadership has taken a very facilitative style. That was my first foray into it and then I became quite passionate about it.  I started working in a development team, we were using extreme programming in 99/2000, and that was where I really began to see this vision come to life for me about how things like facilitation could really bridge into this world of Agility wasn't quite formed and didn't have it sort of formal momentum at that moment but I saw some of the things that were coming out of extreme programming as a way-- as kind of a facilitative process. We had cards on the table and we had developers gathered around talking about things. So it just really-- there was aspects about Agility that really spoke to the idea of collaboration. So fast forward a little bit, I came to the world of professional coaching; I guess it was around 2011 when I first came into that space formally through training. So my own journey started very much in the world of facilitation for a number of years and then coaching got woven into the hardest part of that second half of my journey so far.

Cherie Silas   So I hear you talking about coaching and about facilitation, I'm wondering, what's the difference between coaching a client and doing facilitation?

Marsha Acker   So that's a question that I pondered for a number of years because I came from the world of facilitation and then my coach training was through CTI for the Coaches Training Institute and after I completed that certification, I went off to ORSC, and I mainly because I did a lot of work with teams, I wanted to do more of this team coaching thing, that I wanted to put more definition for myself around that, and I loved ORSC- ORSC and forms; still much of what I do today-- there's so many of these principles that's underneath what I do-- and yet sitting in the courses, one of the things that I was really confounded by, or confused by, was, what's the difference between facilitation and team coaching because, in the coursework, for me, what I saw was facilitation. So I came out of those courses and probably for about two and a half to three years, I sat with this kind of personal inquiry that I'd given myself around, "What is the difference between facilitation and team coaching?" and I found that some of my team coaching practice, early on, had, in a way, kind of blended and made a mess of both of those skills. So I'd walk in and be working with a team, and sometimes I would be coaching them, and sometimes I would be facilitating, and what I would say today, for me, the difference between the two, if I were to bottom line, is just to say, I think team facilitation is when you're working with a team to produce an outcome. They've got a retrospective that they want to do or they've got a strategic plan that they're looking to create and you're there to hold a process that gets them to that. Then I think there are moments, if you're also a trained coach and you're facilitating, you'll likely start to see dynamics in a team. You might be reading what's happening in the group, and then I think there's an intentional conscious choice and then have you designed to also coach a team or did you design just to facilitate? I've got lessons learned on both of those accounts but what did you contract for, and what are you there to do, and what's the purpose of it, because I think team coaching is much more about helping a group be able to see their own dynamics and work with the dynamics in the team, the interpersonal relationships, things that might sit under the surface, that -- there's the surface conversation and then there's the conversation underneath -- so I hold team coaching is much more about working with how the team works, and facilitation about helping a team reach out stated objective and it's, for me, I think there's still some gray area in there but...drawing some distinctions.

Cherie Silas   I hear you talking about facilitation in the context of being in a session, being in a meeting, I'm wondering how you see the perspective of facilitating growth and learning over time and how that facilitation and coaching blend together to do that?

Marsha Acker   You mean for a team over time?

Cherie Silas   Team or organization or human

Marsha Acker   If I think about the very basic view of, or how I think about facilitation is, it's holding that process lens, and also being focused on a group, which is very much like it would be for coach coaching somebody individually or a coach coaching a team and I do think that there's that process of, if you have the fortune of working with a team over a long period of time and you're not getting your team for six months and then moving on to the next one -- which I know some people end up in that particular situation -- but I think if you're with a team, you know, long enough over time, there's a great gift in being able to watch a group and then also help a group see, you know, how they're moving along that develop that team development process and where they've come from, and where they're at, and where they're headed to. I think teams-- I don't think any of us really do a great job of sort of stopping to celebrate those moments of, "Hey,  six months ago we were here and now we're here" and even to have a facilitator that helps people stop and take notice of that can be helpful.

Alex Kudinov   So I picked up, and I absolutely love your definition of facilitation, and I know that we've been struggling with that and I've usually been talking about it as facilitator usually has an agenda to get it from somewhere. You put it absolutely brilliantly that the goal of facilitation is to produce outcome. Whether in coaching, we do strive to produce outcome, however, it's up to the coachee to design the road and our job is to be in partnership. So I want to pull on that and kind of bring it back to Agile world. So we have this Agile coach, and I have a feeling nobody knows what that is, and we say Agile coach-- a great Agile coach has to have all the skills and competencies and know all these things they need to do; so in your mind for a holistic Agile coach how important are facilitation competencies

Marsha Acker   One thing that's resonating for me about what you just said is, 'who knows what an Agile coach is' my sense is that there's many many different definitions of that and I tend to not get myself caught up in exactly what that looks like. I do get caught up in people deciding for themselves what it means for them. So I think that this process for  everybody, you'll hear me refer tool in my model for facilitation or in my model for team coaching. I think that is some of the work to do for any of us. So for Agile coaches to be inspired or informed by all the things that they see but then to work to define how, when they go to work with teams, what is the process that they use? Why do they do what they do? To your question about facilitation, I think facilitation is just a fundamental leadership skill, at least in terms of the leadership that I think we take a stand for and agility of being able to, to foster collaboration in different ways.  I think it's a prominent skill for Agile coaches, for leaders, for executive coaches, I think that it really sits as a foundation of being able to take a look at a group and how do you help them make sense of where they are? What's happening in their conversation? Where do they want to go? Do they still want to go to the same place that they said they wanted to an hour ago? So I think being able to take sometimes that meta view of 'Where are we at?', and the path can look a little windy. So I think facilitation is kind of a core competency. I also think it's really overlooked. So if you've ever been part -- I'm sure both of you have, right -- you've likely been part of a really well done meeting and then, I think we've all been part of the meetings that we would like to exit sooner rather than later, and if you have an eye for facilitation, then you'll know, likely, what was happening that made that meeting that was really amazing, go that way but if you don't necessarily have that eye for facilitation, I think a lot of times people just think, "Oh,that was easy", or it just happened that way, or it was magic in some way, and yet, even like improv, it-- yes, it happens organically but -- there's some structure behind it; there's some principles that's underneath that and so, I think sometimes facilitation gets overlooked by a lot because it's, in some ways, it's not sexy. Even in Agile coaching, there's no job that says Agile Team Facilitator, or very few -- there's lots of jobs that say Agile coaching, or Agile Scrum Master, enterprise coach -- you don't find a whole lot of job titles that refer to you as the Agile Team Facilitator. So I think in a lot of ways, it's not sexy, it's not the thing that you want to live into and yet, I think that's really critical. So it's interesting how you said that, 'If you don't know what to look for, you'll just see an awesome result.' The team got something, they achieve that outcome. So what's coming up for me is that facilitation -- great facilitation -- is invisible and impactful. I think so. I was just gonna say what's your experience? Have you seen that? Or have you had an experience of that?

Alex Kudinov   I have observed a couple of great facilitators and well,  and fortunately, I know what to look for. "That was amazing. I need to do that." and from the standpoint of somebody who is just like, "Yeah, that's just a person who attends our meeting." they'll be like, "Oh, yeah, that meeting didn't suck."

Cherie Silas   You know when the facilitator is not good

Marsha Acker   That's really easy to identify.

Alex Kudinov   I want to pull back a little bit, something that you said, that was very resonating with me, that 'facilitation is about leadership' and I don't want to bring kind of framework but it comes back to like Scrum and Scrum Masters and the role of Scrum Masters in the Agile world, and kind of decide Scrum Guide, which is apparently not a good thing these days, is that Scrum Master facilitate teams events when asked or when needed and we talk a lot about Scrum Masters being the servant leaders and I think there's a lot of misunderstanding there. So how do Scrum Masters start on these roads, not only becoming facilitators, but also becoming leaders and bringing this leadership to their teams.

Marsha Acker   I guess I'd start answering that question by how do you become a facilitator and I-- one is just finding-- I think there's lots of paths to it, especially if the certification world isn't your thing -- I think one of the best ways is to find somebody who you think does it really well and pair with them. I think co-facilitation is a great way to learn from somebody else and to do it in the moment. I think there's principles that you can learn about facilitation. I think understanding some of the basic frameworks and how to look at your role, your process oriented role with a group, and learning to let go of the content side of it, beginning to remove yourself from that, and I think facilitation is a great step into that, what I would call a leading from behind, where you do-- which I think is another way of looking at servant leadership. I tend to not use that word a whole lot because I think it comes with a lot of baggage and it gets used for a lot of different things but I do think it's really impactful when you've had the experience of being with a leader who you might describe as a servant leader, but somebody who's able to both step forward and step back and I think there's something about facilitation that teaches you some of those basic principles to maintain neutrality, and hold the group's agenda, and really be looking for the group's agenda, and notice the difference between your agenda and the group's agenda. I have found, a lot of times, I will want something for a team and I see that it's possible for them if they would only just see what I see and in those moments where I can name 'Ah, so now now I'm holding my agenda and not theirs and how do I help them see that, so that they can make the choice about what they want to do next' and I think there's a lot about facilitation that really can create that pathway into experiencing finding your own version of what is your version of servant leadership look like? What's your model for leadership and what's your model for facilitation and how does that show up when you walk into a room and create space for others? So I think there's a lot to that. I learned principles, you know, have definitely understand some playbooks but I think that some of the best facilitation that you'll learn will come from the bumps and bruises you get along the way.

Cherie Silas   I hear you talk about facilitation. It sounds really like there's a coaching preference that comes with that, that really makes it impactful. So what do you think are some of the main competencies of coaching that makes facilitation more powerful?

Marsha Acker   That's a great question. Alex, I think you named it earlier of presence; how to get connected to what's happening in the room, remove yourself from the equation. Powerful questions are invaluable.  I think one of the things is that powerful questions and the skills of listening that are present in the coaching world, and I think the coaching world does a really good job of teaching those skills and porting them over into the facilitation world is, I think, invaluable. So the ability to turn down your own stories in your own head and listen to what's happening for someone else but also to bring that curiosity and ask questions just like you would in a coaching conversation but then applying it on a team level when you're facilitating and to really begin to distinguish between your agenda versus the group's agenda, I think powerful questions really helped you kind of shift that perspective and talk about meta view and coaching of being able to take a take a bigger perspective of what's happening. I think that serves really well in facilitation because a lot of times as a facilitator, the group's here and they've said at the end of this meeting, for the hour or the next three days, however long they're together, we want to get to this place where this is the outcome that we have. So always sort of holding that meta view but then also being with the group as they wander along the path that brings them there. So I think yeah, I think those are-- I'm sure there's more that I'm forgetting off the top of my head, but...

Cherie Silas   You mentioned your model of facilitation a few times and I'm waiting for you to tell me well what is that model?

Marsha Acker   Well, here's what I would say about it. It's informed by a lot of  my learning lineage. So it started with a very process focused facilitation that still sits at the core. The facilitation stance for me -- so that's actually what I wrote the book about, The Art and Science of Facilitation is about sort of those five guiding principles -- so those principles set very much underneath of that. I would say my approach to facilitation is highly informed by coaching, maybe even more so than some pure facilitation models, I think the two for me are very blended. The other big piece, ORSC certainly makes up a portion of it, systems thinking and being able to see a system, and I think the other big part for me is structural dynamics. So that's the work of David Kantor -- by being able to name structural patterns that are emerging in a group and helping the group to see what's happening so that they can change the nature of the discourse that's happening in the conversation. So those are, I think, some of the big sort of theories that sit there and then there's -- what I would do in a room is often very much informed by some of those things.

Cherie Silas   Okay. I like that. That's got my mind spinning

Marsha Acker   I can see.

Cherie Silas   Yeah, and I hear you talking about structural dynamics and I don't know that everyone knows what that is. So would you have just a quick, maybe an explanation or examples of what you might be seeing.

Marsha Acker   So it's a theory of face to face communication, it comes from David Kantor, and I think what I -- at the very fundamental part of it, what I'd say is, it's a way of looking at the language that we use in conversation and being able to name the structure of it so that you can observe the patterns that are happening, and then change the nature of the pattern. So if we all -- the structural dynamics talks about four layers to communication. Actions are a bit easier to see in the room. Operating systems is a second level communication, Domains is the third, and then what's underneath all of it is childhood story. So when all of our conversation, everything that we say, could be coded into, into each -- each of those levels sort of has a thing so I can make a move in close power and say, "Please stand up and put your pens down and move to the board." and I'm not asking for anybody's input, I'm giving a directive.  I could also make a move in an open system and say, "Here's what we're going to do, what do you think?" So what what happens, enough to get a sense of it, what happens in communication is that often, when things are going well, we're in flow and we often have range, meaning we've got all parts of those structures active and being voiced in a conversation, when conversations get stuck, or they become unproductive, or back to, Alex, what you were asking about earlier, maybe the conversation becomes less real. I think that often there's some of those structures that are missing, meaning that some are overdone, and some are not used at all and I think what structural dynamics helps me do at least is-- it used to be that I would go, "Something is not going right in this room but I can't put my fingers on it." Now I have a really accessible way of looking at it that takes, actually, the moral story out of it. So it's no longer about somebody who's the naysayer, or the devil's advocate, or somebody who's just being a pain, and gives me a language to put it in and then go, "Ah so here's what's happening and here's what's missing" and I think it's easily understandable for me, for the group, and that's ultimately what I want is for the group to be able to own that and do something with it so that they're actually not reliant on always having a facilitator or coach in their conversations. So it's a way of making the invisible more visible so that you can get to those real conversations you'll know it because the real conversations will often have a  behavioral range in them

Alex Kudinov   In the spirit of full transparency, my question, which I threw to Cherie. My question was "Well, what would I find in your book?" Just answering that I'm like, "Great, great job Marsha! Great job answering the question that was not asked" and was there's a lot to learn. It is like what you wrote is really designed deeper for Agile world, and what you are observing there, and how old is the structure. So all of these frameworks can help Agilists to be better at their communication. I want to pull back a little bit to coaching. Something you said that really resonated that one of the best ways to start at facilitation, may be to co-facilitate, work with somebody else. In coaching, we know this practice, we know this Supervision practice, where you bring a qualified Supervisor, and they can look at what you're doing, and provide a kind of sort of assessment. Not assessment but a view on--

Marsha Acker   Yeah, yep.

Alex Kudinov   So how does that resonate with maybe word of facilitation or maybe a kind of mix of your professional coaching skills and facilitation? What are your thoughts on that?

Marsha Acker   There's a lot I could say about the world of Supervision. It comes out of coaching and I think that, even in the coaching world, it's informed by the therapy world, and those practices coming forward into the coaching space. I hold a viewpoint that I think Supervision is so needed when we are in this space of working with other humans, because we too, are human and I don't think there's any point that any of us will get to where it-- I think we get better, I guess I'll speak for myself, I'm definitely better at understanding my own behavior, my own self, and how I impact what I do in a room and how that shows up. So I catch things sooner than I used to but I don't think I'll ever get in a space where I can't get hooked by something or potentially be playing a role, even if I'm working with a team or doing an extended amount of facilitation over time where I might not get caught in some of the system traps, and then actually be contributing to it, rather than helping it. For whatever reason -- I think that happens for a lot of reasons. So I think this process of Supervision, I would love to see make its way into the Agile space more. So whether it's for facilitation, whether it's an individual Agile coaching practice or Agile team coaching, I think there's so much to having-- and I think it's slightly different than having a co-facilitator but it definitely comes from that same space of, there's another voice next to you that sometimes when you see certain things, somebody else will see something different, and to have somebody that's got a different model, that's got a different viewpoint of what's happening in the room, potentially has different language for it and can say, "Hey, like, I think this is what's playing out here. Where might we be creating that? Where might we not be supporting what they really need?" So I think that that external perspective that can help you think about it in a different way is super helpful.

Cherie Silas   Yeah, I know that we in the Americas, were just starting to hear a little bit about Supervision and it's been great with our partners who were in European area -- in fact, that's where I first learned about it from someone abroad -- and you're right it's  fascinating. I can bring my work in a confidential position to another person, another coach or peer, who can help me figure out what to do with that. I agree, I think the Agile space really needs this because we're fooling with people's lives. We are fooling with their organizations and the work we do as Agile coaches in this organizational perspective is extremely complex. So to be able to have someone to bring that to and say, "Hey, would you talk through this with me and let's see what comes up?" So I agree there, and I'm wondering, how do you see Supervision actually being brought into the atmosphere?

Marsha Acker   That's a good question. Yeah, I don't know. If you've got ideas, I would love to hear them. If I'm honest, I worry a little bit about it because I think that it -- there's a lot of things that I watch in the Agile coaching space and I and I don't think that they're bad or wrong so that's not what I'm about to say but -- there's lots of places the meetups that happen, coaching circles where you can go practice coaching and practice with a colleague or a peer and I think those are beautiful; I don't want anybody to ever stop them and I guess, to your question, I think one of the reasons that that resonates is because it's low cost, low entry, it's not something that I have to pay for, as an Agile coach, in addition to everything else that I'm paying for. I know, there's often some price sensitivity around getting support and help and, I guess, if I think about Supervision, much like I think about individual coaching, I think it comes with a fee, and I'm not sure there's a whole lot of supervisors, even in the professional coaching world, and then I know you all are doing Supervision with where you are and so I think, "Yay". I'm really excited about that but I think it takes skill, and it takes the development of that muscle and practice and knowing how to bring it in and apply it and so if I had to articulate a vision, my hope would be that it's accessible to a lot of people and that it's also not necessarily-- I think it's one of those places where that entry to be able to do it, maybe low entry, low point of entry isn't necessarily the best thing and not in that regard -- so, so yeah, I would love-- I'm a big fan of rigor and putting things in place that have some definition to them and also create containers where there's some real thought, and ethics, and rigor that's set around it but I also think there's so much impact that it could have. It's exactly what you say, Cherie. We're working in lots of complexity and I think it's easy to get lost and caught up in it.

Cherie Silas   I think all of these career paths, you've got facilitation, coaching, supervision, and done well by people who are skilled and educated, they look like anybody can do this. "I just walk in and do it."  but the reality is what makes it look so simple. Is the education,  experience, and competency and that's what you're seeing.

Marsha Acker   Yeah. Absolutely.

Alex Kudinov   It's interesting, Marsha, as you've been talking about fees, and I know conversation about money is uncomfortable and as much as we are in this to change the world and all that, we're also to make money. I think we need to be comfortable with this conversation. However, as you've been talking about that one word just kept popping up for me is 'quality'. It's competence, it's quality, and that's expensive. Something to be said about the entry barriers, and I fully agree with you, it's probably like, if as Agile coaches would touch people's lives, Supervisors touch people's lives who touch people's lives. So

Marsha Acker   Yeah it is multiplication

Alex Kudinov   It's multiplied. So with low quality, with people not particularly having the right competencies, that's not the right place for that.

Marsha Acker   I like that you made the comment it's quality and it's expensive and I would add 'and it's worth it.'

Cherie Silas   Yeah. The multiplied growth can go every way and you can multiply damage and that is what we want to prevent.

Marsha Acker   Yep, absolutely.

Alex Kudinov   So Marsha pulling back, book? Well, first of all congratulations. Everybody's writing the books these days and it never stops to amaze me, how dedicated and how hard working those people have to be, actually get it done. So first of all, congratulations on that and I'm definitely looking forward to reading that. So what's next for you? Book is done, I know that are on a speaking tour, promoting and getting the word out. What's next in Marsha's world?

Marsha Acker   I don't quite know. There's lots of things that will continue that are already in flight but I think that this question around what's next I've been pondering quite a bit. I don't quite have definition to it. There's another book coming.  So the way that this book got created, which has been in the works for years, I think it started out with a scope of this and I was working with an editor a couple of years ago, and she said, "You know what, I think you've got actually three books instead of just one" and she was like, "what if you did this, this and this, and chunked it up in that way." and it was a phenomenal suggestion and that's what got this book out the door now. So there's two others that are sort of sitting there, and I'm trying to decide when, and how will that look, and they're not done by any means but there's sort of the sketch outline is there. Yeah, so I'm not exactly sure. I think the other thing that I've-- 2020 for me was a moment to step back and ponder. I think when big change happens-- so I can remember, several moments in my life where I would say, "I felt like the rug was ripped out from underneath me and something really different emerged." 2020 was definitely one of those places where I look at those things that happen now and I go, "What's the opportunity here and what does this create space to do things differently?" So I've really been in that space, the last couple of months of how could we shape, and shift, and change, and rethink some of the principles that we've been talking about today I think really are there. My focuses will continue to sort of be about how do we grow this collective leadership range, and what does that look like, and lots of ways to go about that. So something in that space.

Alex Kudinov   It's, it's obvious to me there's so much to learn from you in what you are doing. So those of our listeners who want to learn more? How do they get in touch? Where do they reach out? What do they do?

Marsha Acker   Well, if you want to learn about the book, you can go to theartandscienceoffacilitation.com. You can actually download the first chapter for free. There's a self assessment that you can take around facilitation skills. So that's one place to get started. You can reach out to me on LinkedIn, Marsha Acker, and then we teach workshops around facilitation and coaching that team catapult. Any of those will get you in the right direction.

Alex Kudinov   Fantastic. Well, Marsha, thank you so much for spending this time today with us. It was fascinating to learn more about the world of facilitation and how it interconnects and interweaves with all the professional skills that we are working hard to bring into the Agile world. So thank you so much, it's been Tandem Coaching Academies Keeping Agile Non-Denominational podcast and we were your hosts Cherie Silas and I, Alex Kudinov, Bye now.

About Episode Guest

Marsha Acker

Marsha Acker is an executive leadership and team coach whose passion and expertise is helping leaders and their teams identify and break through stuck patterns that get in the way of high performance. She is the author of the forthcoming book The Art and Science of Facilitation: How to Lead Effective Collaboration with Agile Teams. 
Marsha founded TeamCatapult, a coaching and change leadership firm, in 2005. She has over 20 years of experience designing and facilitating organizational change initiatives. She believes that facilitation and coaching skills are 21 st century leadership skills required for leaders as they learn to lead agility across the organization and develop their teams. 
Marsha is a track founder for the ICAgile Agile Team Coaching track and Enterprise Coaching track. TeamCatapult has been a leader in growing agile coaches since 2012 and was the first organization to launch the ICAgile Agile Team Facilitation course. They also recently launched their signature Coaching Agility from Within Cohort program for the ICAgile Certified Expert in Agile Coaching.
Marsha is a Certified Professional Facilitator (CPF), Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC), Professional Certified Coach (ICF-PCC), Organizational and Relationship Systems Coach (Center for Right Relationship), Dialogix - Certified Structural Dynamics Interventionist, ICAgile Certified Expert Agile Team Coaching and ICAgile Expert in Enterprise Coaching.

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Other Episodes

"You really want to do something? Walk into a predominantly black university offered to do a free class for the business students or whatever students. Do a free CSM. Two days, it's time. It's not about, 'can you give me money?' Nobody wants a handout. Can you give me your time? Go mentor somebody.
"You really want to do something? Walk into a predominantly black university offered to do a free class for the business students or whatever students. Do a free CSM. Two days, it's time. It's not about, 'can you give me money?' Nobody wants a handout. Can you give me your time? Go mentor somebody.
"You really want to do something? Walk into a predominantly black university offered to do a free class for the business students or whatever students. Do a free CSM. Two days, it's time. It's not about, 'can you give me money?' Nobody wants a handout. Can you give me your time? Go mentor somebody.
"You really want to do something? Walk into a predominantly black university offered to do a free class for the business students or whatever students. Do a free CSM. Two days, it's time. It's not about, 'can you give me money?' Nobody wants a handout. Can you give me your time? Go mentor somebody.
"You really want to do something? Walk into a predominantly black university offered to do a free class for the business students or whatever students. Do a free CSM. Two days, it's time. It's not about, 'can you give me money?' Nobody wants a handout. Can you give me your time? Go mentor somebody.
"You really want to do something? Walk into a predominantly black university offered to do a free class for the business students or whatever students. Do a free CSM. Two days, it's time. It's not about, 'can you give me money?' Nobody wants a handout. Can you give me your time? Go mentor somebody.
"You really want to do something? Walk into a predominantly black university offered to do a free class for the business students or whatever students. Do a free CSM. Two days, it's time. It's not about, 'can you give me money?' Nobody wants a handout. Can you give me your time? Go mentor somebody.
Agile Leadership is not a title, it's a mindset. This and other aspects of Agile Leadership we cover with author, speaker, and agile coach Zuzi Sochova in this episode of the Keeping Agile Coaching non-Denominational podcast.
Agile Leadership is not a title, it's a mindset. This and other aspects of Agile Leadership we cover with author, speaker, and agile coach Zuzi Sochova in this episode of the Keeping Agile Coaching non-Denominational podcast.
Agile Leadership is not a title, it's a mindset. This and other aspects of Agile Leadership we cover with author, speaker, and agile coach Zuzi Sochova in this episode of the Keeping Agile Coaching non-Denominational podcast.
Melissa Boggs served as a Chief Scrum Master of Scrum Alliance and had a unique perspective on the role of a Scrum Master for the whole organization. In the world where a lot of us are struggling with defining the role of a Scrum Master at the organizational level, Melissa shares her unique experience with our readers and listeners in this podcast episode.
Coaching presence is one of the most complex and misunderstood professional coaching competencies. Cherie Silas and Alex Kudinov are chatting with Jo Fourtanier and discussing this competency in this podcast episode.
The middle management is often referred to as the Frozen Middle. The renowned expert in leadership and modern management Johanna Rothman joins Tandem Coaching podcast to discuss how to unfreeze that frozen middle.
In our VUCA world do we as coaches need to add more complexity and make our craft all that complex? Claire Pedrick says we work too hard and too much. Simplifying coaching is the key to mastery.
After writing her groundbreaking Coaching Agile Teams, Lyssa was put on pedestal by the Agile community and has been there since, casting a shadow (or shining a bright light) on the community as a whole and brining wisdom of Agile coaching to the growing pool of agile coaches. In this episode we are talking about what brought Lyssa to Agile coaching, what changes she notices in Agile coaching as of late, and what she is looking forward to in 2021.
In this episode Allison Pollard discusses the concept of "meeting where they are," and what it means for Agile Coaches. How do we support people on their agile journey? What changed over the last year? When might we pivot as agile coaches and what is significance of keeping agile non-denominational.
Are you running your business or working for it? What does it take to build a successful coaching business? What obstacles should you expect and how Cornelia, a successful entrepreneur, overcame those? All of this and more.
Miscarriage is a loss-why should it be treated like any other loss? Right now it’s not - in most organizations. What kind of support and conversations that can be had in organizations to clear the taboo about infertility? How can a manager have a conversation or support someone in their team going through infertility? As a colleague or friend, how can you support someone with infertility? When you meet someone new in your organization, here is a question you don’t ask.
Coaching is an awesome instrument to engage in a co-creative process allowing to make strategic shifts in business-turmoil. In this episode we touch upon how coaching and co-creation can - even in deep crisis - be more effective and sustainable than typical "crisis" management; how coaching brings more innovation to strategic thinking and what is needed to stand open for an entire new business model.
Coaching is a word with so many misunderstood meanings and implementations. Unfortunately and fortunately, there is no single way to coach. What is now abundantly obvious is that coaching is a valuable skill for more professionals beyond Agile coaches. Turns out there is an answer to how leaders can create, enable and maintain high-performing teams, they leverage professional coaching in their leadership delivery. We are discussing and examining the link between quality leaders and professional coaching.
With Coronavirus taking over the world and people are forced into a remote work situation, Jim Sammons, Erica Henson, and Alex Kudinov are discussing how Scrum is affected by this.
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