Recently I ran a (not so scientific) experiment with 30 agile practitioners during a Meetup I hosted. I polled everyone on what helps bring meaning into their work. Here’s the word cloud

I see four clusters in this map; I rephrased these as challenging questions for you to consider:

  1. Are you Growing, Improving, Thriving?
  2. Are you Learning, Educating or Creating?
  3. Is what you do producing Value, making an Impact or Helping someone in a real way?
  4. Do you feel Connected, part of a Community or Team?

My suggestion is that blocking time to ensure you experience some of each of…

Coaching sometimes is a bit “fluffy” but when it comes to agile coaching delivering outcomes is expected; this post explains more…

Agile requires us to work with and through others to deliver outcomes. This brings up a tension between getting things done and treating each other with respect; this post explores that tension.

Traditionally agile coaching has been associated with behavioural change and the “softer” elements of how we work together. Topics such as psychological safety, culture, courage, innovation, trust and the most overused word in agile… mindset have started to dominate the conversation when agile coaching is discussed.

“hard” & “soft” tensions in agile coaching


Agile is designed to deal with ambiguity; people aren’t. Nobody likes to feel out of control; here are some tips to get you back into flow at work.

When I work as an agile coach I try to control lots of things; am I a control freak… maybe a little. I feel anxious when I have no influence, when I’m in this state what do you think is the result; I’m not showing up in the best state to provide value for my clients. We all face the need to be in control to some degree; its actually our job…

I believe the role of agile coach is the best job to have; this post is my view on what it takes to confidently and competently execute the role.

The role of agile coach brings out the best of a person whilst they enable the delivery of outcomes for organisations. An agile coach produces hard tangible results through the use of soft people skills. This post is my opinion on what it takes to have the competence and confidence to call yourself an agile coach.

Why everyone is so confused about the role of agile coach?

If you are interested in becoming an agile coach then this post speaks to you…

You never know when or where you’ll meet a bully. If you do encounter such a person there are techniques to use to help everyone navigate towards a safer, more sustainable way of working.

Bullies are just being themselves

Most workplace bullies don’t mean to make your life miserable; they’re just being themselves. I learned this lesson when I went on a 2-day neuroscience course that focused on personality and behaviour. There are no real evil people (well very few) in the workplace; a lot of inter-personal clashes have to do with the fact that we are all wired differently with beliefs, traits, values and…

Stretching is good for your muscles but also works for your career and life generally; let’s have a stretch together in this post.

I don’t think we can pause life; it just keeps moving on regardless of whether we want to come along. Have you ever tried to maintain your status-quo and hold off changes to your current situation. It’s a nice idea but reality has a way of, well… keeping things real for us. Careers in agile seem to be shifting and changing rapidly as the industry responds to a more volatile world. …

Sometimes I feel that measuring the performance of an agile coach is similar to assessing the quality of a creative dance performance. But it shouldn’t be that subjective. This post will give you some hard performance data on the art of agile coaching. My aim; to give you confidence in your performance AND be able to back it up with evidence. If you want to some day be an agile coach then this article will give you some indication of what’s expected of the role from a person who has hired dozens of agile coaches over the past 10 years.

Are you performing?

This post is about fear versus hope. I don’t want you to have to work in fear. A lot of people I spoke to throughout 2020 seemed fearful. The threat of redundancy was closer and more real than previous years. Did these phrases creep into your self-talk in 2020…

don’t say or do the “wrong” thing,

do as you’re told and don’t question authority

I’ll just keeping my head down

Working in fear (being hope-less) I believe is the saddest most wasteful state for a human being to be in. Fear is the killer of psychological safety and all the…

I remember the day clearly; the sense of achievement, joy and belonging was a shared felt experience amongst those in the room. We had just finished a significant and impactful initiative as a team of agile coaches and delivery specialists. It had been a difficult journey but seeing the customer come into our business and interact with the digital experience we had just spent 18 months designing and building was quite emotional.

Another clear memory is represented in the picture below; I was having (a lot) of fun as I delivered my work and so were the agile coaches I…

It is time to reflect, learn and move on from 2020

OMG what a year..! I don’t know about you but I’m exhausted and keen to put 2020 behind me and look towards what next year offers. During the last 12 months research tells us that the impact of the pandemic has actually rewired our brains. We are less optimistic and more fearful of threats. It is like a pessimistic COVID bias has enveloped the entire planet! So I wanted to share some techniques to self-facilitate an end of year retro; I’m calling it an introspective-retrospective. …

Niall McShane

Interested in how we change our self as we work to help others change their way of working

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store