How much of psychologist is the Scrum Master?

Coaching Consulting Mentoring
Coaching Consulting Mentoring

If you command your teams to do Scrum, then conflict mediation will be an important skill. If they chose to do Scrum because they want to, there will be far fewer conflicts to mediate!

We talked about the coaching stance. The coachee is assumed to be complete, healthy and knowledgeable. The coach does not tell him/her what to do, but asks questions to help the coachee figure out the right thing. The picture is a revised version of a concept I started putting together during the sessions.

A Scrum Master goes through a progression, first a trainer, then a consultant or mentor, finally a pure coach to his or her team.

A key tool of the Scrum Master is questions. There are several types of questions, depending on the context:

  • Closed Questions – Yes or No, Choose from a list. These are useful to guide a conversation to a conclusion. Example: “Would you like to apply LeSS or SAFe in your organization?”
  • Open Questions – Who, what, where, why, how, maybe when. These are useful to initiate a discussion. Example: “What principles does LeSS apply? What are the core values of SAFe?”
  • Powerful Questions – This is a special type of open question that you have to think about before you can answer. (Possible) example: “What are the attributes of a scaling approach in our organization?”

Coaches and Scrum Masters make extensive use of powerful questions to encourage their team and other people the organization to think seriously about their challenges and find solutions for them.