Six years ago I was in a fitness craze trying to return to pre-baby body shape. I would go to the gym and do a number of classes, lift weights, cardio etc and probably did about 10 hours of gym work a week.
A friend wanted to give Bootcamp a go and despite me already feeling very fit I somewhat reluctantly agreed to go along at least give it a try. Ca-ching from my purse I set off for my tri-week bloody early sessions. These sessions started at 5 am which in itself was a dedicated committment given how much I love sleeping in. But the thing that got me out of my bed to do it, session after session of absolute agony, was because I was paying a lot of money for it; I had a financial investment that I wasn’t going to waste.
Now despite being able to do several cardio workouts at the gym without too much stress I was amazed at how unfit I felt whilst doing those first few sessions. I remember vividly on the first run that I was constantly on the verge of throwing up. I remember thinking how loopy I was one session for being part of a man made car – two people in the front holding a large Koppers log, two in the back doing the same, connected by rope and holding up three tyres whilst jogging – CRAZY!
I did things I never thought I was capable of. For the first time in my life I was able to jog; and not just jog, but being able to do it without a limit.
Why was I able to go beyond bounds of what I thought I would ever be able to do? Two words - my coaches. When I was tired they pushed me. When I wanted to give up they pushed me. When I wanted to take their skinny little throats and squish them for pushing me they pushed me. They weren’t the in your face type of coaches that are stereotypical when you think of bootcamp and associated it with an army training corps. They were supportive whilst never giving you an inch to give up. They encouraged and they cheered you on when you thought you couldn’t take another step.
So how does this relate to Agile coaching? Many people think that Agile coaches should not be evangelists, they should be pragmatic. The ten year Manifesto re-union had the authors wanting to only change the manifesto to say ‘And we really mean it’.
What can we take and apply from Bootcamp coaches?
- Never let your team give up, even if they want to
- Have a driving passion for Agile that invigorates all of those around you. This doesn’t mean you have to be a zealot, it means that your passion is contagious.
- Encourage, encourage, encourage!
- Celebrate when your teamies obviously are stepping out of their comfort zones and are being successful at applying your lessons
- Measure success. Measure where you were and where you are now.
- If all else fails, drive behavioural change fiscally. If a leader, for example, really wants to change something like ‘Stop finger pointing’ then have them commit to put $5 into a team jar each time they exhibit that behaviour and let the team know of this challenge. They will learn quickly to change when it hits the hip pocket.
- Let converters tell their stories to others. Did this blog just make you want to get fit again?