Over 20 years ago, Jürgen Hargens pleaded, „Please do not help. It is already hard enough.“ Writing his landmark book, Hargens had no idea how much harder helping would become in the next two decades. He did not anticipate the jungle-like variety of offerings we are currently confronted with, nor did he expect that coaching would become everybody’s darling. From health to marriage to career, from teams to projects to leadership, from change to strategy to agility, every aspect of our life seems to be subject for external support.
Given this abundance of services, why should there be any need for a special Flight Levels coaching? And why should we even need special skills training for it? Don’t we have enough tools and techniques? Doesn’t our experience as agile team coaches provide all we need to manage organisational change with Flight Levels?
The ambivalence-friendly answer may be: yes and no. On the one hand, many agilists have solid know-how. On the other hand, their knowledge is mainly focused on specific methods (such as Scrum and Kanban), roles (e.g. ScrumMasters or Product Owners) and teams (especially in the area of software development). To take-off with Flight Levels as planned, however, we should support end-to-end value streams and therefore potentially the whole company. Metaphorically speaking, Flight Levels Coaches need to collaborate with an experienced ground staff as intensively as with an efficient support crew and a reliable tower that keeps overview.
A professional Flight Levels Coach (FLC) can provide all training, consulting and facilitation services needed for a smooth change process. That’s why FLCs need a wide variety of skills.
They should be capable of:
- Mindfully exploring the current situation of your coachees
- Defining their focus for improving this situation
- Checking whether or not Flight Levels might help
- Finding a committed sponsor and the right change agents
- Building the knowledge needed to apply Flight Levels where they make sense
- Guiding the design of Flight Levels Systems and architectures
- Supporting the take-off and operation of these systems and architectures
- Facilitating the whole change process in an agile way
- Harnessing the emotions that accompany such a process
That’s why the FLC has to be an all-rounder who can collaborate with different experts, and groups across hierarchy levels. For sure, teamwork still plays an essential role in organisation-wide collaboration. As the catalyst of business agility, however, the FLC has more to do with interactions across teams and departments, with large groups and senior managers. A substantial body of technical knowledge is needed, but also social skills and emotional intelligence.
Looking at our own experience, we feel like Flight Levels Coaching is a complex endeavour. We are never done learning and are always smarter in retrospect. Out experience is that it is as easy to underestimate the challenges of change and overestimate our competences. In real life, Flight Levels Coaching is a complex balancing act where you have to deal with many tensions.
- How do I get the information needed and build trust at the same time?
- What techniques do I need and how do I make sure that I don’t end up as the proverbial fool with a tool?
- How do I combine questioning and active listening with key messages about Flight Levels?
- How do I clarify how to establish Business Agility and achieve an explicit agreement which is needed for this?
- How do I get clear assignments and win over the right people to co-create effective change?
In our foundations workshop Flight Levels Coaching Skills, we want to work on the answers. With a focus is on practical exercises using real-life examples, we build a strong foundation. You apply what you already know, try out new things, and get feedback and tips from the trainers. It provides a great starting point for those who want to progress to become a Certified Flight Levels Coach. Think of this workshop as a training camp for enriching your existing skill-set.
It is also great compliment to the Flight Levels Flow Design workshop, which focusing on building Flight Levels systems.
Both Sigi Kaltenecker & Cliff Hazell have a lot of experience to offer, and bring many practical Flight Levels cases with different customers and are close sparring partners of Klaus Leopold & Katrin Dietze for many years.