Friday, 27 November 2009

Improvisation for Agile Coaches Event Autumn 2009


On Saturday 21st November 2009 I attended the Agile Coaches Improv session in London.  This event was truly excellent.  Those who know me, you would expect that an event involving Improv would be a challenge.  Acting or being impromptu in front of a group of peers on topics that I am not comfortable or confident with is outside my comfort zone.  It was a challenge in such a positive and rewarding way.  The child in me was released and I felt free to explore Improv.

So a big thanks to Mike Sutton and David Harvey for organising the event.  Most importantly a huge thanks to Tom Salinsky ( of the Spontaneity Shop)  for facilitating and teaching in a truly engaging and accessible way.  I cannot stress enough how liberating and open Tom’s approach is.  He is an excellent teacher, coach and facilitator.  Finally thanks to all the attendees for making the event a success.

On the train home Plamen Balkanski and I tried to summarise all that Tom had covered during the day.  There was so much.  He really made us work.  Below is a summary of the “games” we did throughout the day.  This list is not comprehensive and I may well blog a summary of the game details at a later date.  I am sure we have forgotten some of the games!  The game names are mine not Tom’s.

Word Games – Speak out when pointing to an object.

Pair Responses Games – Positive offer and partner response.

Explore Status Games – Explore the extremes of status.

Group Status Games – Further exploring extremes of status as a group.

Picture Pair – Drawing pictures in pairs.

Letter Pair – Writing letters (Dear John ....) in pairs.

Hat Games – Pluck the Hat from your opponent.  (Thanks to Plamen for almost knocking me out whilst playing this one!)

Discussion Tag Games – Just like Wrestling tag team, but with conversation!

Mime Games – Mime talking whilst someone talks for me!

Avoid the “s” – Talk using words without an “s” in.

The 3 Word Game – Talk in sentences of 3 words.

New Choice Game – My conversation isn’t good enough try again.

The Bop Games – Someone in the circle trying to get out.  For those who attended - Pair Programming J

Taken at face value the content presented was engaging, funny and well thought through.  But what is the value to an Agile Coach?  Well for me Tom showed us some excellent techniques for breaking down the barriers in a team.  To engender a relaxed and happy team who are more at ease with each other.  Tom also highlighted the concept of status and how our approach to status can have positive and negative influences.  This knowledge can be used in our day to day understanding of our teams and the individual interactions in the team to assist in the coaching of the team to higher levels of continuous improvement.

I found the day truly enlightening and I cannot recommend enough that you attend once of Tom’s workshops.