Does this need to be said?

I love finding great coaching lessons in unexpected places. A few years ago, I watched a comedy special by Craig Ferguson where he posed these 3 questions one should ask others before speaking.

Does this need to be said?

As a coach, not everything we think of needs to be addressed. Perhaps the team didn’t discuss a story during the standup. Given the current development of the team, the day of the sprint, and the importance, consider if the omission is important enough to call out.

Does this need to be said by me?

A coach doesn’t have to be the one to point out an omission or problem. The best agile coaches are teaching there team to work together, and this includes holding each other to high standards and ensuring everything gets done.

If a team is far enough along in their growth, it may be detrimental for the coach to call out very basic advice or poiut out obvious problems. But, if the coach waits long enough, someone else may speak up. My best coaching moments have come from when others are applying the lessons I’ve taught them and calling out the problems I’ve taught them to look for.

Does this need to be said by me now?

The final question ponders the timing of coaching intervention. Is now the right time to act? Or, would it be better to save the conversation for another time, such as the sprint retrospective?


Coaching is based on soft skills, which can be learned from anywhere. Keep your eyes and ears open, and you may find some great tips from the unlikeliest of sources.