Meet the Coach: Bent Myllerup
We have started a new feature on our semi-monthly agile42 newsletter titled “Meet the Coach”, and we asked some questions to one of our leading coaches and trainer, Bent Myllerup from Denmark. Bent writes frequently about professional coaching techniques and in 2015 will feature in our new Advanced Team Coaching Course.
What is your background and how you started coaching?
I am originally educated as an electronics engineer and I have been working with software and embedded development for more than two decades. I wrote my first line of code in 1983, in gymnasium, and I first time got payed for writing code in 1987 when I was a trainee at Bang & Olufsen. The first computer I owned was a Commodore VIC 20 and the second was an IBM PS/2 30. The first ten years after graduation I worked as a developer and after that I have worked with leadership in various roles.
Being introduced to coaching was actually a game changing event for me. It happened ten years ago. I had just recovered a burnout from an unsubstantial assignment as a Project Manager and in my new job, in a new company, I was highly interested in finding new and healthier ways for project teams and managers to work. My supervisor suggested me to sign up for an education as a systemic coach. So I did. Half way my two year education I got introduced to Scrum and we started implementing it in my department, which I now was the leader of. I soon realized the connection between the approaches in Scrum and the mindset and behaviour of a systemic coach. It was revealing for me to be able to explain and address the “Scrum is hard” areas and helping my teams to success. That burning interest led me to become a CSC in 2008 and joining agile42 in 2012.
You train and coach in various countries, have you found differences when coaching in different parts of the world and different languages?
Yes, there are differences, but there are also more similarities than I at first expected. Maybe that is because individuals and organizations already have made the first steps in changing their mindset, when they decide to look into agile. Agile goes very well with the Scandinavian culture, so when I work in my own home market in Denmark it is, from a cultural perspective, a little easier than when I work in Germany, on Balkan or in the Middle East. On the other hand, I recognize parts of the same eagerness or hesitation where ever I go. We are not that different as human beings.
Do you think teams are getting more expert in their work, and this affected your style?
All teams are unique and, as a coach, you have to interact with them according to their level of maturity. Tuckmann said that already in 1964. So yes, it affects my style and I find great help in reflecting and structuring my work by using the methods we have described in our Team Coaching Framework.
Any recent book or presentation that got your attention?
A basic book for me, that deserves a little more attention, is Effective Teamwork by Michael West. Highly recommended! The most recent book that I think is remarkable is of cause Joy, Inc. by Richard Sheridan. What they have achieved at Menlo Innovations is remarkable. I can’t wait to go visit them in August with the rest of the agile42 team.