5 + 1 Questions to Thomas De Vries

Thomas De Vries is clean adventurer and a team coach, currently working for Mediahuis. We met a while ago when I was applying for a job as teamcoach at Mediahuis. I didn’t get the job but it was a great interview. We connected on Linkedin and he inspires me by sharing posts about Clean Language and Okaloa Flowlab. Tools which are very usefull as a scrum master or agile coach.

Thanks to Thomas I discovered Clean Languages. Clean Language is a simple set of questions developed by counselling psychologist David Grove. These questions are used with a person’s own words to direct their attention to some aspect of their own experience. Asking these questions in the right context often results in an interesting new insight or the recognition of some new possibility.

1. What is Agile or the Agile Mindset for you?

I think it’s about balance. A balance between discovery and delivery. 

The energy you invest in finding out stuff, exploring and experimenting. Having a curious mindset and admitting you don’t know. 

The energy you invest in creating something that is of value. Being meaningful.

A balance between outside-in and inside-out. 

Calling on your superpowers – talents, skills – to contribute.

Respond to events taking place in your environment in a gentle way. 

Be like water…

2. What’s your favorite tool or method you use during your coaching?

Clean practices allow me to put the individual or team in the center of attention. 

A model is co-created and allows growth from within.

It is a very powerful tool that I was introduced to just over a year ago. Thanks to Wim Bollen.

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Another incredible tool is a simulation such as Okaloa Flowlab. It allows a team to experience how work works. 

Team members are able to experiment in a safe environment.

Flow like water…

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3. What book or website would you recommend?

The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben.

My perception of a tree, a walk in the forest, will never be the same. It’s amazing how we humans keep discovering information on the ecosystem we live in. When shared, I hope it leads to a bright future.

Cherish water…

4. What is essential for you during an Agile transformation?

A mutual understanding of the needs and expectations that everyone involved in the organization has.

Don’t create a flood.

Great waves come in sets…

5. What is 1 Aspect of coaching Agile teams you like the most?

It’s an Adventure!

On lots of occasions, we feed each other with knowledge and energy.

Sometimes things go slow, sometimes they go fast.

And it’s always a joint effort, never a one-man show.

Enjoy the steadies as well as the rapids…

+1. How do you use clean language in your coachings?

The past year, I’ve been experimenting with clean setup questions:

1.  For this … to be just the way you’d like it, it will be like what?

2.  You’ll be like what?

3.  What support or resources do you need?

The answers to these questions allow you to adjust your agenda in order to meet the expectations of teams and their members.

This feedback loop at the start of a collaboration precedes a valuable relationship.

Only the river knows where it flows…

(courtesy to Rutger Kopland)