CTC Application: Quick pointers for candidates by Vernon Stinebaker

Vernon Stinebaker (CST) posted these tips on the CTC candidate mailing list, you can find the original thread here.

I decided to post a copy of these tips here, copying the public information from the google group and linking back to the original. I acknowledge all author’s rights.


I’m excited to see the collaboration amongst this group. Please keep it going and growing!

I thought I would share a few thoughts and observations that might help as you prepare your applications.

For reasons that I hope are obvious it would be inappropriate to provide more specifics, but hopefully these general observations will be useful.

Find a mentor — ideally a CEC (or CTC)

I’m just back from the Global Gathering in Munich, and we saw an outstanding group of CST candidates this time. Those who were most successful uniformly had a CST mentor(s) familiar with the process. They also organized to form review groups (pseudo-TACs) to practice and revise. I realize this isn’t the Candidate-CST list, but I thought sharing the positive results that were achieved through mentoring and practice is equally relevant to this group.

With respect to the CTC application, CSTs (unless they are also CEC or CTC) are unlikely to make the best mentor. The requirements of the Scrum Alliance certifications are rigorous and having a mentor with specific knowledge related to coaching as well as the application process will provide the best results. Even as a CST with aspirations to become a CEC, I have multiple CEC mentors with whom I am working.

There are around 100 CECs worldwide, and the CEC community is, in my view, much more passionate about helping one another than the CST community.

Be involved in the community

The best way of finding a mentor is to be involved in the community. There are a range of ways to do this including attending Regional and Global Scrum Gatherings, Coaching Retreats, volunteering for committees, etc.

One of the best ways to find a mentor is to be involved in the community. Cold contacting someone and asking them to be your mentor is much less likely to see successful results that getting to know someone and then asking for their support.

Read and respond to the question being ask

Many candidates fail to respond directly to the question prompts. Read, understand, and answer — specifically — the question being ask.

If you’re a non-native English speaker, have someone with native skills (ideally someone who is both culturally and linguistically bilingual) help review your materials.

Currently we are only reviewing English applications. Sometimes non-native English speakers may use words, phrasing, etc. which may not best represent the nuances of their coaching. Words are meaningful, so as you’re writing your application choose them carefully. This is obviously easier to do when working in your mother tongue. Make sure both language and tone reflect how you coach.

Develop and practice your professional coaching skills

Many people call themselves Agile Coaches but have no real experience with professional coaching. Make sure you are developing and practicing professional coaching skills and are clear about the different aspects of Agile Coaching. Both formal and informal coaching education is perhaps the most common area of the application where candidates are falling short of expectations.
I hope the you find these tips useful and are able to apply them as you continue your coaching journey.

Thanks, Vernon

Posts in the Certified Team Coach (CTC) series:

  1. CTC Mentoring Pilot: Overview
  2. CTC Mentoring Pilot: Application specific learnings
  3. CTC Mentoring Pilot: Coaching (To be written, tweet me if you want to be notified.)
  4. CTC Application Process Tips by Roger Brown
  5. CTC Quick pointers for candidates by Vernon Stinebaker
  6. CTC Application Insights by Nils Bernert
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