Certified Agile Leadership

Certified Agile Leadership with Michael Sahota

Scrum WithStyle was delighted to bring to Australia the Certified Agile Leadership program with the world's most experience CAL Educator, Michael Sahota, CEC. CAL I courses ran in April, May and September of 2017 with the world's first ever CAL II in October 2017. Feedback has been exceptionally positive.

If you are interested in future CAL opportunities in Australia, please register your interest and we'll be in touch as soon as the next round of CAL courses are scheduled.

Overcome Top Challenges with Agile

The Scrum Alliance created the CAL program in response to a desperate plea for help with overcoming the top organisational challenges with Agile:

  1. Organisational Culture at odds with Agile
  2. Resistance to Change
  3. Management Support Lacking (What do we do with our managers?)
  4. Agile Mindset Challenged

Certified Agile Leadership Training gives managers and coaches skills needed to foster success

Your success as a leader in an Agile organisation requires looking beyond Agile itself. It requires a deep understanding of your organisation and your own leadership path. To equip you for this journey, you will gain a strong foundation in understanding organisational culture. From there, you will learn key organisation and leadership models that will allow you to understand how your organisational culture really works.

Now you are ready to start the journey! You will learn about organisational growth ‐ how you may foster lasting change in your organisation. Key is understanding how it invites change in a complex system. You will also learn about leadership ‐ how you may show up more effectively, and how to help others.

Though each Certified Agile Leadership course varies depending on the instructor, all Certified Agile Leadership courses intend to create awareness of, and begin the journey toward, Agile Leadership.

Graduates will receive the Certified Agile Leadership (CAL 1) designation. See Scrum Alliance Website for further details.

About Michael Sahota

I believe people deliver astounding results when we fully engage them with Purpose in Safe, Connected workplaces.

I help leaders cultivate their organisational culture. To show up in ways that invites others to show up. And to evolve structures and practices that foster a resilient adaptable organisation.

I am a guide and teacher of organisational gardening. I lead by example. I lovingly invite awareness to increase options and choice. I foster this through: training, coaching, consulting, and facilitation.

Since 2001, I have been fostering an Agile way of working. Since 2010, I have been helping organisations evolve their organisational culture and leadership to create places where "Agile" may flourish. As a Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC) and Certified Agile Leadership (CAL) Educator, I help leaders bridge the world between "Agile" and organisational reality.

Praise from Executives and Managers

  • "Amazing. Life-changing. Mind Opening. I learned that it's my journey first. To change the way I show up. That Culture bubbles are good. It was a creative open space that focussed on the needs of the team." ‐ Michelle Krupa, Director Agile COE
  • "Invigorating, Rejuvenating, Thought-provoking. I gained valuable insights into self, value of consciousness and better understanding of how to start to consider transformation to organisational agility." ‐ Greg Fields, Managing Director
  • "Enlightening. Awesome. I learned about the importance and value of starting with myself. And the importance of consciousness about structures. I like the learning journal, poll everywhere, and mix of slides and flipcharts." ‐ Mark Staelgraeve, Sr. Project Manager
  • "Powerfully awakening and inspirational for my personal journey. I learned to listen to the system, to let it go, and that it's all about heart, body and soul." ‐ Danielle Whelan, Agile COE Lead
  • "Inspirational, Holistic, Honest. I learned that 'Agile' is not the goal. Any good that I might aspire to do in others must be fully internalised and true in me first. I like the group discussion and decision-making. Michael showed a great level of respect for the whole person." ‐ Rich Elledge, Work Stream Lead, IT PMO
  • "Enlightening, Powerful, Life Changing. I see I am not alone and it's OK to ask for help. I liked that the class was straight forward, amusing, and thought-provoking." ‐ Charlotte Tan, Agile Program Manager
  • "Transformational. Rewarding. Its not about the process, it's about the goals. I learned to listen and focus on myself: how I show up. I loved the safe environment, trust, respect and customisation of course content." ‐ Chris Gullet, AVP Enterprise Platforms

Praise from Agile Coaches and Scrum Masters

  • "Inspiring, Beautiful, Empowering. I now see the importance of going beyond Agile and clarifying leadership's desire for transformation. I now have patterns for experimenting with. The energy and charisma engaged me. I also like the fluidity and creativeness." ‐ Jem D'Jelal, Organisational Coach
  • "Enlightening, Engaging, Empowering. I discovered valuable ways of approaching leadership, and transformation through patterns. This subject holistically has opened up my mind to the possibilities of what I can achieve with organisations. ‐ Auzma Ahmed, Scrum Master
  • "Honest, Engaging, Thought‐Provoking. I learned about the importance of listening ‐ purely listening, standing in the truth and inviting others. I liked the varied methods, group discussions and visual materials." ‐ Laura Prieto Umerez, Operational Excellence Sr. Business Advisor
  • "Scintillating, Frame‐shifting, Upleveling. I learned to be humble about what progress can be made and my role in it. Extraordinary sequencing, pacing and energy." ‐ Michael de la Maza, Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC)
  • "Awareness, Growth, Impact. I learned about focus on myself ‐ listening and 4 A's leadership model. I now have techniques to work with leadership. I liked the safe environment and the emergent, rich discussion." ‐ Josh D'Jelal, Scrum Master
  • "Welcoming, Caring, Not pushing. I gained valuable insights on safety, growth and culture. I like that Michael uses polls to see the voice of the system and the drawings to discuss concepts." ‐ Zuzi Sochova, Agile Coach & Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST)
  • "Impactful, Engaging, Relevant. I gained valuable insights around frameworks & tools for dialogue and my attachment to Agile as an end. I now know how better to see and bring awareness of reality. I liked the informal tone, hands-on activities and mix of small/large group work." ‐ Anthony Mersino, (Agile+) Coach

Praise from HR & Trainers

  • "Impactful, Freeing. I learned about the importance of self-improvement and modelling behaviour including coaching leaders through invitation. I liked the continuous attention to the energy of the system." ‐ Sumeyya Khan, Director, Head of Talent Management
  • "Engaging, Interesting. I learned that there is no success without leadership. I enjoyed the openness & safety as well as exercises." ‐ Todd Sentura, Bain Partner, Senior Director of Global Professional Development

Training Environment

We create a highly interactive dynamic training environment. Each of you are unique ‐ and so is each training. Although the essentials will be covered in every class, you will be involved in shaping the depth and focus of our time together. Each learning module is treated as a User Story (see photo) and we will co-create a unique learning journey that supports everyone's needs.

Only the most valuable topics will be covered.

The training will draw from the learning areas identified in the CAL overview diagram.

"When we examine culture and leadership closely, we see that they are two sides of the same coin; neither can really be understood by itself." ‐ Edgar Schein


Pre-requisites: Agile fundamentals. Industry experience or CSM or CSPO is sufficient. This is course explores organisation & leadership needed to create an Agile organisation. Agile is not required to learn, it is a requirement for certification. If you are not sure, please contact me for clarification.

Note: This course is designed for anyone seeking to foster a more agile (flexible, nimble) organisation. Even though the historical context of Agile is software innovation, this training is applicable across all industries.

Course Pre-learning: Participants are expected to complete 2-3 hours of videos and readings in advance of the training. Then there is more time to focus on discussion and exploration. The reading guide will be shared with participants after registration.

PDUs: This training provides 14 PDUs in support of certifications offered by the Project Management Institute, including the PMI‐ACP as well as the PMP certification.

Who Should Participate

There are two main audiences that are addressed by this training: organisational leaders and organisational coaches. The principles and practices of organisational culture and leadership are the same regardless of your role.

Organisational leaders include executives, vice presidents, directors, managers and program leads. Organisational coaches include Agile Coaches, Scrum Masters, HR professionals, and internal change leaders.

Learning Modules for Certified Agile Leadership Training (CAL1)

We create a highly interactive dynamic training environment. Each of you are unique ‐ and so is each training. Although the essentials will be covered in every class, you will be involved in shaping the depth and focus of our time together. Each learning module is treated as a User Story and we will co-create a unique learning journey that supports everyone's needs. Only the most valuable topics will be covered.

Organisational Culture

"If you do not manage culture, it manages you, and you may not even be aware of the extent to which this is happening." ‐ Edgar Schein
  • Why Culture? Clarify why culture is critical for Organisational Success.
  • Laloux Culture Model: Discuss the Laloux culture model that will help us clarify current state and how to understand other organisations/models.
  • Agile Culture: Explore how Agile can be seen as a Culture System.
  • Agile Adoption & Transformation: ‐ Highlight differences between Agile Adoption and Transformation.
  • Dimensions of Culture: Look at key aspects of culture from "Reinventing Organisations". Where are we and where might we go?
  • Culture Case Studies: Organisational Design: Explore how leading companies use innovative options to drive cultural operating systems.

Organisational Growth

  • Working With Culture: Given a Culture Gap. What moves can we make? Work with Culture or Transformation.
  • Complex Systems Thinking: Effective change is possible when we use a Complex Systems model. Cynefin. Attractors. Emergent Change.
  • Healthy "Agile" Initiatives: How to get to a healthy initiative. How to focus on the real goals of Agile and clarify WHY.
  • Fostering Organisational Collaboration: Understanding collaboration and trust beyond the team. Organisational drivers. Patterns for change.
  • Metrics: How do we measure success? What metrics help and which harm us?
  • Transformation Case Study: Walkthrough of how a transformation unfolded with a 100 person internal IT group.

Leadership & Organisational Models

  • Management Paradigms: Contrast of Traditional "Modern" Management practices with Knowledge worker paradigm. Theory X, Theory Y.
  • The Virtuous Cycle: Key drivers of success emergent across different high-performance organisational systems.
  • Engagement (Gallup): Gallup has 12 proven questions linked to employee engagement. How can we move the needle?
  • Advice Process: More effective decision-making using Advice Process. Build leaders. Practice with advice cards.

Leadership Development

  • Listening: Subtle and deep listening practice as the basis for all human interaction.
  • 4 A's Leadership Model: Awareness, Acceptance, Aspiration & Ask for Help.
  • Leading Through Culture: How to lead through culture so that innovation and engagement can emerge.
  • Transformational Leadership: See how we may "be the change we want to see" in our organisations.
  • Leadership in Hierarchy: Hierarchy impedes innovation. Listening and language tips to improve your leadership.