Communication, communication, communication
I believe that software development is for the most part a social activity. This implies that in many circumstances the most valuable work that a coach can do is to improve the quality of interactions between people in a team (especially when the individuals that the team will be made up of is not a variable that can be influenced.)
So I often find myself reflecting on the quality, frequency and modes of communication that I observe: trying to understand why a particular phrase is used or stance is taken. (Which also involves wondering about the things that are not explicitly discussed as well as the things that are.) And quite often in teams that are struggling there seems to be a lot of miscommunication that only serves to perpetuate the problems that the team is struggling with.
Barry Oshry's work on the way that people make up stories to explain what they don't understand - reframing other's motivations or intent to place them within their own perspective - has been exceptionally helpful for me in making sense of such situations, and the application of Virgina Satir's coping model in organisations has also provided useful insights.
Sometimes however there seems to be a repetitive cycle of miscommunication between particular individuals whose dynamic seems to fit more with the ideas of Games People Play and the roles of Persecutor, Rescuer and Victim in the Karpman Drama Triangle. While it helps to have some awareness of what might be going on in these circumstances, I find such situations quite stressful. It is tempting (for my ego!) to try and play the part of "the hero" who can "save" the team, but I recognise that by doing so I would leave people stuck in the same disempowered situation as they were before I joined them. Which is not what I believe an Agile coach should do.