Agile Coaching

Any experienced Agile and Scrum coach, with enough theory and practice in his toolbox should have in-depth understanding of  practices and principles of various agile frameworks and real-world experience of implementing them at organizations.   A good coach must have a proven track record of guiding organizations through challenges of agile transformations, having seen first-hand adoption successes and adoption failures, with the latter being perceived “lessons learned” that a coach would be willing to share at his future managements.  A coach with diverse experience that spans across multiple organizational systems should be able to effectively serve multiple teams, products, project cycles, environments or technologies.

Some coaches can operate equally comfortably at any organizational level: top of organization (with senior leadership), team-level/mid-level management, as well as with individuals.  But some coaches have a stronger preference, where they wish to focus: e.g. technical excellence, team-level, enterprise-level, individual-level.

There are different coaching styles that can be used:

  • Directive Coaching – mostly used, when:
    • Coachee exhibits low ability and inadequate subject matter expertise for contextual learning, while a coach possess strong expertise in a subject matter
    • Coachee has low level of motivation and morale
  • Non-Directive Coaching  – mostly used, when:
    • Coachee exhibits high aptitude, strong skill set and subject matter expertise
    • Coachee has high motivation, aptitude and morale

Before engaging with a coach (enterprise, team or individual level, technical), every company/client is encouraged to learn what to expect from a coaching engagement.  Recommended  areas of focus are:

  • Differences and similarities between Training and Coaching
  • Coaching styles: as above, plus in-depth explanations
  • Coaching Specialties vs. Coaching Competencies
  • Coaching maturity and ability to make influence (e.g. Enterprise vs. Team)
  • Rules of coaching engagement and disengagement
  • Internal (full time) vs. External (consulting) coaching
  • Solo coaching vs. taking part of a coaching team
  • Classic “bad smells”, commonly seen with bad coaching

What is required for effective coaching?  What should organizations do to get most value from their coaches?  Please, review some recommended “pre-coaching” steps.

Coaches are frequently asked by customers, especially, at early stages of an engagement: “What are your objectives, as an organizational agile coach? What are you planning to accomplish?  How do we measure your coaching success?“.

While personal coaching objectives may vary from one coach to another, and depend on specific needs of a client-organization, there are some basic common purposes that are shared by many professional coaches, in terms of what they attempt to achieve, while engaging with clients. Here is the list of objectives to consider: Top 10 Objectives of Agile Coach.

Please, refer to additional references about agile coaching:


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