What is Agile Coaching?
The definition of Coaching is a “non-directive, creative, and reflective process based on relationships.” What does this mean?
- Non-directive: the coach refrains from prescribing solutions
- Creative: the coach encourages innovative and imaginative thinking
- Reflective: the coach asks powerful questions that help the coachee think for themselves
The most important aspects of Agile Coaching are reflected in these three adjectives around the coaching process: we do not tell a team what to do or how to do it, we encourage the team to determine for themselves what the best course of action is, and how best to complete it to achieve their goals and objectives. The Agile Coach is a servant-leader that helps remove impediments, manage conflict, promote communication, and support teams.
Agile Coaching is part coaching as defined above, but it also entails mentoring, teaching, and facilitating. An Agile Coach will determine when to step into one of these four roles:
When to coach?
When the team knows what to do and how to do it, but some impediment is holding them back. That may be their own resistance or some outside influence that is hindering them. The Coach will ask those powerful questions to help the team break out of the impediment.
When to mentor?
When the people you are coaching need context or stories to help them better apply agile methods and practices to their situation. Mentoring is interlaced with coaching but is more focused on story-telling around your experiences. Mentoring further enriches the coaching stance because the coachees hear about successes (and failures!) that they might encounter.
When to teach?
When the team or someone on the team is struggling with a concept within the process they are using. It could be how to best complete requirements for a user story, or how to ‘spice up’ one of the agile ceremonies, like the retrospective.
When to facilitate?
When the team needs a mediator or guide to help them problem-solve, stay on track, and reach a consensus. The Agile Coach has the facilitation skillset to help teams reach their goals efficiently.
Why is it important?
Having an Agile Coach throughout the agile transformational journey is one of the key levers to success. The Agile Coach can enable agile processes and methods and can facilitate continuous improvement. Agile seems simple on the surface, but it is hard to master.
Organizations will face resistance to change, which is natural. Agile is not one-size-fits-all, so most organizations need help figuring out which size and flavor fit them. They need someone who can objectively and neutrally look at what’s working and what’s not working and then coach to adjust and tweak as needed. Organizations also need someone who will be pragmatic and empirical in their thinking to help the organization achieve the success it is pursuing and deliver value to the customer. They need a coach.
Agile Coaching Courses
Get Certified in Agile Coaching
Netmind offers certification for agile coaching through ICAgile. We are an approved training provider for both professional-level courses in the Agile coaching track. Students who demonstrate comprehension and application of the course materials will receive the ICP-ATF certification for attending our Agile Teams Facilitation course and the ICP-ACC certification for attending our Agile Teams Coaching course.
Those who receive both these professional level certifications will be eligible to apply for ICAgile’s expert level certification: ICAgile Certified Expert Agile Coaching.
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