What Agile Coaching Means To Me
Agile coaching is the help that an organisation requires to operate in today’s market place.
There are many areas that an Agile Coach can specialise in to make this possible. Not all Agile Coaches specialise in the same areas, operate at the same range, or work at the same scope.
Not all Agile Coaches are coaches. This is one of the biggest problems in the journey of an organisation. If you hire an Agile Coach who is not a coach, then you have an Agile Consultant. And as we know, Agile Consultancy doesn’t work. You end up with lots of Agile knowledge you can’t get to work or make stick.
AGILE COACHES ARE LEADERS
An Agile Coach is a leader. If you expect someone who is not able to lead to change your organisation for the better, then they must follow. And who are they following? You are a bit lost at sea without an Agile Coach who is a leader.
COACHING IS NOT A HIERARCHIAL PROFESSION
Agile Coaches work at different scopes. A Team Coach (a.k.a. Scrum Master), operates with the skills to form deep relationships with a small group of people. A coach may also operate across many teams in a department or a product group. This scope of work requires different organisational design skills but the same coaching skills and requires skills in large scale facilitation, a higher level of organisation design skills, and the gravitas to work with senior management.
At the Enterprise Scope, a coach needs exactly the same coaching skills and another different set of Organisation design skills.
No coach is more important than another. There is no hierarchy in coaching. The hierarchy comes when you map coaching into a hierarchical organisation. Hierarchy is an unwanted but borrowed guest. An organisation needs all these coaches to move forwards. If a coach operates in a hierarchy, then they are limited by the hierarchy and you can expect limited results.
AGILE COACHES DON’T SELL
An Agile Coach uses their coaching skills alongside their leadership skills. A leader knows when to make a stand. They know what to make a stand for. But they don’t sell, convince, or tell. Any good leader knows that those who resort to force sometimes win in the very short term and crash and burn in the medium and long term. Agile Coaches set their sight on the long term.
AGILE IS A NOUN. AGILITY IS A MINDSET
A 6-month contract is not Agile Coaching. It is a tactical move to make a small difference. A good Agile Coach knows that to make a difference they don’t need to be in the office every day, but they do need to be engaged for a number of years. In fact, a good coach needs to be away from their teams enough so that they don’t become dependent on them.
THE FUTURE IS MANAGERS AS LEADERS WHO CAN COACH
Agile Coaching is a temporary fix that is required until Managers can upskill both their external organisational design skills and their internal emotion intelligence though coaching and self-awareness. Once Managers embrace a different kind of relationship with their staff and the work, Agile Coaches won’t be needed anymore. Managers will become Leaders with coaching skills.
GROW FROM MANAGER TO COACH / LEADER
At AWA we have a program of growing Managers into Leaders who together can move their whole organisation towards a better way of working that succeeds in today’s market.
We do this by demonstrating what a good Agile Coach is. We do this by sharing through training and coaching alongside teams at every scope. We are not going to be onsite every day for months on end. We offer a unique and successful approach to agility by upskilling and making options visible. We don’t do it for you, we enable you to do it yourself. And this time it will stick and work.
WORKING WITH AWA
AWA is an Agile Coaching and Training Organisation based in Europe and the United States.
We offer a 2-week systemic coaching engagement at your place of work that accelerates your organisation’s agility in ways that would usually take years.
You can contact us at:
UK: +44 (0) 2033691125
Simon Powers is the founder of Adventures with Agile, the global community of practice for agile and organizational change. Over the last decade Simon has worked in organizations moving towards agile ways of working, his approach has led him to create a series of ICAgile Certified Enterprise Agile Coaching training courses, which have received high praise from both the communities in London and worldwide.