For previous articles in this series please see:

What coaching means to me,
To Coach, you need permission and
An essential ingredient for successful coaching – a contract

Letting The Expert Go

You need experts on your organisational journey to agility, but they are not the only ones you need.

An expert is someone who knows enough about a subject that they can fix a problem or create a solution that a lay person cannot.

The current norm at organisations is to value experts. We employ people who are good at something. When moving towards agility, most organisations employ a range of different experts that are typically called Team / Agile / Enterprise Coaches.

When experts are engaged in Organisational Change and try to fix or solve problems in how other people work, they create resistance, resentment, and changes that don’t last or stick.

At AWA we use the ‘coaching’ part of the role to grow individuals, teams, and whole organisations, so that they can fix their own problems.

This takes years of practice because we are asked to be experts, but we actually have to teach, mentor, and coach the expert in others. This means we have to make a stand and not default back to be the expert, even though we are asked to do that.

Making a stand and choosing to grow others is hard when most people in organisations employ you to be the expert and fix their problems. That’s what being a leader is. It means making a stand and doing the right thing.

As part of the AWA coaching practice we learn how to separate our own ego and agenda from that of our clients. We build the confidence in ourselves and our practice to know that coaching, training, and mentoring is a solution that works, being a consultant and expert does not.

Removing our own ego and agenda is absolutely necessary because the moment to moment coaching conversations we have require us to ask questions. If those questions are loaded, then the outcome follows our agenda. That might seem to work, and we might even receive praise, but in the weeks to come the ideas fall flat, and the new ways of working don’t stick. Being agenda-less is essential.

Of course, all that Agile experience, organisational design, and process creation experience, is not just discarded. That would be a waste. Instead of consulting and telling in order to transfer that expertise, we work with our clients to create experiments that they design and run to exactly solve the business challenge that they are facing. This creates ownership of continual improvement and transfers knowledge by doing rather than telling. Far more powerful and long lasting.

Tomorrow I will write up examples of three different approaches and their results that will give more insight into what I mean.


I hope this helps you get more success from your Agile Coaching.

Let me know any other topics you might be interested in below.


AWA is an Agile Coaching and Training Organisation based in Europe and the United States.

If you want help with your coaching, you can either come on one of our public training courses or book us for private onsite training and / or coaching at your organisation.

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
USA: +16468322328 

Simon Powers is the CEO and founder of Adventures with Agile. He has over 20 years’ experience helping very large organisations to thrive in the market and to be better places to work. His approach led him to create our transformative ICAgile Certified Enterprise Agile Coaching training courses, which run worldwide and online. Simon is one of the first ICE-EC experts in the world.