We’re often asked what is an Enterprise Agile Coach? Or How is one different to a Scrum Master? And what do I need to do and know to up-level? In this article, we explain the five essential competencies that illustrate the practical skills required to be an effective Enterprise Agile Coaching practitioner, and specifically what it would take to enable organisations to reach the right level of agility for their context and successfully achieve their business outcomes. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you will understand what it actually means to be an enterprise coach, what kind of skills you’re going to need and the experience that you need to gain in order to operate at that level and if not… how to get there.
Developing Self As Leader
Enterprise Agile Coaching is a leadership role. Therefore, self-development of yourself as a leader is a crucial cornerstone in becoming an enterprise coach. Not least because over time we have learnt to be the experts and internalised biases that hinder us. We can overcome the expert mindset and biases through demonstrable self-development and improvement, which in turn helps our relationships with others and the organisations that we serve. As the world continually changes, we need to have the capacity and awareness to continually adapt and develop too.
This isn’t just a one-off process. It’s a continual reformation of our own self character, our own self abilities and to look inside oneself and actually improve not only our skills, our external skills, but our internal ability to work with others and ourselves. Throughout our ICAgile Accredited Enterprise Agile Coaching Expert program we support you to make the right steps to unlearning existing mindsets so that you can not only demonstrate self-awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, and belief systems, and their impact on others but also to demonstrate the ability to manifest and “stand-in” one’s own leadership within the role of Enterprise Coach.
Guiding the Change Process
An enterprise coach needs to be able to help guide the process of change with lots of lots of different people at lots of different levels. This is because people react differently when change is put upon them and different people react differently to others. Guiding the change process means what it says. It’s guiding. It does not mean pushing, forcing, telling or setting. It does not mean taking an enterprise-level process (for example a scaling framework) and installing that into an organisation. That is not a guiding process, but a telling process and data tell us that telling is not an effective way to manage enterprise organisational change.
Instead, what we’re looking for is a coaching conversation with the entire organisation. This “coaching conversation” needs to be mapped out and on our program, we show you how using the AWA Playbook you can co-create an approach with your client and guide them in implementing, adapting, and sustaining the envisioned change. How to put that change strategy into action and then support you in inspecting and adapting change efforts based on evidence.
This is a huge area spanning many skills and scope and thus requires a solid understanding of how to navigate this range. It’s not just about agile coaching either. You have got to be able to demonstrate understanding and expertise in professional coaching as well. For example, often IT is the focus of agile but from an enterprise perspective that couldn’t be less true. HR, leadership, legal, finance etc, all these different areas of the business must have a customer-centric focus. Therefore, this competency requires that you have the necessary coaching scope to understand and navigate the different needs and demands of these different business areas at an enterprise level.
You need to demonstrate how you can align the entire organisation out of its different silos into a delivery system which can deliver products and services to customers effectively. As an enterprise coach, you need to be able to identify and recognise that different people have different experiences, different needs and different types of problems. And it is your job to know what it takes to coach everybody (and if you even have the skills to do so or not) – whether that is at one2one, team or systemic level and how to get the right people together at the different levels of the organisation to ensure that the organisation moves and adjusts as well.
Here we require demonstrable experience and competency to develop leadership to understand what business outcomes they require and what behaviours they need to achieve those business outcomes. For example, how do they encourage that behaviour throughout the organisation and create a leadership development program to achieve the desired outcomes that the business needs.
To really demonstrate competence in this area Enterprise Agile Coaches, need to have developed their own leadership skills, which is why we do that first (as outlined in Developing Self as Leader) and then we help develop others in the same. This means that as an enterprise coach you need to have access to the leaders within an organisation and work with them from a leadership position yourself. How else can you change an organisation if you don’t have access to senior leadership?
Guiding Organisational Agility
It’s in this final competency where all your knowledge and experience and ability to flex your expertise in agile, complexity theory, systems Intelligence, systems thinking and systems awareness etc and the capacity to navigate between these practices using the AWA Playbook for Organisational Agility comes into play. And above all, the demonstrative competency and ability to help your clients/organisations through an experimentation process using the above-outlined competencies to create the right approach for their specific context and to the right level.
Eager to learn more?
One of the biggest challenges that organisations face is knowing how to catalyse deep change at the enterprise level and to make it stick. That’s why we designed the ICAgile Accredited Enterprise Agile Coach Expert Program, to nurture and grow these highly sought-after skills and competencies. Join us this April as we embark on a transformational journey into mastering Enterprise Agile Coaching with an inspirational Cohort of advanced practitioners. Find out if you are ready and apply today
Need more info before taking the next step?
Our webinar will give you a closer look inside our ICAgile Accredited Enterprise Agile Coaching Expert cohort program. You will hear from our Coach Trainers and cohort members about how the program has already started to shape not just their careers but their organisations too. And how navigating the comprehensive competencies amidst the global pandemic has not just built a truly tight-knit community of equally skilled and like-minded people but enabled us to solve real business problems as they emerge together. Download and watch the webinar for free here.
I work at AWA HQ looking after day-to-day operations, speaking with people, organising events and training, and thinking up the next cool thing we can do. Outside of work I’m having fun with my family, usually walking our whippet, Luna or playing games with our daughter, Scarlett.