Letting go of the expert

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 Go of The Expert

Firstly, let’s consider the notion of an expert and then look at why we might want to let 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. These 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. This is so that they can fix their own problems.

This approach takes years of practice. We are asked to be experts, yet 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 being the expert, despite being asked to do that.

Making a stand and choosing to grow others is hard. Especially 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.

Removing ego and agenda as a coach

As part of the AWA coaching practice, we learn how to separate our own ego and agenda from that of our clients. We build 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. However, 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 simply 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 challenges that they are facing. This creates ownership of continual improvement and transfers knowledge by doing rather than telling. Far more powerful and long-lasting.

Next, 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.


Finally, you can contact us at:

UK: +44 (0) 2033691125
USA: +16468322328 

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