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Dec 3, 2021

The 5 Qualities for Effective Agile Coaching (+ Free White Paper)

There are different types of Agile Coaches. But what exactly makes a good Agile coach? It’s not easy to give a simple answer, but keep reading to learn the 5 qualities and skills that are bound to help you as an Agile Coach.

1. Knowledge of Agile ideas

Agile isn’t a standard recipe, but a comprehensive philosophy. It’s a mindset in which change isn’t the goal, but rather, it is the starting point. Agile uses methodologies and frameworks such as Lean, Scrum, DevOps, Continuous Delivery, and the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe). As an Agile Coach, you need to be aware of all these different methodologies, and you have to know how and when to use them.

2. Agile Coaching with an open mindset

Agile Coaching will place great demands on your personal versatility. Since Agile working is still relatively new and in the development phase, as a coach, you need to be constantly open to utilizing new techniques, tools, and insights.

3. Qualities of an Agile Coach

Agile Coaches don’t have an executive role, but rather, they work bottom-up. They don't say what should happen or what went wrong, but rather, they help the team get more insight into their performance themselves in order to take responsibility for it.
It is important to note that this will only work if you are able to gain the trust of all involved teams. In order to do this successfully, you need to have a good capacity for sympathy and empathy.

Agile Coaching isn't an executive role. The Agile Coach works bottom-up.

4. Dealing with conflicts

In an Agile environment, self-managing teams have the space to do their work as they see fit. This also means that they must be able to solve tensions and differences in opinion within the group themselves, without outside involvement or mediation. When it comes to disputes within Agile teams, there is no manager to intervene and appease the situation.

Conflicts in the workplace are often inevitable, but they aren’t a disaster on their own -- just as long as they don’t get out of hand. As an Agile Coach, you have an important role to play in pointing out and making it possible to discuss open or underlying tensions that may have arisen within teams. To better understand if anything negative is going on, it can always help to ask someone how they feel and/or to break the ice with a comment that provides perspective.

5. Patience and perseverance

Developing an Agile mindset is undoubtedly a difficult process. You cannot expect everyone to be positive about the novel approach to working right away, and you must remember that some people need more time than others to adapt. Your role is to focus on the things that are going well and, above all, to keep looking forward. Implementing worthwhile changes always takes more time than you think!

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Written by Gladwell Academy, but most of our content is created by trainers and partnering experts!