The responsibilities of the Agile Coach are many and diverse. Hence, the ‘ Agile Coach Toolkit’ for the AC is equally diverse! Here’s my own take on the collection of skills and best practices that every Agile Coach should employ. It ranges from to ‘how to start out as an Agile Coach’, to Agile Coaching techniques, and to the Agile Coach’s role as a facilitator – to name a few. Supercharge your organization’s Agile transformation with these Agile Coach ‘tools.’
Building my ‘ Agile Coach Toolkit’
As a labor and organizational psychologist, I used my knowledge of human interaction and behavior to create learning and break through old patterns and behaviors to become an expert Agile and SAFe trainer/coach. Now with hundreds of hours of experience I am happy to share my skills, experiences, and resources with other Agile Coaches.
Starting out as an Agile Coach
Firstly, it is important to understand there is no single correct way to be an Agile Coach. Your strengths as an Agile coach will be connected to your unique combination of skills, background, and talents. From this base you will come to define your own idea of Agility; specifying your own stances on human behavior, communication, and honesty within an organization.
Use your first days to lay out your vision for the organization’s Agile transformation. This cannot be done alone. You’ll need to utilize the skills and knowledge of those at the organization to craft a unique Agile transformation that works for that situation.
Agile Coaching techniques
As you set out on a coaching career, it is important to understand there are three different levels or roles as an Agile Coach:
- One on One – Talking with individuals about specific situations, goals, and/or Agile challenges
- Team Facilitator – Moving between groups, looking at the underlying factors influencing the group dynamics
- Enterprise Coach – Making Coaching decisions on an organizational level; linking the organization to portfolio road maps.
While each of these levels will have practices and tools unique to them, there are certain qualities they all share. Each requires a secure environment, where all those involve can feel free to share their honest ideas and opinions without fear of being reprimanded. Every level requires a careful analysis of potential roadblocks, asking yourself ‘How do I identify issues?’ And finally, they all use the same fundamental coaching ethics: finding the problem, diving into the system around the problem, and growing competence at the team level.
The Agile Coach as a facilitator
One of the most essential functions of the Agile Coach is that of facilitator; encouraging and motivating change to occur naturally at all levels within the organization, rather than demanding change occur spontaneously.
As an Agile Coach it is important that you begin new conversations directed at bringing new ‘habits’ into the organization. The only way to effectively change an organization is to change the behavior and habits of the people who comprise that organization.
Resources available to you as an Agile Coach
No matter how much training or experience you have as an Agile Coach, you will always encounter new problems and challenges which may at first seem insurmountable. However, it is important to remember you will always have a community of Agile Coaches that you can call on for help.
Use events like the Agile Coach conference<link> as an opportunity to share your stories- your successes, struggles, and everything in between- and to hear the stories of your fellow Agile Coaches. Use conferences as an opportunity to connect with other coaches. As an Agile Coach, you are a member of a vivid community dedicated to supporting one another.
Do not be afraid to rely on your colleagues for support, even if they are not Agile Coaches. Simply repeating the situation and answering questions can be useful. You could even ask for their input in problem solving exercises, such as drawing or mapping out the problem.
Fill out your own Agile Coach ‘Agile Coach Toolkit’
If you are intrigued by some of the contents of my Agile Coach toolkit consider attending the Agile Coach bootcamp available at Gladwell Academy in order to fill out your own Agile Coach toolkit, find more information here. If you already have your Agile Coach toolkit consider sharing and expanding it at the Agile Coach Conference, tickets are available here.