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What is an Agile Coach anyway?

5 April 2016 | Anikh Subhan | About a 2 minute read
Tags: Academy, Agile, agile coaching, Facilitator, Scrum Master


 

In the world of Software Engineering, being Agile can sometimes require a little help and support. When teams are starting out on their journey to become Agile, they may need an experienced Agile brain to pick at. Someone who is on hand to answer questions and provide guidance. Other teams who are further along on their Agile journey might just need some light nudging to help shape them into a more successful team.

But doesn’t the Scrum Master or Team Lead do that?

Well yes, but that’s just part of their role. The other parts are likely to be line management and/or making sure the team delivers. Additionally, the Management may also improve when they have some coaching support for themselves. Everyone has room for improvement when it comes to coaching, collaborating and communicating. The coaching role enables total focus on helping improve the effectiveness and efficiency of all the individuals within the teams, including the Team Leads.

That’s where the role of an Agile Coach comes in.

So what do they actually do?

There are various parts to the role, which include:

  • Advisor in Agile – Someone who has experience in the field of Agile.They know what success looks like with regards to delivering software.

 

  • Mentor – Transferring knowledge and experiences to other individuals, through informal chats and regular catch ups. Aiming to help with their progression and professional career development – this improves motivation, which in turn helps individual and group performance.

 

  • Confidant – A trustworthy go-to-person to talk about matters that are slightly less public, but may be impacting an individual or team’s performance.

 

  • Teacher – Training people with the right practices and behaviours to underpin an Agile delivery framework, such as Scrum. Additionally doing specific training, for example Product Ownership.

 

  • Sounding board – An effective listener who can evaluate and feedback on ideas, opinions and suggestions.

 

  • Facilitator – Making sure that the right conversations are happening at the right time. This might be within specific team sessions or it might be informally. They may also step into a Delivery role and lead some of the sessions when the team are starting out.

 

These are some of the roles that an Agile Coach plays. Generally, they will be switching between the different roles multiple times a day! An Agile Coach uses a mixture of roles and skills, with the aim of increasing the overall success of people within an organisation.

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