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What is an Agile Coach and Why Do You Need One?

A good agile coach identifies opportunities for agile improvement, enhances efficient collaboration, continuous learning and adaptation.

December 15, 2022

For senior management questioning the need for Agile coaches and their usefulness to the organization. 

What is an Agile coach? 

 It is someone who lives and breathes by Agile mind-set; who makes others appreciate it and understand its benefits; and who guides people on all levels to incorporate it and realize it in practice. 

Why do you need an Agile coach?   

Companies, teams, and individuals who understand and want to integrate this mindset often don't know where to start and how to translate it into everyday action. Having an Agile coach on the ground provides day-to-day support and ensures steady progress towards the goal of becoming Agile. 

How to recognize a good Agile coach? 

A good Agile coach should be able to identify key areas for improvement in your organizational agility, supporting maximum value delivery, enhancing efficient collaboration, continuous learning and adaptation. 

In collaboration with the various stakeholders, he or she identifies the areas and avenues for improvement following a situational analysis. The Agile coach should then propose an action plan and define deliverables and validate the assumptions with his or her collaborators. Identifying and prioritizing areas for progress is strategic; developing an action plan is tactical and should ensure visibility of the steps and their activities over a few weeks each, not months. He or she should be able to demonstrate tangible achievements after each step and on a regular basis, such as: increased individual buy-in and commitment, streamlined processes, optimized decision cycle times, delivery, customer feedback, and value delivery. 

How can an Agile coach help? 

An Agile coach accompanies individuals, groups, and organizations in identifying together the most appropriate solution to the context, as well as the way to remove the blockers to get there. Depending on where you are today, your Agile coach will help you reach a better version of yourself tomorrow. 

What does an Agile coach do? 

 An Agile coach: 

  • prepares, facilitates, and capitalizes on collaborative workshops 
  • supports and guides with templates and other practical tools 
  • organizes meetings with clear objectives and the right people to achieve them 
  • facilitates and guides discussions to be productive 
  • focuses energy and attention on the integration and alignment of participants 
  • ensures that information is organized and presented in a way that is meaningful 
  • listens attentively, questions appropriately, and summarizes the results of discussions 
  • discloses off-topic interventions and respectfully removes them from the discussion 
  • identifies and removes impediments 
  • provides feedback and supports continuous improvement of the organizational culture 
  • provides a safe environment for the various stakeholders and acts as a facilitator in resolving conflicts 
  • acts to support and enhance individual commitment, motivation, and enjoyment 
  • ensures the adoption of an Agile mindset and its implementation 
  • supports the identification of action items and the development of the implementation plan 
  • follows up on the progress and results delivered 
  • Individualized coaching plan (business and IR) 
  • Team building activities 
  • Support a common alignment of product vision definition, scope, and minimum deliverable solution to be used in collaborative workshops