Venkatesh Rajamani

What are the focus areas of an Agile Coach?

Who is an Agile Coach?

Though, there is no universal definition of what is an Agile Coach. I want to define, Someone who developed deep expertise to help people, teams, and organisations enable better customer outcomes by focusing on an organisation’s internal and external orientation.

The first Agile Coaching Competency framework was developed by Lyssa Adkins and Michael Spaydback in 2011. The model has been adopted and adapted as the application of Agile has grown over the years. I have taken this model as a reference to help illustrate the focus areas of an Agile coach when it comes to Coaching.

My definition of Agile Coaching

Agile Coaching is helping people, teams and organisations to do a job better or improve a skill by embracing the Manifesto and principles of agile.

Focus areas of an Agile Coach:

There are three core ways to serve your client that they could only accomplish with help. Three unique ways an Agile Coach can help their clients are: 

Agile Competence Framework- Credits: Agile Coaching Institute. Further expansion Source: tryScrum

1. Team Coaching

Many teams get so used focus on the execution, which they’ve always done, that they don’t realise they have a shared purpose. As a team Coach, you are responsible for helping teams align around a shared purpose and establish healthy team relationships to make decisions collectively by shifting their perspectives from coworkers to the community.

Team Coaching Competencies

Promote Self-Management 

Maintain authentic distance

Facilitate Collaboration 

Cultivate Systemic Awareness

Exhibit Ethical Behaviors

Promote Software Craftsmanship 

2. Business Coaching

This is tricky for most agile coaches. Here the focus is to coach and seed a Product thinking mindset. 

“More businesses die from indigestion than starvation.”

David Packard

As a business coach, you help people believe that doing less is more. You are responsible for helping teams and organisations discover the benefits of customer-centricity, design thinking and discovery. To have a holistic approach to coaching, we suggest business coaches develop proficiency in the following areas:

Business Coaching Capabilities

Promote Customer Centricity

Replace output with outcomes

Facilitate Continuous learning through empiricism

Integrate learning and action

Empathise customers

Cultivate Innovation

Business Coaching Tools

Design Thinking

Business Model Canvas

Product Discovery

Impact Mapping

Feature Fake

Customer Journey Map

Lean Analytics

OKR

Product Goals

Assumptions Mapping

Opportunity Mapping

3. Leadership Coaching

Many leaders get so used to doing things the way they’ve always done them that they don’t realise they have blind spots. As an Agile leadership Coach, it is your responsibility to bring your outside, objective perspective to help leaders see what they could never know for themselves. 

Before transitioning your career as an Agile coach, ask yourself the following questions. These are not assessment questions; these are designed to give you an overview and get your mind thinking about why you want to become an Agile coach. 

Leadership Coaching Capabilities

Establishing Commitments

Engagement Conversations to create breakthroughs

Designing Invented future

Creating a Culture of Accountability

Promote openness and vulnerability

Challenge Established thinking

Facilitate Behavioural Change

 Leadership Coaching Tools

Leadership 360*

Perception Assessment

Stakeholder Centered Coaching

DISC Personality Assessment

Work-Behaviour Inventory

The Responsibility Process

Remember to return to these questions after reading the capabilities. 

1. What is my purpose in becoming an Agile coach_____

2. Success in my Agile Coaching will come when ______

3. If my life is not dependent on my income, will I continue in this profession?

4. Which of the three focus areas do i enjoy the most? 

5. What value do I see in being an Agile Coach?

In my next blog, We will expand on these competencies needed to one’s career and focus as an Agile coach.

About Author

Venkatesh Rajamani has more than 17 years of experience delivering working software in short, feedback-driven cycles. He has helped many organizations adopt agile software delivery practices, including large banking, payments, telecom, and product organizations. He started his career as a Software Engineer and spent almost eight years as a hard-core Programmer. He has worked for or with large software delivery organizations, including HP, IBM, Logica, Paypal, Ericsson, RBS and HID. He founded tryScrum.com in 2018 to execute his mission of Humanizing Organizations. Venkatesh is fluent in 4 languages. He is based in Chennai, India and sets the overall direction for tryScrum. He is the world’s first to hold PKT, CAL-Educator, PST, CEC & CTC together. He loves reading books, travelling and public speaking.

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