Friday, November 30, 2018

What is an Agile Coach?

There are many definitions of Agile Coach out there. One view is that an Agile Coach is an expert in all things Agile, or an expert in a particular area of Agile such as Scrum, Kanban, SAFe or some other methodology. Here is my definition, based on the ICAgile view of Agile Coaching:

Agile Coach: a servant leader that guides people as individuals, part of a team, and people at all levels of an organization towards greater levels of Agility using the skills of Coaching, Mentoring, Teaching, and Facilitating.

And here are my definitions of Coaching, Mentoring, Teaching, and Facilitating:

Coaching – using skills from professional coaching as part of a coaching conversation to help others identify and explore issues and then help them choose a path forward and commit to it. The skills from professional coaching include Emotional Intelligence, listening, presence, asking questions, and feedback. In this mode, the coach does not use any subject matter expertise, even if they are a subject matter expert in any topics that arise.

Mentoring – providing information, feedback, advice, options, examples, and illustrative experience as part of a mentoring conversation based on the mentee’s free choice. Similar to coaching, with the key difference being that the mentee has explicitly asked for mentoring and the mentor is a credible expert in the skill or role. Mentoring applies when a person has already received teaching in a skill or role.

Teaching – providing learners with new knowledge and skills and providing an environment for the learner to confirm that they have acquired the new knowledge or skill.

Facilitation – using specific tools and skills to help an individual or group efficiently discover, explore, and choose options for producing a specific outcome or set of outcomes, without directly contributing or allowing one’s own preferences or biases influence the outcomes.

Next: Emotional Intelligence and the Case of the Self-Conscious Scrum Master

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