What is Agile Coaching?

I’ve been in the coaching business for a while, and every time someone asks me what I do for a living I have to pause. What do I do?

Agile Coaching is a special blend of process plus personality, with education and experience. Do you enjoy helping people? Have you done the work they’ve done, or close, and understand the pains and trials that those folks are going under? What sort of self-improvement strategy do you have, for if you can’t help yourself, can you help others?

Every coach is different. Some are more to the letter of the law and will remind you that you need to have the courage to do Scrum (one of their values) or any change. Perhaps counter-intuitively, change is even more difficult if you’re successful. Everyone can see the need for change when things are going poorly, but when things are going well it’s harder.

Other coaches are more incremental in their change approach, and see improvement as the win, regardless if it adheres to the letter of the law of whatever process you’re up to.

Then there’s the interpersonal work. Agile coaches that have a high emotional quotient, who have empathy, and possess training in coaching tend to succeed. The art of Agile Coaching, then, is to decide when to use the “coach” inside of you, vs. the “consultant”.

If you want to read more about the types of coaching out there, from team coach to enterprise coach, please check out this great article, written by Vytas Butkus. A good quote here:

If you run into any problems related to Agile in your team, an Agile coach is one of the best people to consult with. Maybe you feel that daily standups are not providing real value or maybe the team finds it hard to understand why they should use story points for estimation. An Agile coach has seen many situations throughout their career and should be able to guide you in the right direction. Ask them to do a workshop or a lecture on a particular Agile topic that is relevant to you.

Vytas Butkus,

If you want to read a more in-depth treatment of what an agile coach is and how to become one, Vytas’ article is a good one and maps closely to my own experience.

As always, if you have any questions let me know at or find us on LinkedIn.

Stay Agile out there!