Agile Coaching 2.0

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I’m writing a book which outlines a beginner’s guide to becoming a great agile coach

I’ve learned as a coach of agile coaches, including running a Coach Academy for a 30,000 employee corporate during an agile transformation. I have hired, mentored, developed and coached hundreds of coaches from expert through to raw beginners. So why this book..?

I’ve repeatedly noticed senior agile coaches with 5-8 years experience hitting a point in their career where they repeatedly fail to progress to the next level. It’s at this point that they come to realise the need for fundamental personal change. As I went through trying to hire and develop coaches and observed my industry peers doing the same, two observations and one realisation emerged that led to this book:

Great agile coaching is now predominantly about influencing people’s mindset, not just being a subject expert in agile practices.

To become a great agile coach you need to reinvent your self; challenge your own truths and values, let go of some and experiment with who you are as a person.

Current learning approaches for Agile Coaching are outdated and are failing to meet the needs of the market. Beginners are encouraged to follow linear learning pathways with “advanced” skills being made available later on.

So if current approaches to developing great agile coaches are outdated what does this mean in practical terms. To influence a person’s mindset a coach is required to learn, practice and master a very different set of competencies to what has traditionally been the focus in agile coach development.

The competencies required to be a great coach do not easily “bolt on” to existing ones that beginners are taught, but have to be integrated into the coach’s values and beliefs over a period of time. Hence the need to start integrating these up-front.

What I write in this book comes from observations made as I’ve coached across many companies and also as a freelance leadership coach. But one recent set of experiments I ran really helped solidify my thinking on what beginner coaches need to become great.

Over a 12-month period I took 49 beginner agile coaches through a learning journey; concurrently I was recruiting many expert coaches from the market. This large-scale coaching uplift program exposed a consistent competency gap in expert level coaches. It was then that it dawned on me that beginners need to consider a different set of competencies as they start their careers so as to avoid this gap later on.

Beginners should be more aware of what great coaches do so that they are integrating all the required competencies for greatness from the start of their career as opposed to adding them on once they gain some experience. It is because of this need for a new integrated learning approach for agile coaching that I’ve written this book.

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