What do I Do as an Agile Coach?

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What do I Do as an Agile Coach?

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Dave Rooney is a Canadian Agile Coach who recently wrote a nice article about what he focuses on in his agile coaching. I thought I’d share it and play off of Dave’s ideas a bit.

In the article, he mentions 6 important activities:

  1. First Do No Harm!

  2. Listen

  3. Ask boatloads of questions

  4. Challenge assumptions

  5. Teach/Coach Agile practices

  6. Work myself out of a job

#1, this should be our new, agile coaching prime directive. No matter how many $$$ are in play or pressure is in play. And I think this comes from experience, which lots of “agile coaches” are missing.

#2, what? Just kidding. This is one of my personal challenges as a person and coach. I make my living by teaching, speaking, well…talking I guess. So, it’s harder for me to shut up and simply listen. I keep working on it, but it’s an ongoing struggle. Now I am good at active listening, once I quiet myself down.

#3, I agree and disagree with Dave. Questions are great. But I’m seeing more and more coaches who ask too many questions, rapid-fire, mechanically, and without sufficiently staying in the moment of the conversation. This is particularly dangerous when they’re an external consultant and/or coaching leaders.

#4, Yes, and… the devil is in the details of how you do it. Do you challenge directly, subtly, continuously, relentlessly, from a perspective of respect and patience? No judgment.

#5, Sort of. I’d like to change this to teach/coaching agile mindset, principles, and then practices. I think the first two are much more important. And I’d reframe teach/coaching to: model, mentor, teach, and then coach.

#6, Amen!

I came across a post by Robert van Lieshout that compliments this one. It’s short and sweet. And it amplifies the need for agile coaches to continue to gain experience in the trenches. To avoid being “talking heads” and to ground themselves in the real world. In this case, Robert speaks to the need for agile coaches to spend time as Scrum Masters. It’s entitled – Becoming the Agile Coach I want to be and I recommend you take a look.

Given this post, I’d add a #7 to Dave’s list. That is – Be a Practitioner 

Stay agile my friends,



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