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Agile coaching myth 5: You need an Agile coach.

Agile coaching myth 5: You need an Agile coach.

I used to think this was true. Maybe that was my ego. Maybe it was just heaps of enthusiasm for the role and the potential it held for helping teams become better. I just simply didn’t know better.

Many people will say that you need an agile coach, that you have to have someone there to guide the team through the process. The truth is that you don’t have to. You need air. You need food. You need people in your life. These are fundamentals of our existence.

You don’t need a coach.

You might want a coach, and a coach may prove to be a great investment for your organization, but you don’t need coaching.

A great coach will help mentor the team through a journey to agility. They will ask great questions to help the team achieve clarity around what needs doing and why that is important. They will challenge the status quo and help the team find ways to improve.

All these things are great, and the best teams in the world invest in coaching for those very reasons, but you don’t need a coach.

There is a big difference between the words need and want.

One implies that you are helpless without a coach, the other implies that you want to improve as an individual as well as a team, and recognise that a great agile coach is going to be the investment that helps you achieve exactly that.

As agile coaches, we need to remember that we aren’t needed. We need to remember that we need to contribute significant value to the people we work with, be that one-on-one coaching or team coaching, for people to understand why we are a critical part of their success.

We need to be deeply invested in helping teams create environments where they can excel.

In an organization that is able to pay your coaching fees, chances are that teams are able to perform their tasks and roles without you. They have already achieved a degree of success and created enough value for the company to be profitable.

So, you aren’t walking into environments where people don’t know what they are doing or lack the necessary skills and motivation to perform their role.

It’s a great ego check.

Understand that you are there to help that team improve. You are there to help them see clearly. You are there to help that team make the decisions and take the actions that lead to high performance.

We need to remember that we are there in service to the team and the organization. They don’t need our services, but they will benefit a great deal from our teaching, coaching and mentoring.

So, in short, teams and organizations don’t need a coach. They will benefit a great deal from agile coaching, but it isn’t a need.

If you are interested in becoming an agile coach and value mentored, coach-driven skills development in your journey to mastery, visit our Growing Agile Coaches page.

For more information on John McFadyen, visit or connect with John on LinkedIn at

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If you are already a scrum master and want to upskill to a more advanced level of knowledge and agile coaching capability, visit our Advanced Certified Scrum Master (A-CSM) course page.

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