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Do project managers make great candidates for Agile Coaches?

It depends.

Are they even good as a project manager?

If they are, they possess valuable skills that are transferable into the coaching and Agile coaching environment?

It depends a lot on mindset as well.

If a project manager identifies with the power and authority of a project management role and thinks that they will be designating work and ‘driving’ the project forward, they are going to fail within the role and probably do a lot of damage in the process.

If, instead, they embrace the journey for Agile coaching and are interested in finding new ways of working in the 21st Century, they are going to make great candidates for Agile coaches moving forward.

Agile Environments

An Agile coach needs to be deeply experienced in working with Agile frameworks and actively working within a team to build a product or service.

They can develop the coaching element as much as they like but without the practical experience in agile environments, they are simply not going to be effective as an Agile coach.

So, the project manager needs to look at one of the two roads available to them.

Scrum Master or Product Owner.

Many project managers possess the skills necessary to become either of these two roles.

The are great at working with stakeholders and have deep experience in working with people to get something built.

So, first step is to choose which of the two roles within a Scrum environment they best identify with and start to build experience within that role. Ideally, they could do a Certified Scrum Master course or a Certified Scrum Product Owner course to get cracking and from there it’s simply a matter of career progression with on-the-job skills development as well as more advanced training.

Each of these roles will require the project manager to develop new skills, a new way of thinking, and to learn how to create great products and services in complex environments in collaboration with a team of highly motivated, skilled individuals in the scrum team.

As they develop their skills in these areas, it’s simply a matter of developing their coaching skills in alignment with their development within Agile environments.


A project manager carries a lot of authority and will generally assign work and deadlines to people within the team. They rely on their authority to get things done and actively ‘drive’ the development of a project.

Agile environments are different.

In an agile environment, they will be developing their influence and coaching capabilities to work with teams toward achieving individual and team objectives.

A coaching mindset is very different to a project management mindset and so training will be a necessary requirement.

Agile Centre have an Agile Coaching Academy that works to mentor and coach aspiring Agile coaches as they move through their apprenticeship. That would be a great option for ongoing and continuous support throughout the personal coaching development phase.

Project managers that make the transition into Agile environments will find that they naturally fall into a coaching role as a Scrum Master and/or a Product Owner.

They are working with stakeholders, customers, and teams to create the most valuable work, in the most valuable way, at the most valuable time.

So, on-the-job skills development will progress coaching skills and allow you to map out a coaching certification path that leads to something like a Certified Team Coach (CTC) or Certified Enterprise Agile Coach (CEC).

IC Agile also have a great Certified Agile Team Coaching course that will help you progress your coaching skills in Agile environments.

So, in summary, project managers do make great candidates for Agile coaches if their focus lies in embracing a new way of building products and solving problems.

It is simply a matter of training, certification and mentoring that will allow you to progress and develop an entirely new career path that is super rewarding. Visit to find out how we can help you on that journey.

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