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How effective is Agile coaching in an organisation that doesn’t embrace Agile?

Many organisations don’t know and understand Agile. Many of them simply aren’t ready to make the transition to a completely new way of working.

Some of them have great reasons why a full Agile transformation isn’t warranted.

So, how can an Agile coach add value within that kind of environment?


An Agile coach is a coach first and foremost. The Agile part relates to the 4 values and 12 principles of the Agile manifesto. Their role lies in helping individuals and teams create environments where people can thrive.

Regardless of whether an organisation has embraced ‘Agile’ or not, they will still face problems that need solving and are more than likely invested in creating and building products and services that truly delight their customers.

This is where an Agile coach comes into their own.

They work with teams to figure out what is working, what needs work, and how they can make the transition from an unproductive way of working to a collaborative, creative and productive style of working.

Sometimes, that doesn’t require Scrum. Sometimes, that doesn’t require an Agile framework.

It does, however, require reflection, reviews, and conversations around what impediments are presenting themselves to progress.

An Agile coach would be working with teams as well as individuals across the organisation to recognise patterns of behaviour that don’t serve the team or the organisation.

They would be working with individuals to understand what impediments stand in the way of producing consistently great work. They would be working with those individuals and teams to find creative new ways of solving problems, especially if those problems have never been solved before.

Yes, they will be drawing on their knowledge and expertise in Scrum or another Agile framework but they wouldn’t necessarily need to implement Scrum or an Agile framework in order to help teams achieve their goals and objectives.

An Agile coach focuses on finding bottlenecks and problems. They work with the team to creatively solve those problems using the existing expertise and experience within the team environment.

They aren’t there to tell people how to solve problems, they instead work with teams to come up with the solutions to their problems.

They work with both individuals and teams throughout the organisation to identify opportunities for improvement and then set about creating accountability and responsibility for achieving those objectives.

An Agile coach often holds up a mirror to the team with the intention of helping teams understand how they truly work. Because individuals are so close to their work and so deeply immersed in the daily challenges of their work, they don’t often see the bigger picture.

An Agile coach helps them do exactly that.

See the bigger picture. Understand how their role and work integrates into the team environment and has an impact on the overall success of the organisation.

Coaching helps people understand their contribution in the wider sense of the organisation and helps create urgency around how to be more effective in their role. Seeing all the moving parts and understanding how an individual integrates into that can be a powerful way to initiate change.

So, in summary, an Agile coach can have a significant impact on an organisation regardless of whether they embrace Agile or not. It’s the coaching element that delivers the greatest amount of value to individuals and teams rather than the ‘Agile’ element.

If you are interested in becoming an Agile coach, visit our Advanced Certified Scrum Master course page, our Certified Scrum Professional Scrum Master course page, and our Agile Coaching Academy page.

If you are currently working in a Scrum environment and would like to explore Team coaching, visit our IC Agile Certified Agile Team Coaching course page.

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