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What would be a great apprenticeship for an Agile coach?

Working in an Agile environment, with a team, to actively create and produce products or services that truly delight customers.

There is no substitute for actual experience in the role, actively working and collaborating with others to deliver value to customers.

Many people read books, and whilst books are great, they are simply a point of departure. It’s the time and effort invested in actually being an Agile practitioner that makes all the difference.

In times of stress and pressure, we always revert back to the behaviours that have supported us in the past. If you don’t have actual experience working in an Agile environment, you are not going to be leaning on best practice or behaviours that support your team.

You’re going to be guessing instead.

So, first step in your apprenticeship is to earn your Agile stripes.

Work with a Scrum team to understand what processes and methodologies best work for the team. Learn how to interrogate behaviours and practices with the objective of discovering what works best and what empowers the team to evolve.

As you build your Agile practitioner chops, you’re going to need to work on your coaching skills.

As a Scrum Master, you’re going to be actively practicing coaching whenever you’re not directly involved in Scrum.

You’re going to be engaging with product owners, product stakeholders and members of the organisation that can help you remove impediments to the team’s progress.

You’re going to be actively involved in helping them understand the purpose of what you are attempting to achieve and empowering them to help you in achieving the sprint goals and objectives of your team.

That requires coaching. That requires finesse.

You want to blend your on-the-job learning and experience with formal training and certification to fill in the skills gaps.

As a Scrum Master, you want to progress to an Advanced Certified Scrum Master to grow your Scrum Master skillset as well as learn how to develop your coaching capabilities too.

After about a year as an advanced Scrum Master, you have the option to enroll on the Certified Scrum Professional Scrum Master course and further develop your understanding of Scrum and how to get the most out of Scrum for your team.

You’re straddling the lines of Scrum Master and Agile coach at this stage, and you will find that your deeper understanding of Scrum, working with teams, and being a protagonist in a Scrum environment is really going to set you apart as an expert practitioner in the environment.

As you progress, mentoring becomes even more important.

In order to mentor others, you need to experience the benefits of mentoring yourself.

Agile Centre have an Agile Coaching Academy that is designed to support Scrum Masters and Product Owners in their progression from Agile practitioner to Agile Coach.

It’s a blend of coaching and mentoring designed to help you identify the gaps in your skillset and develop best practice, in alignment with professional coaching, to become the most effective Agile coach that you can be.

IC Agile have also created a Certified Agile Team Coaching course that will help you develop your coaching skills in an Agile application.

The more you do. The more you invest your time and effort in developing your skills, the better you are going to become. It takes years of practice and investment to become great at any job and Agile coaching is no different.

The blend of coaching, mentoring, learning, and certification is going to make sure that your trajectory is solid, and you progressively build your skills in alignment with industry acknowledged best practice.

As you progress, you’re also going to find that you’ll be working with multiple teams rather than a single scrum team. You will also start to take new Scrum Masters under your wing and coach them toward becoming a better Scrum Master and Agile practitioner.

There are heaps of opportunities in this field to develop your coaching and mentoring skills and you will find that as you invest more time and effort in mentoring and coaching, a greater number of people will gravitate toward you for help and assistance.

In my opinion, you want to have at least 3 years of experience working as an Agile practitioner before you can become an Agile coach.

You’ll be developing our coaching skills through training, certification, and mentoring along that 3-year journey and once you are a full-time Agile coach, you’re going to be investing in your personal development as a coach in addition to working with teams to practice Scrum more effectively.

The Scrum Alliance have developed 2 great paths, namely: Certified Team Coach (CTC) and Certified Enterprise Agile Coach (CEC) to help you demonstrate your industry acknowledged coaching chops.

If you prefer working with leadership teams, your professional coaching capabilities can be extended by focusing on executive leadership coaching skills.

In addition to becoming more proficient as an Agile practitioner, you are also going to be learning how the business works.

What are the impediments to progress, what considerations are vital for leadership teams, and how to facilitate great performances despite volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous environments?

The business part of your training is vital to your success as a coach and can only be learned through doing and experience in the environment so make sure you give yourself enough time to progress.

It takes time to become great at anything and you’re going to have a steep learning curve which should keep you engaged and motivated.

The minute you’re in the phase where you are helping others move through their apprenticeship, you’ll find yourself in the domain of mastery.

The moment you are helping propagate someone else’s journey to mastery, all of your experience and skills are brought to bear in helping grow the next generation of Scrum Masters and Agile coaches, and you’ll find yourself deepening your knowledge and capabilities.

Shifting into the space of helping develop Agile coaches is going to kickstart your journey as a Master of Agile and Coaching and provide you with new opportunities to improve your skills and capabilities as a coach and mentor.

It’s a cycle that enables you to improve with each iteration and engagement and relive your own transition through apprenticeship, journeyman, and mastery.

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

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