Agile Coaching 101 – Developing Competencies

Agile has been around for a couple of years already. During recent years it has become more and more a “thing to have” in most companies. With the promises of delivering faster and costing “LESS”, or being “SAFe”, a lot of companies have been doing that “agile stuff”.

The biggest problem is that a lot of employees have no idea what agile even is. Really, ask around your company. You will be surprised.

That moment when…

A couple of years ago I was asked to do an agile workshop for my company. They were setting up a knowledge fair and one of the subjects they wanted to touch upon was Agile.

I love doing workshops. There is something about sharing knowledge with other people that drives me. It could be that it is in the blood, two of my grandparents were school teachers. But anyway, I digress. Back to the story.

As most workshops go, I was given around 1 hour. This was “enough” to do a quick introduction to what agile is and also do some practical exercises.

So there I go. I prepared the presentation. Prepared some exercises and fun games. And start trying to “recruit” people to the workshop. This was the moment where I realized how much people didn’t know about what agile is.

I went to talk with a colleague of mine and asked him if he wanted to join. My mouth was open after his reply.

“Why would I want to learn about agile? I already know how to use Jira. There is no point in having a 1-hour workshop to learn about a tool I already know.”


Coach is in the name. This means our main role is to develop competence.

To avoid situations like the one I described above from happening, it is extremely important that we continuously coach our teams. A simple on-boarding process explaining what agility is and some of the frameworks we use would have been enough to change the idea my colleague had.

But the work doesn’t stop here. Developing competencies is not just doing agile onboarding or giving agile workshops. Other competencies will be needed for our team to reach true agility. Just to name a few:

  • Continuous Integration,
  • Continuous Deployment,
  • Automated Testing,
  • Software versioning,
  • etc

Does an agile coach need to know about all of these? No, but he/she needs to be able to help the teams get that training. To facilitate. To help the team reach agility.

What are the biggest challenges when developing competences in other that you have experienced?
Any tips and tricks that you learned over the years?

Let me know over the interwebs.



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