Thoughts About Agile Coaching and the Disappearance of Agile Principles

I started my work as a Scrum Master at idealo in 2014. Nowadays I call myself Agile Coach. It is not only the name of the role that changed. I got a completely different job by now. But which one?

Recently I stopped facilitating most team ceremonies as well as training agility in teams – at the base of the company. Instead I am now working with a #tandem-partner, a very experienced systemic coach and trainer. Together we are coaching colleagues who are in some kind of organizational leadership roles. Most of the time this means helping them to change perspectives. With our guidance the coachees reveal new options for action. Topics often are related to better communication, clearness of roles, responsibilities and goals, and dealing with conflict. And with that change agile values and principles seem to have vanished from my daily communication. Although all of these topics are connected to agile values and principles, the relation is not discussed explicitly. Time to ask myself whether this is acceptable or not!

Of course agile values and principles are anchored deeply in myself. They surely influence my work and therefore have impact on the colleagues I am working with. But is there a chance that they become part of other people’s mindset that way? Would they be valuable to the coachees? (Lately we can see more and more discussions in the community addressing the need for a re-newed agile manifesto applicable in contexts other than software development teams.) Am I acting as an Agile Coach or rather a personal coach with agile background?

What does an Agile Coach do anyways? Maybe this is the main question here. As far as I know each organization is having it’s own definition for the role. People having completely different jobs start calling themselves Agile Coaches. At the Agile Piano Meetup @JeffSutherland agitated for having more and stronger Scrum Masters instead because everyone calls herself „Agile Coache“ nowadays (without any qualification or clearness of what it means).

It is time for clarification. A first step seems to be made. In 2018 first professional trainings for Agile Coaches became visible in Germany.

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