What is an agile coach? A valuable role for organizational change
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What Is an Agile Coach? a Valuable Role for Organizational Change

What Certified Agile Coach Means?

We have come across many articles and job postings for the Agile Coaches in the past and it seems everyone is looking for a “Certified” Agile Coach. It’s important to understand what “Certified” Agile Coach means? Since there are many certification bodies that claim one way or another to provide the same so I am trying to highlight what basically it means when someone claims to provide Certified Agile Coach Certification Training.

The agile coach is made up of two words, agile and coach so basically organization is asking for someone having in-depth knowledge about lean-agile practices but also know how to teach, coach and mentor teams and individuals.
It is like any sports coach where coaches are not just experts but know how to coach. Someone can be a good footballer but may not be a good coach as coaching requires little more than just playing football.

Similarly, we are talking about Agile Coach so if you are

    • Is a person who serves the Agile teams as a catalyst to bring the best out of them by enabling agile thinking and practices.
    • Agile Coach fosters the culture of agility by teaching, facilitating, mentoring and coaching the teams. Agile Coaching in itself a very vast knowledge area.
    • Agile Coach is a Change agent, who facilitates the change in the Organization by focusing at all the levels and enabling them to deal with their challenges.

At the Agile Coaching step, the coach has an expert-level understanding of current lean-agile practices; is significantly skilled in team facilitation; and has developed some professional coaching and mentoring skills. Coaches with these skills are likely operating at a scope of several teams or a program, starting new teams, mentoring others, or spending significant time working with managers and engaging with impediments outside the direct control of teams.

A good Certified Agile Coach program equips the person or a learner with coaching knowledge and the tools & techniques that a person can use during their coaching assignments with their clients.

Why Do You Need an Agile Coach?

Every person in his/her life unknowingly plays some stances of a coach (teaching, facilitation, mentoring and coaching), sometimes they are effective and creates an impact, sometimes they don’t, because of the lack of knowledge on how to play that stance. Certification programs help bring this knowledge of the concept, tools and techniques for them to play those stances effectively in order to create an impact with agile teams. It’s always the case that one should have complete knowledge of the area they are playing in. The market is realizing the value and the need of the coaching skills hence there is a growing demand for the Agile Coaches for them to act as a catalyst, bring the agile awareness about their values and principles, developing skills and bringing a sense of ownership.

What Benefits Agile Coaching Brings

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The certification focuses primarily on the mindset, roles, and responsibilities of an Agile Coach. After finishing the certification, the learner will be able to differentiate between and among mentoring, facilitating, professional coaching and teaching, and will also gain the skills needed to create a safe environment for meaningful collaboration and healthy conflict resolution within an agile team.

This certification introduces participants to foundational team coaching skills and team development concepts for starting and growing teams while focusing on teams and organizations as human systems. A key part of this certification focuses on developing an understanding of the professional coaching skillset and the value of honing these skills to serve individuals on an agile team.

Agile Coach is a Change agent, who facilitates the change in the Organization by focusing at all the levels and enabling them to deal with their challenges.

Who Issues the Certificate?

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There are institutes inculcating the coaching not only in the field of executives and sports but also in Agile. With the Agile adoption in almost every field nowadays these institutes have come up with various programs that enable people in their Agile Coaching journey.

The few of the popularly known institutes in this of professional coaching:

1. International Coaching Federation (ICF): It is a generic coaching certification body which doesn’t provide anything related to agile but still the most valuable coaching body.

2. Scrum Alliance: This is purely based on experience plus ICF and Co-Active is recommended path Co-Active Coaching Institute – This is similar to ICF
ORSC – ORS is an integrated and robust coaching model based on RSI (Relationship Systems Intelligence).

3. ICAgile: Agile Coaching Track and Enterprise Coaching track: International Consortium of Agile (ICAgile) worldwide recognition for their training tracks related to Agile is the only institute that provides the Agile Coaching certificate through their ICP-ACC (ICAgile Certified Professional –Agile Certified Coach) program. ICAgile also provides a variety of certifications that is becoming increasingly popular in Agile Space.

The ICP-ACC is one of two knowledge-based certifications on the Agile Coaching track. The certification focuses primarily on the mindset, roles, and responsibilities of an Agile Coach. After finishing the certification, the learner will be able to differentiate between and among mentoring, facilitating, professional coaching and teaching, and will also gain the skills needed to create a safe environment for meaningful collaboration and healthy conflict resolution within an agile team.

What we cover under ICAgile – Agile Coach Program

  • The Agile Coaching Mindset– This will help understand that who is an Agile Coach and Coaching, achieving essential mindset shift, self-awareness and management as a coach and the coaching stances
  • Foundational Professional Coaching Skills –This will bring an understanding of emotional intelligence, listening, powerful questioning and feedback system
  • Coaching Conversations –This is will help practice the coaching conversation to identify the issue, exploration and action commitment
  • Key mentoring skills –This covers the concepts like advice while Maintaining Presence, articulate Expertise and mentee at Free Choice
  • Mentoring Agile Role Transitions
  • This will help understand the contrast between Mentoring with Coaching, understanding the Individual Change Cycle, key Agile Role Transitions, handling Resistance from Individuals
  • Key Teaching Skills –This will cover the multiple Content Delivery Mechanisms and environment for Stickiness and also cover the agile mindset shifts and Frameworks
  • Foundational Team Coaching –This will help understand the systems View, observation and how to articulate what’s happening
  • Describing Team Development –This will help understand the model of team development and using it in service of a team’s development, helping a team detect their own stage of development
  • Coaching the Journey Toward High Performance – This will cover defining and identifying high performance, team development is a journey, not a destination which means it’s all about continuous improvement, assessing the team health and adapt your style based on team maturity
  • Handling Conflict and Dysfunction within the Team –This will help understand the surfacing and working with conflict, building Self-Awareness/Self-Management capacity in the team and creating awareness that we are dealing with human systems
  • Handling Organizational Impediments –This covers how to identify and capture impediments and how to engage the leadership
  • Coaching Alliances and Contracts – This covers how to define the agile coaching “Contract” and designing a coaching alliance

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Author's Bio

A Professional Scrum trainer (PST) from Scrum.org, SAFe® Program Consultant (SPC 4.5) and experienced Spotify consultant with over 14 years of rich experience in building people, Sumeet’s mission drives him to build people and help them learn who they are and how they want to show up in the Agile world.

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