Project Management

What an Agile Coach Is…and Isn’t

Nandkishore is an experienced professional in Program Management and End-to-End Product Life Cycle Management, a Certified Agile Coach, a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, Certified SAFe Agilist and a PMP, and a practicing 'Agile Enthusiast.'

An agile coach provides training and solutions to people in an organization to implement or improve agile practices, right? Wrong.

Well, not entirely wrong—but the true essence of agile coaching is to provide constructive guidance to an individual, team or organization so that they are empowered to solve their own problems without being influenced by the coach’s preferences.

Before getting more into what agile coaching is, let’s understand what it is not. Agile coaching is not consulting, mentoring or training:

  • When you consult, you provide a solution to a problem statement.
  • When you mentor, you guide your mentees to success by “holding their hands.”
  • When you train, you teach about a topic because you are a subject matter expert.

In these three interaction types, you are the solution generator.

But this is not the case when you coach someone. When you coach, you enable the other person to break down their problems to a level that enables them to find the root causes—and hopefully the solutions as well. A coach believes that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to a problem, and that the coachee (yes, it’s an actual word!) needs to come up with a solution that best fits them.

We are all familiar with consulting, mentoring and training in a classroom or at our workplace, but what is an agile coaching …


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"The good die young, because they see it's no use living if you have got to be good."

- John Barrymore