A New and Emerging Profession

As a new and emerging profession, Agile Coach has become more popular over the past decade. A search on LinkedIn easily leads to over 100,000 Agile Coaches, a huge number of ScrumMasters and other types of related roles. There are countless recruitment advertisements for Agile Coaches and ScrumMasters around the world, which is great.

We can also see numerous posts from people showing their learning daily towards ScrumMaster and agile coaching. That’s all fantastic.

The Confusion

Zooming into requirements and job descriptions for Agile Coach, we will find big differences and even contradicting differences in terms of competencies and skills required, and expectations on the Agile Coach role.Confusion

To make things even more confusing, Agile-related training has become a super crowded commodity market. Various training and services for Agile Coaches are available, and the contents vary dramatically as well. Some project management oriented training companies started to train agile related topics, Scrum, agile project management, and to even train agile coaches.

On LinkedIn, we see more and more Agile Coaches sharing their achievements about professional coaching, which generates anxiety and confusion for many.

There is confusion globally:

  • Individuals who are genuinely interested in Agile and passionate about the profession of Agile Coaching are confused;
  • Hiring managers for Agile Coaches who want to leverage on agile coaching capability to advance their organizations which are working with agile, Scrum, Kanban to enhance their products and services.

Why The Agile Coaching Series?

I have been mentoring Agile Coaches since 2011, and noticing Agile Coaches are more confused now than ever.

For the very same and more reasons above, over the past few years, I keynoted the topic around Value Driven Agile Coaching Strategy at nine international conferences. I summarized the skills, domain knowledge and expectations on Agile Coaches, and how organizations can benefit from Agile Coaches to advance.

In this series of blogs, I am deepening the conversations beyond the keynote sessions, hoping for clarify for all target readers.

Target Readers

This series can support anybody in an organization where Agile and Agile frameworks are being adopted, and anybody who is curious about Agile. Specifically, the target readers are as follows:

  • People who are interested in growing their Agile Coaching competency;
  • Leaders who want to leverage on agile coaching capabilities to advance;
  • Recruiters who support organization recruitments;
  • Professional coaches who want to move into the Agile space;

About the Author

Before we go further, in case you just come across my blogs and wonder “who is she?”, “what qualifications does she have to talk about the topic that confuses many global?”

  • I am a Certified Agile Coach (CAC) with the Scrum Alliance, the only member-driven nonprofit certifying body in the agile space since 2001. I am a Certified Team Coach, and Certified Enterprise Coach with the Scrum Alliance for over a decade.
  • I have been mentoring Agile Coaches since 2011, and have the privilege mentoring passionate practitioners from 78 countries globally.
  • Some of my mentees are Certified Agile Coaches, some are Certified Scrum Trainer (CST), some are Accredited Kanban Trainers, and some are speaking at conferences globally sharing their experience;
  • I am a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) with the International Coaching Federation (ICF), and a trained professional coach supervisor. I provide coaching supervision for professional coaches.
  • I am the co-founder of Enterprise Coaching Institute, an ICF accredited training providers, providing coaching based leadership training to grow leaders to excel with professional coaching skills, and to grow professional coaches.
  • I speak and keynote at international conferences since 2011 about organization transformation, Agile, leadership, agile coaching, and professional coaching.

One Alignment

Now we are almost ready to zoom into the discussions. Here is one last piece of further clarification – the difference between ScrumMaster and Agile Coach. The global norm about ScrumMaster and Agile Coach is as follows (with certain but minor exceptions)

  • A ScrumMaster in general has their dedicated ScrumTeam(s) to support. So ScrumMaster is more like a team coach.
  • An Agile Coach works more at multiple team levels, and at organization levels.
  • Some Agile Coaches with organization level focuses may also name themselves Enterprise Agile Coaches, as they work with multiple departments, including supporting functions for organisation level improvements;
  • Quite rarely, we may see Agile Coaches with dedicated agile team focus.
  • No matter a person holds ScrumMaster or Agile Coach role, there are expectations on them to work at organization level, with the difference in their primary focuses;
  • In this article, for simplicity, when Agile Coach is mentioned, it includes ScrumMaster, Agile Coach and Enterprise Agile Coach, as all the topics discussed are applicable to all with different focuses depending on the role and expectation from the organization.

 

Welcome again to this series! And now let’s get started.

In case you missed earlier series, here is an inventory so far:

The Agile Coaching Series – Introduction

The Agile Coaching Series – 1: Skiing and Agile Coaching

The Agile Coaching Series – 2: The Balancing Board Analogy

The Agile Coaching Series – 3: Facilitation

The Agile Coaching Series – 4: Facilitation – We, You and One

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