Secure your first job as an Agile Coach. Learn how to coach agile teams and the skills you need to work in Agile Coaching.
In today's fast-paced business world, organisations are constantly seeking ways to become more adaptable and innovative, and many are turning to agile ways of working to achieve these goals. Becoming more agile involves teams regularly reviewing and adjusting their processes based on stakeholder feedback. This can be challenging to implement for those organisations that are used to a more traditional approach to project management. The role of an Agile Coach is to help organisations, teams and individuals embrace agile values and mindsets. This enables better outcomes, solutions, and products/services for customers because it enables teams to come together more harmoniously, to be more transparent in the way they work and to be able to collaborate more effectively.
What does the role of an Agile Coach involve?
An Agile Coach acts as a mentor and facilitator, working to encourage greater productivity and efficiency by empowering people through the promotion of continuous learning and development. An Agile Coach unlocks the benefits of agile and lean practices across departments, and focuses on helping people improve their communication, build on their skills and use the right techniques to work smarter in their roles. They can even work with senior leaders to help promote and embed company culture throughout the organisation.
Why work as an Agile Coach?
BCS spoke to Natasha Ah-Fat, Delivery Lead and Agile Coach at John Lewis about why she enjoys agile coaching. Natasha explained that she loves connecting with people, encouraging them to develop a growth mindset and never to stop learning and pushing themselves to be the best they can be. She relishes the chance to learn, and then to impart her knowledge on to others to help and support them on their career journey. Natasha believes that connecting and networking with people, striving for self-improvement, and being passionate about what you are doing, are all absolutely fundamental factors in achieving success in the modern workplace. Talking about tech roles in particular, Natasha is a great believer in technology as an enabler, and is constantly looking to see how innovations such as AI and VR can have positive applications to improve business outcomes.
Skills you need as an Agile Coach
To become an Agile Coach, a deep understanding of Agile principles and practices is essential, as well as excellent communication skills and experience in working with Agile teams. An Agile Coach should be able to adapt to changing situations and use their expertise to help teams overcome challenges. Natasha outlined the following 6 skill areas:
- Understanding agile methodologies
As an agile coach, you will be expected to have a strong understanding of various agile methodologies such as Scrum and Lean, among others. This knowledge is essential for helping organisations transition to Agile ways of working
- Coaching and facilitation
The ability to facilitate team meetings, encourage collaboration, and create a supportive environment will allow for experimentation and continuous improvement in teams across the business
As an agile coach, you must have excellent communication skills to articulate the agile principles and practices to the team members as well as further stakeholders, and the leadership team
- Emotional Intelligence
In addition to technical expertise, the role of an Agile Coach requires emotional intelligence. Agile coaches must be empathetic, self-aware, and able to establish trusted bonds with teams
- A growth mindset
An agile coach should have a passion for continuous learning and personal growth, and should relish in the task of empowering others, helping them to become the best versions of themselves while excelling in their roles.
Agile Coach Certifications
To help people get into a career as an Agile Coach, BCS has developed the Agile certification portfolio. This is a comprehensive programme which has been designed to provide a complete Agile learning pathway. It sets an industry benchmark that supports Agile transformation to deliver immediate value.
Be part of something bigger, join BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.
Follow the link to discover our range of BCS Agile certificates, covering Agile working, Agile transformation, Scrum and Agile methodologies, as well as project management and more.
Agile Coach versus Scrum Master – How do the roles differ?
Agile and Scrum are often confused, as they both rely on an iterative process, frequent client interaction, and collaborative decision making. Agile is widely considered to be a philosophy, whereas Scrum is a type of methodology. Scrum is typically broken down into smaller deliverables, while, with the Agile approach, everything is delivered at the end of the project.
Perhaps most importantly, the key distinction between an Agile Coach and a Scrum Master is that a Scrum Master coaches a team, whereas an Agile Coach coaches the entire enterprise. This is because Agile involves members from various business-wide cross-functional teams.
Tips to help you become an Agile Coach
Natasha provided the following advice for people wishing to consider a career in Agile coaching:
- Be curious and experiment: Don’t worry about making mistakes
- Develop your soft skills with a focus on empathy and really understanding people
- Storytelling: Be really good about creating a narrative. This helps you connect your experiences which can be a key part in being able to help others
- Consider getting a mentor: A mentor can help you stay on track, remain focused and continuously develop your key skills
Not yet a member of BCS?
To take full advantage of our courses you need to be a member of BCS. If you’ve not yet signed up, perhaps these six reasons will persuade you:
- For 60 years, BCS has been shaping the future of our industry.
- BCS has 1500+ mentors and mentees who regularly share their knowledge and experience.
- 250,000 BCS professional certifications have been awarded across the industry.
- With 1000+ annual events and 150+ specialist interest groups, there’s plenty of opportunities to get involved with the community.
- Keep up to date with industry developments through the member magazine, ITNOW, and our industry reports.
- Membership fees start from just £20 per year for students and apprentices.