40 Signs that you are evolving as an Agile Coach

Photo by Joshua Woroniecki

In 2007 I started my career as a member of an agile team, in the beautiful role of a software developer for a company in the United States that augmented software using Scrum. Then I had the opportunity to help many Teams as Agile & Delivery Coach, in different countries and cultures and in different frameworks such as Scrum, XP, or their Ways of Working from 2010 to today. I have had the opportunity to accompany many teams in many countries, and I have also been lucky enough to have worked with many Agile Coaches since then, and I have learned from them. I can confirm that, regardless of your experience, there are questions that are on the mind of every Agile Coach:

Am I doing it right?

Answering whether we are doing it right or wrong is complex, and even more so if your organization still does not understand Agile and continues to use maturity radars to measure everything or worse, they have an Agile Manager in charge of the measurements in a spreadsheet. Far from any radar or framework, I want to give you in this post 40 signs that you are on the right way as an Agile Coach (I have compiled these signs from 2010 to today):

  • You are no longer afraid to ask difficult questions.
  • You are prepared to feel uncomfortable.
  • Facing uncertainty and ambiguity is no longer a source of anxiety for you.
  • You stop holding pompous meetings where you are the protagonist.
  • When a team member comes to you and says, “I’m stuck,” you allow them to discover their solutions.
  • You have found your purpose in agile coaching, not that of your boss, client, or company.
  • You teach practical skills that help others get out of jams. Teaching others to get unstuck is more important than getting them unstuck yourself.
  • You can change your team, organization, client, company, or change your role, but never change your purpose as an Agile Coach.
  • You are a great facilitator.
  • Your teams are committed to continuous improvement.
  • You are emotionally intelligent and recognize that you do not know everything.
  • You understand your role.
  • You are a butler, helpful leader at all times, and not afraid to be humble.
  • You don’t need to be brighter than others, just wiser.
  • You ask the questions that will help things move forward.
  • You focus on team goals, not your ego.
  • You strive to create more value than ever for your team or organization (you’re always trying to climb the fence).
  • You lead by example.
  • Your team has started to trust you and follow you instead of wondering if they can trust you.
  • You no longer play the role of savior hero.
  • Your team is enthusiastic about their work and has shared responsibility for it.
  • Your team is more productive than before.
  • Your team has better ways to deal with the impediments that arise as they increase.
  • Team members can be more flexible in the face of unforeseen changes.
  • Everyone in the organization looks for communication bridges because fewer silos until reaching a point where there are no longer any are the way.
  • Team members can see changes as opportunities rather than threats.
  • You stopped believing in recipes/frameworks and even more in scalable ones because you finally understood that Ways of Working is the way for everything.
  • Fewer meetings, but more focused ones.
  • Your teams’ interactions become more accessible than ever.
  • You have recognized that “Agile” is a path and not a goal.
  • You stop calling it Change Management to understand that change is not managed; it is accompanied.
  • You are good at clean language.
  • You appreciate and acknowledge what has been achieved instead of just focusing on what could be better.
  • When your team members come to you with a problem, you try to put yourself in their place before commenting on their problem or situation; this is accompanying without Judgments of Solution.
  • You are not afraid to admit mistakes.
  • You understand that Agile Coaches help teams get better at being and doing Agile, not making them perfect at Agile.
  • You know that when someone comes to you with a problem, they only share their perception of reality.
  • You know how to create a psychologically safe, neutral, and inclusive environment.
  • You love to serve at all times and places, this includes your personal and work life.
  • You are no longer interested in the title they put on your role. You stopped looking to move up to Enterprise Agile Coach, Head of Agile, Agile Lead, Sub-Agile Manager, or Agile Manager because you know that would negatively impact your career and an apparent contradiction in your life as an agile team player.

Never forget why you became an Agile Coach in the first place:

To help people, teams, and organizations “be” and “do” agile in the best possible way.

The role of the Agile Coach requires ethics. Being part of a team as an Agile Coach is one of the greatest honors and privileges that a human being can have, who works with other human beings, in teams made up of human beings, and in organizations that are more human than ever.

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