Companies are renewing themselves by getting rid of their old cumbersome structures in order to keep up with the new rapidly changing digital world. Organizational structures are reconsidered to keep up with the speed and flexibility (agility) of Start-ups, and new roles emerge with new structures. One of these important roles is the role of Agile Coach. We asked our ACM Agile Coaches, who have been experiencing this role for many years, to tell us about this role which increases in number in our country as well as in the world.
Agile Coach is an agent of change that leads the way in a wide range of areas from transformation of daily practices to cultural transformation in the light of Agile manifesto and values in order to enable organizations to adapt to the changing world quickly. It helps organizations take steps forward by objectively revealing what they cannot see and say in the turmoil of their daily hassle.
Agile Coach is a person who is experienced in agile transformation, who internalizes and adapts agile culture within himself and allows these experiences to be experienced in other environments by sharing them, who is open-minded, always learns, listens, makes his point when appropriate and guides. The aim of an Agile Coach is to mediate the organization to find the most effective solution that meets its needs. Agile Coach teaches new techniques and tools so that the organization can create its own unique practices.
Professional Agile Coaches guide the agile transformation journey of leaders and teams. They can begin the Agile Coach Journey from different points of their career. It can start by supporting their colleagues and environment, encouraging change, making improvements, experiencing a Scrum Master and similar roles, from a management position or positive psychology. However, professional Agile Coaches have undergone a transformation in their career, adopted and lived the agile values and principles before starting to coach organizations. Professional Agile Coaches have the characteristics based on humility, trust, integrity awareness, openness, transparency, respect for all, authentic, creative, common sense and simplicity. Their aim is to raise awareness on organizational and personal transformation as well as agility, to teach agile techniques and metrics that support the adoption of new attitudes and approaches, to make practices, to provide new perspectives, to ensure creativity in their work to achieve quality, innovation and agile tempo in achieving their goals as well as to encourage continuous learning and adaptation. While Agile Coaches do that, they act depending on the needs in different roles like consultants, mentors, facilitators, trainers, coaches or partners. It is a courageous and flexible coach type with high communication skills. If they want, they can continuously support and strengthen their coaching skills through sociology, psychology, neuroscience, neuroplasticity, communication and conflict management and similar fields.
Agility is not the final destination for individuals, teams, and organizations; being agile requires internalizing continuous improvement. The key to continuous improvement is to acknowledge that the status quo is not enough in every respect. Unfortunately, it is very difficult for individuals, teams and organizations to accept that the status quo is not enough. That’s exactly why change looks scary; because change indicates that the status quo is not enough. Agile Coaches remind individuals, teams, and organizations that “there is not only one best way” to run the business and help them accept that the status quo is not enough. While Agile Coaches apply the driving force to get you out of your comfort zone, they trigger continuous improvement by taking the necessary actions to prevent you from entering panic zone.
Agile Coach is a role that provides important support to organizations, teams, and individuals in learning and practicing “Agile working approaches and methods”, ensuring that the right result is found in the face of difficulties, and even preventing the return to old habits when challenged with difficulties. Working with the philosophy of “Continuous Improvement”, Agile organizations can quickly find areas of improvement and take actions. However, once the “fruits of these low branches” are collected, organizations may have difficulty or unwillingness to find areas of improvement. In this case, one of the biggest supports in finding the strength that will make “continuous improvement” permanent comes from Agile Coaches. One of the most important values created by an Agile Coach is to ensure that a continuously improving organization can take its first steps.
The change and transformation that is expected to follow will be painful even if it is known that the outcome will be positive because it requires the individuals in the process to break their habits and carry out their business processes with a new perspective. Naturally, the possible resistance of individuals affects the dynamics of teams and may complicate the process. Therefore, Agile Coach supports the cultural transformation of the organization in the Agile transformation process and reduces the potential hardships that come with change.
In an organization, Agile Coach moves forward with the motto of spreading its own perspective to the whole organization and thus making its role unnecessary. He carries the knowledge and experience gained in previous organizations which enables him to enter each new organization with more tools. Instead of applying the correct answers memorized with the organization, he tries to implement the experiment culture and learns together with the organization. He unveils the obstacles he sees, makes them transparent, and triggers change within the organization to solve the inured problems.