Project Management Careers Q&A – Becoming a Business Agile Coach

I have been in practice with Agile, particularly Scrum, Kanban and XP, and I am looking to become an Agile Coach. I am currently certified as a CSM and CSPO. While I have a great understanding of guiding from a “bottom-up” perspective, I am very interested in coaching from a “top-down” point of view. I would like to build my expertise in how to coach project managers, CEOs, etc, on how to begin practicing Agile principles when going to clients, collaborating with customers to produce contracts for business more aligned with Agile if possible, and so on. Can you help provide guidance regarding how to begin this journey for me? I’d greatly appreciate it. Thanks again!

There are few practical steps to consider, the first would be the pursue the next certification, the Certified Enterprise Coach, especially if it is a “top-down” coaching role you are pursuing. Equally the certifications offered by the Agile Coaching Institute should also be considered – there are two there to check out – Agile Coach and Enterprise Agile Coach. Working in a coaching role like this needs four different key skill areas – teaching, mentoring, facilitation and professional coaching – and ideally a diversity of different types of organisations where these have been demonstrated.

Being an Agile Coach in a “top-down” role requires more than just the technical understanding of Agile – it also requires expertise around organisation design, change management and cultural change. One debate now around the role of Agile Coach is the requirement that they should also be certified coaches – from organisations like the International Coach Federation – adding more kudos and credibility to the offering and standing out from competitors.

Once further development has been undertaken, the next step is about gaining that all important practical experience. It’s a difficult step to take when it is a new venture so you should be looking to your own network first to help you get that all important first opportunity, after all, they should know you well and what you can deliver. Essentially you are getting into the realms of business development and lead generation too (further skill and knowledge areas to consider?) so you need to think about what offers you can make to try to hook that first piece of business.


This Q&A originally featured in PMI’s PM Network magazine – June 2017 edition.

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