Journey to Become Agile Coach

Recently I was discussing with one SM and he asked what is the journey to become an Agile Coach. I heard this question before also many times. Usually, for a Scrum Master, this looks like a natural aspiration. But what is the difference between both roles? Sometimes looks similar only. I think the difference is in the scope of engagement. Scrum Master works with a few teams and mostly deals with Scrum coaching mentoring to the team, so basically, he/she is the team coach. But Agile coach have some more flavors added to his role. He would be working on various other frameworks also like Kanban, XP, etc.

Agile Coach

Photo by Vlad Bagacian on Unsplash

There are a lot of similarities and few differences in both the roles but in this post, I would not go into that. Here the focus is how to move from the Scrum Master role to the Agile Coach role. I would share my understanding and a few experiences around the journey to become Agile Coach.

|| Assess yourself and start where you are

I am assuming here that you are already a seasoned Scrum Master and you are looking for progression to the Agile Coach role. So you are already in a good place to start with.

A Scrum Master already involved in team coaching activities, now assess what other skills you need to move to the Agile Coach role. As an Agile Coach, would be coaching, teaching, mentoring, and training. Now see what you are missing here, maybe start focusing on that part.

For Example, you would be doing good in teaching, mentoring, and training but you would not have explored the coaching part much. Maybe you can explore what competencies are required for coaching like active listening, powerful questioning etc.

|| Lookout for opportunities

Learning does not happen in silos. You may be having Agile Coaches in your organization. You may or may not be working with them directly but try to connect with them through internal forums or some other platforms. Try to associate with them in some other way to learn from them what they are already doing as Agile Coaches. May be partnering with them through some webinar, presentation, or some other initiative. The idea is to network with like-minded people and learn from them. Expand your learning horizon.

|| Certifications or Credentials

This is a very important part and most of them get biased or inclined to some certification by seeing what somebody else doing in your circle. But the bigger question is are these certifications useful to move towards becoming Agile Coach? As per my experience, there are two parts of certifications. One is learning other is having credentials added to your profile.

Certifications are good for learning but if you are not going to use that learning shortly, then I would not suggest going for certification, it would be a waste of money and time. Better to go for certification when you are planning to use that skill. There are a lot of free learning sources that one can take.

The other part is credentialing. I have seen that certifications are widely used as a filter to get the right profile with assessment and interview, though nobody would ask in interviews about your certifications. Another problem with certifications is that they come with an expiry. Once expired it is just a money-making process for the certification body. There would not be any learning for you. So, think before you plan to go for any certification. As I mentioned earlier, learning is free only these certifications would have a cost attached.

So the journey to become an Agile Coach is a long one. Like every other journey, it starts with small steps. So try to do one thing at a time and have a long term view in mind. Don’t get deviated by small obstacles. It may take time to achieve the goal of becoming an Agile Coach but persistence will take you there, sooner or later.

I hope this information would help you in your journey. Thanks