How to Become an Agile Coach?

The Agile methodology has grown in popularity over the last decade. Over the last few years, more and more organizations have seen noticeable growth in their profits after adopting Agile. A study conducted recently stated that more than 60% of organizations agreed that they had seen a growth in their profits after adopting the Agile approach in their company’s operations and projects.

Moreover, even Forbes interviewed the top 500 executives around the world in 2017, and 92% of them said that overall agility within an organization is considered to be fundamental to the success of any enterprise today. Agile is a methodology and a way of thinking. Once companies have the Agile mindset ingrained in their employees, they can operate at maximum agility and achieve results. 

To do so, organizations often employ Agile coaches to help their teams develop the Agile mindset and become more Agile overall, or they train project managers internally to develop the skills to become Agile coaches. However, the processes will be implemented imperfectly without an Agile mindset, and imperfect adoption can cause more harm than good. This article discusses what exactly an Agile coach is and how working professionals can work towards becoming one.

Who is an Agile Coach?

Agile coaches are certified working professionals who work with organizations to help train their teams in the Agile methodology. They are highly skilled individuals with expertise and knowledge used to provide guidance to teams in a company and help them implement Agile processes successfully.

They are in charge of helping companies adopt Agile by giving them the knowledge and insights and the necessary tools and training they need to become Agile. An Agile coach will need a deep understanding of the current positioning of the organization he is working with to develop strategies and processes to assist in Agile adoption. 

Agile coaches help companies grow and improve with Agile. They create models that work best for companies that will help them with their adoption process. This includes helping teams develop an Agile mindset and strategies so that they can eventually result in better products and faster delivery times.

Steps to Become an Agile Coach

An Agile coach is a job role that many organizations are looking for. Since more and more companies are becoming Agile, they want certified professionals to help them ease into the transition and complete it successfully. In 2020, an Agile coach can earn an average of $161,000 as his annual salary.

There are many certifications involved for working professionals to become Agile coaches. Before they opt for the certification, though, there are a few basics that prospective coaches need to already have experience and knowledge in so that they can become successful coaches.

Some of the necessary steps for working professionals to become qualified and successful Agile coaches are listed below. These are not prerequisites but are highly recommended.

Step 1 – Gain a Full Understanding of the Agile Framework

This may seem like an unnecessary step to many because one cannot become an Agile coach without first understanding Agile. Still, there are many instances where professionals do not have the adequate knowledge they need before starting their certification.

Working professionals aiming to become Agile coaches need to have both knowledge and experience in working with Agile. This means they need to have adopted it in their organizations first, understand how it works inside and out, and then they can opt to become qualified Agile coaches. In addition, the experience will help potential coaches gain a deeper understanding of the nitty gritties of Agile, and they will be better equipped to handle any disturbances that come with the adoption and implementation process.

Step 2 – Work with Teams and Take Complete Leadership Responsibility

Agile coaches often have to work from the ground up, which means they need to be excellent leaders and facilitators of change. If a working professional has had no experience managing a team or multiple teams, getting organizations to implement Agile will prove to be extremely difficult. 

Prior experience in team management and leadership qualities are a must if a professional wants to become a qualified Agile coach. This way, he can work alongside teams and help them overcome any problems they might face while adopting Agile. This is why the role of an Agile coach is so appreciated in all industries. An Agile coach is more than just a teacher or a facilitator. He is a leader, a manager, and a team member who helps entire companies while they go through a structural and cultural shift.

Step 3 – Learn How to Work Alongside Leaders and Manage the Cultural Shift

One of the biggest issues that organizations face that lead to failure is the rigidity of senior executives in the company. They have been a part of the workforce for a much longer time and are often set in their ways. This can lead to friction and can slow down the adoption process. Changing their entire work culture and mindset might probably be the biggest hindrance an Agile coach might face.

Getting all the processes and strategies to adopt Agile is fairly simple. Working and training teams in the Agile mindset is also manageable. Still, if the leadership at an organization does not give their teams the ownership they need, it can create bottlenecks and lead to failure in adoption. An aspiring Agile coach needs to be fully aware of this and have methods and practices in place to manage senior management.

Certifications to Take up for an Agile Coach

There are many certifications available to help working professionals become Agile coaches. The first step is to start with finishing a certification and becoming a certified Scrum Master, with the help of Scrum Master Certification in Dallas. After which, certified Scrum Masters take up the certification to become Agile Certified Practitioner, where they will learn about other Agile practices such as Lean, Kanban, and more. Once these certifications have been obtained, Agile Practitioners will become qualified to pursue their certifications in becoming an Agile Coach. This also has three main levels of expertise.

Final Thoughts

An Agile coach is a necessary addition to many large-scale enterprises. Since more and more organizations are adopting Agile practices into their workflow, they need the guidance and expertise that Agile coaches provide to make their company’s transition smoother. In addition, certifications in Agile can help individuals aspiring to become Agile coaches or even organizations looking to train their employees internally to become Agile coaches.

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