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What does an Agile Coach do?

What does an Agile Coach do?

What an Agile Coach does

What is an agile coach?

An agile coach is a person who, in order to help organizations and teams work better, combines coaching with mentorship. The coach leads the organization towards the specific goal, but without having a permanent place in the organization. The agile coach makes it easier for the organization's staff to find solutions themselves and move forward towards the goal by asking questions and removing obstacles. The coach also trains the organization by sharing his experience.

How is an agile coach different from a Scrum Master?

A Scrum Master focuses mainly on making his team work well while an agile coach works with several teams and parties in the organization. It can therefore be said that the difference is that an agile coach has a larger focus area and broader perspective and lifts the entire organization while a Scrum Master lifts a team.

What does a typical day look like for an agile coach?

The days can be very different for an agile coach. For example, it could be organizing and helping people meet through a workshop. Listening, observing and analyzing what is happening in the organization and transforming it into action is an important part of the coach's work. It is often a matter of creating space or courage to act for the people who have knowledge of what should be done and how it should be done.

What may first be perceived as a lack of rational action may in fact be that the person does not have the required knowledge or does not dare to make their own decisions. With the help of various exercises, an agile coach can then help the person to shape the courage needed. The agile coach may also need to make things happen in other situations by acting as the trigger.

How do you know you are adding value as an agile coach?

To know if you as an agile coach add anything of value to the organization, you should follow up and measure what effects the coaching has had. This way you also see a better result. You can see and measure this by, for example, increasing sales, production going faster, employees being more motivated or the staff feeling better and more often doing "the right things". There may also be increased transparency in the company

How to measure the effect depends on the goals you have set. If you work in a very mobile environment, however, it can be tricky to find cause and effect.

When can an agile coach be helpful?

Before an agile coach can be hired, the organization must have decided that there is a need for change and that this change is not something they are unable to implement themselves. For example, a group may be unsure if they are working on the right things, employees think that certain things can be done in a better way or the management may experience that it is slow and that the organization does not live up to the potential that exists. Some organizations, even though they feel that their way of working works well, still want it reviewed to see if it is possible to work even more efficiently and smarter.

What can the extensive assignment for an agile coach look like and what happens when the assignment is over?

An organization takes the help of an agile coach for a long time, sometimes longer than a year, and during this time you work purposefully with certain issues. The coach usually leaves the assignment when the goal has been achieved and the organization then continues to work on its own. To make the managers more agile and capable of continuing the change journey on their own, a change in the managerial roles is often an essential part of the coach's assignment.

In order for the organization to develop more and also keep up with the previous changes, it can be good to let the coach come back after a while to see if there are further things that may need to change.

What is needed for the client to benefit from hiring an agile coach?

In order for a coach to be able to achieve the desired result, the management must be willing to make an agile journey and absorb what the coach has to say. They must be ready to invest both commitment and time in the work and genuinely want to initiate change work. The goal of the assignment is very important to determine before the change can begin and something that the coach can help with if needed.

It is important that the management is clear with their expectations and intentions towards the environment and the employees when an agile approach is to be used. It is towards the organization and the result that the expectations should be directed, not the agile coach. Although the coach is there to guide and support the work, the majority of the work needs to be done by the organization.

What does the toolbox for an agile coach look like?

It is relatively common for people who have ideas about what should be changed to have been listened to but that no one has acted on what has been said. Therefore, it is a good start for the coach to create a space where people can talk to each other and talk about what they are struggling with every day. A couple of important tools are to look back regularly and to use visualization. Through visualization, you can clarify what is happening, what people think and how it goes in a transparent way. To bring about a change, you must then act on the information you obtain.

You can help people understand what is happening and how they themselves can influence their situation by using tools such as feedback and feedback loops. The feedback can make someone see new paths and solutions. Different forms of education can also be used, this applies to classic courses and individual conversations as well as workshops.

When trying to make communication between people work, even small and seemingly simple tools can be valuable. One such tool can be that instead of sending e-mails, you go to the person in question and talk to them directly.

For the coach, it is important to be sensitive and develop the tools that are best suited to the specific situation and the people involved.

What does it take to be a good agile coach?

Some of the qualities one should possess in order to be a good agile coach are; commitment, courage, low prestige, curiosity and a holistic view.

  • Commitment - take an interest in the task and actively participate all the way to the goal.
  • Courage - dare to tackle difficult situations and difficult issues by creating trust and confidence.
  • Low prestige - be open to the fact that the coach's solution is not always the best and encourage the organization or team to come up with their own solutions.
  • Curiosity - do not assume that you know the answer but instead ask questions and explore new solutions
  • Holistic view - have a system perspective while keeping track of the details but without staring blindly at them and by improving the whole, not just a small part.

It also takes several years of experience with the development of organizations and people to be able to become really effective as an agile coach. Project managers, developers, Scrum Masters and managers at different levels are some of the roles that agile coaches may have previously had and gained their experience from.

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The Twitter version

What is the first step to achieving your desired position?

What will it lead to when you get there?

You get help there with coaching.

The cocktail party version

Coaching means that the coach and the client work together to inspire the client to optimize their professional and personal potential through a creative and thought-provoking process. You ask questions instead of giving advice as you can assume that the client is an expert in their own work and life. There are different models that a coach can use in coaching. One of these models is called GROW and with the help of questions you go through:

G - goal

  • How is your situation in a year if everything is resolved in the best way?
  • What do you miss now that you will have then?
  • What is the difference?
  • How will it feel?

R - reality

  • Where are you now in relation to your goal?
  • What have you tested before?
  • What are you doing today to reach your goal?

O - opportunities & obstacles

  • What resources do you have today?
  • What resources do you lack?
  • How do you get these resources?

W - will & way forward

  • What is the first step you can take to get closer to your desired location?
  • How can you take that step?
  • When can you take it?

There is an exercise called the wheel of life that can help you get an overview of what your current situation looks like and what may need to change. The wheel of life consists of a circle divided into eight pieces of cake, each of which is graded from 0 to 10. You fill in what the different parts of your life look like, the happier you are, the higher the gradation.

  • What would your life wheel look like?
  • Do you see any parts that need to be changed?
  • If you were to make a wheel specifically for the job, what would it look like?

The elevator version

A coach:

  • works with the client's self-insight and self-confidence
  • helps the client find ways to deal with problems that may arise along the way
  • helps the client become more productive and focused
  • works to bring out the drive that the client needs
  • encourages the client in their decisions

Would you benefit from this somewhere in your life?


Instead of answers, you will get questions here.

  • Are you coaching in your life?
  • When are you coaching?
  • Are there parts of your job where you would get more help from thoughtful questions instead of ready-made answers and advice?
  • When do you wish someone could coach you?
  • When is it not possible to be a coach?
  • How is a coaching leader?
  • How to create a trusting dialogue?
  • What do you usually do when you want to change something in your life?
  • What happens to you if you get advice that is not useful to you?
  • Can a coaching approach solve some problems better?
  • Do you have someone you think would grow by a coaching approach in your area?
  • Is it possible to coach their children
  • Is it possible to coach someone secretly?

Every organization declines to Coordination Chaos, unless Leadership knows what to do.