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Signs You Have Found the Right Agile Coach

A recent survey by agile tool provider VersionOne listed a lack of experience as one of the top 5 reasons for Agile failure.  If you have built a team doing grassroots Agile and you are not seeing any growth with that team or with other teams in the organization, it may be due to lack of experience. Agile processes are simple to learn but applying them consistently with a team can be difficult.  This makes it pretty important to find someone who can assist you in making your efforts pay off. The best way you can ensure this happens is by hiring an agile coach.

There are many choices for hiring Agile Coaches in Chicago. There are national consulting firms, agile coaching firms that are specific to the Chicago area, and a multitude of freelance agile coaches.  Whichever of these approaches you use, you can use the following list of qualities to make sure that the individual coach you select is the right fit for you.

Experience is Key

Experience with the domain is really important.  Your coach should have experience with the application of agile methods such as Scrum, preferably as a Scrum Master and Coach.  If your coach also has experience as a developer, that is a huge plus.  Both of these types of experience is valuable to you in order to be an asset to you and what you are trying to do. Otherwise, it’s like the blind leading the blind.

Equally important with the coach is experience with leading change in organizations.  Ask your prospective Agile Coach if they have experience as a Change Agent, or if they have skills in Organizational Development (OD) or Organizational Change Management (OCM).  These critical skills separate the elite coaches from those who are less experienced.

Possesses the Right Leadership Skills

If your coach shows they can listen to you, your needs, and what you want the coaching outcomes to be, they should be able to implement that into building a plan that will give you the improvement you are looking for. Over time you should be able to see continuous improvement that shows that working with a coach is paying off. As you discuss your needs, your coach should be able to use his or her thinking skills to put your needs into action.

Effective Interpersonal Skills

The best Agile Coaches have excellent interpersonal skills.  They are able to build solid working relationships across the organization so that they understand what is happening with the Agile team and are able to guide corrections or leverage events.

Their listening skills should be outstanding as well.  Through their listening skills, they help make people feel valued and build the trust which is necessary to guide the change.

Being an Effective Facilitator

Effective Agile Coaches are also great facilitators.  You should expect your coach to effectively facilitate coaching meetings, as well as to model effective facilitation skills for the Scrum Masters and other leaders within your organization. A good Agile coach can ensure that happens by being an effective facilitator that knows how to properly lead these meetings. Planning for each meeting and knowing what to include to keep participants engaged will show that your coach is a keeper.  This helps the various agile meetings to be effective and stay on track.

If you are seeking an Agile coach in Chicago, IL look to see if they posses these traits.  Great coaches will help you and your teams to grow and to succeed with Agile.  They will be instrumental in helping you to learn and master Agile, as they assist in meeting your needs. While many other traits may also prove valuable, these are the basics that will let you know you’ve made a good choice.

If you are looking for an Agile coach in Chicago, IL, consider the team at Vitality Chicago. You can contact them by phone at 847-446-6597 or online at website.

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