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4 Tips for Finding the Best Agile Coach

By | Rayanne Morriss | Freelance writer

Finding the right agile coach can help maximize the productivity of your team. So how do you find the right coach for your business? Let’s take a look at four tips for finding the best agile coach.

Finding Out Their Working Style

Every agile coach has their own unique working style. Some coaches will work directly with management while others like to spend lots of time with the team. Be sure to ask exactly how they will work each day. If you prefer to have the coach work with the team, let them know right away. This will allow you to find a coach that will be a perfect fit from day one.

Here are some things to ask when it pertains to the working style: What will you do if a team member is completely resistant to your agile coaching style? How will you internally measure the effectiveness of each team member? How will you keep team members motivated?

Know Their Skills

Agile coaches tend to have specific skills because they have worked with specific types of companies. For instance, an agile coach who has worked exclusively with software start-ups may be perfect for you if you are a software start-up. If you are working on building mainframes or hardware, perhaps an agile coach with an exclusive software background will not be the best for you. Also, ask if the candidate has experience working with big companies or smaller start-ups. Each one of these companies requires a different set of skills. Finally, ask how long the coach has been in practice. A lack of major experience should not be an instant disqualification. In some cases, a younger coach may be better if you have a younger team while a more experienced coach will be better for senior staff.

You should not only ask the agile coach candidate directly about his experience, you should also try to verify as much of the information as possible. Ask the agile coach for references and check to see how the candidate performed on his previous coach. This will give you a good indication of what you can expect out of the coach.

Let Them Know Your Expectations

It is important that the coach knows exactly what you expect. Therefore, you will want to have some clearly defined goals. For instance, you could tell the coach that you want him to help a team get a product launched in six months. This is an important piece of information that the coach should learn ahead of time. This way the coach can create a plan to help them in the best possible way. Also, the coach should have some weekly and monthly goals to shoot for. This will allow the agile coach to have a better idea of what tasks need to be completed.

One of the best ways to let the agile coach know your expectations is to put it in writing. You should show the coach exactly what the goals are for a project or a given time frame. The expectations should be realistic. A good agile coach will be honest in their assessment to reach all the goals laid out.

Avoid Panel Interviews

Panel interviews are all the rage when it comes to interviewing for agile coaches. However, many agile coaches know how to frankly “manipulate” these panel interviews and make you hire them right away. You are better off doing a series of one on one interviews where each person has a chance to answer direct questions. This will also help the agile coaching candidate. He will be better able to answer your questions rather than trying to impress a group of people.

During your interview with the agile coach, be sure to ask some open-ended questions. That’s because you will know more about a person if you simply let them speak freely for a couple of minutes. For instance, you can ask some casual questions such as, “What was your favorite company to work with?” You can also ask, “So why did you want to be an agile coach?”

Finding the Right Agile Coach

The right agile coach can really transform your business. Make sure you let the candidates know your expectations, know their skill set and focus on one-on-one interviews. With the right vetting, you will find the ideal agile coach for your business


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