Is Agile Coaching enough for successful Agile Adoption?

On Agile Open 2010 I hosted an open space and I shared an idea on Agile Change Management. In the session I stated Agile Coaching is just a change style that is appropriate for a part of the Agile adoption. I started the session with a presentation on sharing some perspectives on Organizations. Gareth Morgan (*1) wrote an interesting book on metaphors off Organizations:

  • organization as a Machine
  • organization as a Organism
  • organization as learning system
  • organization as a political arena
  • organization as a psychiatric hospital

Every metaphor has it’s on perspective on diagnosing organizations and interventions to change organization. Leon de Caluwé (*2) wrote an interesting book on change styles; the colors of change. He used colours to summerize the different schools on organizational change management that go back to Frederick Winslow Taylor’s book; “The principles of scientific management” from 1911. De Caluwé states that every color has it’s on perspective on why something will change, it’s roadmap and pitfalls. In the following table all colors are summerized:

De Caluwé also identifies 3 levels of intervention in an organization:

  • organizational level
  • departmental or team level
  • individual level

Agile Coaching focuses on how to enable teams to get the best from Agile (*3). It focuses on learning, exercising and feedback. I think Agile Coaching is predominantly green-print change style with elements of red-print and white-print with interventions on the individual and team level. It’s great for making agile teams. Will it help adopt an organization? Will it help in overcoming resistance because groups notice the balance of power in an organization will shift?

In a next post I will write more on Agile Change Management. 

(*1) Gareth Morgan : Images and identities of Organization
(*2) Leon de Caluwé: Learning to change
(*3) Rachel Davies and Liz Sedley: Agile Coaching

3 thoughts on “Is Agile Coaching enough for successful Agile Adoption?”

  1. I enjoyed your session at Agile Open Holland. I heartily agree that Agile Coaching is usually not enough for Agile Adoption. I see coaching as providing support to teams and accelerate Agile Adoption. Yellow and Blue work is often necessary to establish buy-in before coaching starts and if this groundwork has not been done then coaching efforts can be wasted.

  2. "Agile Coaching" is a phrase that is not describing enough what a coach does, can do or should do. Are coaches actually consultants with a different business cards or should they be more like therapists that help the company deal with years of malfunctioning?

    As a shameless plug, it just happened that I've written an article on my blog (in Dutch…) about this very subject.

  3. Ronald Doelen

    Eén reactie op “Agile Coach? Counsellor? Consultant?”

    Hoi Maurice (scrumnl),

    Op Agile Open heb ik hierover een sessie gefaciliteerd. De term coach verwijst naar een specifieke benadering om veranderingen door te voeren. Deze verandering wordt door een change agent doorgevoerd. De change agent, coach, richt zich op leren, oefenen en feedback geven. Hierbij kan hij gebruik maken van counseling technieken. Een andere change agent, de mediator, richt zich op het onderhandelingsproces tussen verschillende groepen. Kortom Agile Coaching is bepaalde verander stijl. Op mijn blog schrijf ik hier meer over: Is Agile Coaching enough for successful Agile Adoption?

    Om terug te komen bij je vraag: Iedere organisatie heeft zijn specifieke change agent nodig om agile succesvol te implementeren.

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