How Did You Become an Agile Coach?

In my last post I described how myself and some colleagues  are building coaching capability within an enterprise organization.

Today an interesting question was raised in our weekly coaching guild call:

“How did you become an Agile coach?”

What was interesting for me was how the question came about. Initially folks were asking about how to do more pairing with the existing coaches and the typical questions ensued:

“How much time commitment is needed?”

“Can we structure when/where/how pairing happens?”

“How will pairing help? More importantly, how does it work?”

I answered the question by offering up (an abbreviated version of) my own story, but I’ll share the longer version with you now:

  • A company I was working for considered themselves to be a ‘Scrum shop’. When the resident Scrum expert wasn’t able to answer my basic questions (IE: How do we tell the client roughly how much and how long so they can budget for the project?  “Oh, you just don’t get Agile” was the reply.
  • I paid for my own CSM training, which was ridiculously expensive back then.
  • Then I started writing about it
  • Then an opportunity to become an “Agile Consultant” presented itself to me. I wasn’t ready, but I left a job, that I really enjoyed, for this chance.
  • Then I went to AYE.
  • Then I joined a coaching circle with Declan Whelan, Michael Sahota and Gerry Kirk.
  • Then I joined a coaching circle with Michael Spayd
  • Then I found an opportunity to work with Michael Sahota and Alistair McKinnell
  • And through all of that, I kept writing
  • Then I decided to start speaking and presented at LSSC 11 and Agile 2011 through 2013 (and a whole bunch of other local conferences)
  • Then I published a video series on Inform IT
  • Then I wrote a book

And through all of that I kept working with multiple organizations (some for free!)

And I kept connecting to some amazing people in the Agile community.

And I wrote about what the heck an Agile Coach does in a given week

And I kept going to training courses

And I kept trying shit out.

And I kept failing.

And I wrote about that.

And I felt bad about that.

And then I tried again…and it worked! So I wrote about that too.

And I questioned whether or not ‘Agile Coach’ was even

I could keep going, but I’ll stop.

The moral of the story is, to become an ‘Agile Coach’, it’s not about going to a class or reading a book or spending a chunk of time learning.

It’s about choosing a profession that is designed to bring meaningful change into the lives of people in organizations who feel stuck inside a broken system. Choosing to go down this path opened my eyes up to more opportunities. I’d un-consciously look for ways to latch onto to people in the community, or volunteer to host meet-ups and meet other people in the community.

All I know is that as each year goes by, I realize there are more important questions I should be asking and there’s a whole lot more that I want to learn.

What’s your story? Leave a note in the comments!