Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Agile Coaches' Corner shares practical concepts in an approachable way. It is for agile practitioners and business leaders seeking expert advice on improving the way they work to achieve their desired outcomes. If you have a topic you'd like discussed, email it to, or tweet it with #agilethoughtpodcast.

Mar 20, 2020

So you want to be an Agile Coach, huh? This week on the podcast, return guest, Christy Erbeck, is going to tell you everything you need to know if you’re looking to be a coach!


In case you haven’t caught Christy on a previous episode, she is a Principal Transformation Consultant at AgileThought and a Certified Dare to Lead™ Facilitator. She has over 25 years of experience in domestic and international consulting, training and coaching, and working in both software development and non-product-focused environments, including manufacturing (discrete and process), distribution, and sales and marketing.


Christy and Dan discuss what a coach is, what it takes to be a coach, how to become a coach, how to know when you are a coach, the differences between a coach and a trainer, as well as some coaching anti-patterns!


Key Takeaways

What is a coach?

It is a passion and mindset

As a coach, it is your duty to bring out the best in your team you’re there to see what others cannot see

Someone who delivers value to your clients by creating and improving Agile processes within a team

What does it take to be a coach?

The ability to hold space for others to discuss tough subjects

A strong combination of hard and soft skills are required

Hard skills would be your ability to think strategically and tactically; clearly communicate up, down, and across the organization; your ability to tell the truth (even when it’s the last thing people want to hear); and to have real-world experience where you were not the coach

Soft skills would be a healthy sense of self, strong personal boundaries, the ability to empathize with others, a playful spirit, and natural curiosity

You should have had the proper training (for example: through CoachU or Lyssa Atkin’s SolutionsIQ)

Another important soft skill for a coach is to be the ‘wind behind their wings’ by releasing your ego and allowing the person you are coaching to be front stage

How to become a coach:

A new Scrum Master can experiment with coaching their team and should be there long enough to build a depth of experience — both good and bad to build a library of experience from

A coach should see multiple success and failure patterns

It’s important to have a strong foundation of your strengths and weaknesses, know how you’re going to respond to different situations, know what might trigger you in a setting, and to do ‘your work’ before coaching others to do ‘their work’

It’s important to not assume everyone else has the same success and failure patterns and experiences as you

When you’re walking into a new team as a coach you should always have a beginner’s mind (i.e. the perspective of being fully present in the moment and not projecting on historical experiences)

Anti-patterns of coaching:

Sending in a coach only when a team needs the help

When a manager is considered a coach of an employee (which sets both parties up for failure and is a conflict of interest)

Coaches that do not see their coachees as equals

Difference between a coach and a trainer:

A training stance would be that you are the expert in the given topic and those you are teaching are novices

Trainers impart knowledge to the trainees in a way that they can apply and grow from it

A trainer’s primary skill is to teach

In a coaching stance, you are there to help coachees uncover what they need to learn in order to become their best selves

A coach’s stance is not to be an expert in the person they teach; the person they teach should be the expert of themselves (a coach is just helping a person create space to allow them to follow and blossom)

How do you know when you are a coach? What should you continue to do?

As a coach, you should seek continuous improvement and adopt a lifelong learning mindset

You should continue to improve upon your hard and soft skills

If you want to be a coach, get a coach!

Understand that this is a journey

Ultimately, you will know when you’re ready to become a coach


Mentioned in this Episode:

Christy Erbeck

Agile Coaches’ Corner Ep. 68: “Fixing Your Scrum with Ryan Ripley”

Fixing Your Scrum: Practical Solutions to Common Scrum Problems, by Ryan Ripley
and Todd Miller

Coaching Agile Teams: A Companion for ScrumMasters, Agile Coaches, and Project Managers in Transition, by Lyssa Atkins

Flawless Consulting: A Guide to Getting Your Expertise Used, by Peter Block

Becky Hartman #BecauseHuman


Agile 2020

Brené Brown


Want to Learn More or Get in Touch?

Visit the website and catch up with all the episodes on!

Email your thoughts or suggestions to or Tweet @AgileThought using #AgileThoughtPodcast!