The Goal
A coach will seek to enable individuals, teams and organisations to guide themselves effectively, so they strive for value, seek to make their work flow smoothly and avoid waste.

The end result should be an organisation that can learn from its own actions and continually improve as the nature of their industry evolves

Role of a Lean Agile coach
To guide a team in the use of lean agile techniques where they would provide value to the overall organisation.  Help individuals, teams and organisations deliver value and reach their goals effectively.

- facilitate productive conversations
- provide effective feedback to the team
- analyse impedements to team agility
- foster learning and reflection
- educating an organisation in the value of practices
- encourage collective leadership and high collaboration


Observe to understand how the organisation works and identify what challenges could deliver the most value if addressed.

Influence the team carefully, balance with the needs across the organisation.

Shape the direction of the team without controlling the aspects of that direction.

Encourage focus on goals and delivering value with every action.
Communicate the value of learning and continual improvement

Listen well
When you listen well as a coach you are showing respect and growing trust between yourself and those you are coaching.

When you listen you are gathering information on how things are working, what are the issues, what the team spirit is like and some indication of problem areas that need to be address.

By listening well you are encouraging others to communicate by giving them confidence in themselves and that what they are saying is worthwhile.

- Remove distractions
- Good eye contact, focused on the person speaking
- Reply to encourage conversation
- Confirm you have understood what was said correctly - shows you are listening and reduces assumptions

- providing answers - you should be guiding their solution not imposing your own
- missing problems - avoid assumptions and skipping over areas of discussion
- getting personal - patients is required especially when people are in challenging positions or walking in new territory

Technique - Introduce your colleague
Ask pairs to interview each other and introduce their partner to the audience
- Encourages communication between team members, finding out new/different things about each other


Visualising work
Visualise the work to show all concerned what is the state of play, allowing reaction to issues become quicker.  Examples include:

  • Scrum / Kanban board
  • Continuous Integration dashboard / build lava lamp
  • Showcase - showing the currently working software
  • Passing tests (unit, acceptance, web, performance, etc...)
Verbal feedback
Share observations that may influence individual or team process, in a way that is positive to avoid judgement at a timely moment (near to the incident with the right audience).
Feedback should be specific, show your concern about an issue, check for problems and encourage solutions to their own issues.
Asking questions
- Gather data
- Uncover assumptions
- Spark new ideas

Ask open questions - opinions and feelings, slower paced, think & reflect, hand control to the respondent
Avoid closed questions - just the facts, fast paced, easy to answer (yes, no, don't care), keep control with the questioner.
Be patient, ensure you know the state of the person before you ask important questions to ensure you get open replies. 

PrOpER cycle
Problem (goal)
Options - need a few to choose from
Experiment - try something out
Review - was the option beneficial, what did you learn

6 thinking hats for meetings

Coaching teams
In order to coach a team effectively you also need to be able to coach an individual as well as a whole organisation.  Coaching guidance should always be given with respect to the goals and values of individual, team and organisation.

The Hackman Model
Motivational - Improves effort by minimizing free riding and building shared commitment
Consultative - improves process by reducing thoughtless habits and fostering invention based on situation
Educational - improves knowledge and skill

Ref: Leading Teams - Setting the stage for great performances - J Richard Hackman (

Problem Mapping

Recommended reading
Lean-Agile Software Development: Achieving Enterprise Agility
Succeeding with Agile - Mike Cohn
Agile Coaching - Rachel Davies
Coaching Agile teams - Lyssa Adkins
The Trusted Advisor - David Maister
Overcoming the Firve Dysfunctions of a team - Patrick Lencioni
Leading Teams - Setting the stage for great performances - J Richard Hackman