Internal marketing of agile coaching

“We need to take our positioning more seriously”

“Agile organizations that have been working the agile way for some time now need different kind of coaching. Maybe even different coaches,” states Catharina Adriaans. She leads the Center of Expertise Agile Coaching of COO Risk & Finance of ING that houses some 30 internationally operating One Agile Way of Work coaches. She gives her view on positioning, that is still too often a blind spot for this new internal function.

Catharina: “As a coach working with teams new to agile, you are mainly busy with spoon-feeding: providing them with everything they need at that moment to grow the agile thinking and working. As a coach, you can continue to support teams for a long time after this phase, because agile does not have an end stage. You can keep improving. But it is necessary to hand-over the responsibility for continuous improvement back to the teams themselves and with the leadership of the organization, or part of it, as soon as possible. Only then are you implementing agile in a sustainable manner. You give teams at all levels, including leadership teams the opportunity to grow because you yourself as a coach are no longer closing the gaps.”

Allow leadership to mirror agility

“That means that as a coach you can grab that freed up space with both hands. Our field is so broad! A first step could be to entrust the agile basic standards to strong scrum masters; the events, the values, making work visible and impediments. As a coach you can shift your attention to leadership teams and especially their exemplary behavior. Let them mirror to their environment what agility means. Parallel to this you can work with bottlenecks in the end to end production processes. Apply inspect and adapt between teams and departments with the aim of increasing the speed. If that succeeds, the organization will be able to respond more quickly to changing circumstances and you will be able to fulfill the promise of agile: a head start through agility. Because that’s what it’s all about for us as coaches, that’s why we make the case for transforming business units. “

Defining ourselves what we are

“For the positioning of agile coaching in organizations, this change means work to be done. Teams may still expect to be able to count on the coach’s undivided attention, while leadership may have developed certain expectations of agile that do not fit with a more mature organization. We must therefore take positioning seriously – define our new position ourselves and then transparently put foreward what we are made of. We have therefore created a product & services catalog for our expertise center. We are going to apply the services and products in it very consistently for our internal customers. And we are going to work on the story that we tell about our services. Only when we speak with one voice is our environment going to pick up on the added value we provide in a mature organization.”