Do I need to be an expert in Scrum to start my journey as an Agile coach?

It’s important to define what you mean by ‘expert’.

The Scrum Guide is officially 13 pages long. It is simple to understand yet incredibly hard to master.

Much of your experience in a Scrum environment is going to come from actively doing things and working as part of the Scrum team.

It is important that you are an experienced Agile practitioner to become an Agile coach, but it isn’t necessary that you are an expert to start that journey.

A scrum master with a year or two worth of experience is already straddling the line between Scrum practitioner and Agile coach. It simply comes with the territory.

The Advanced Certified course, which you only need 1 year of experience as a to qualify for, begins the process of teaching you how to coach within a scrum environment and is a solid part of your journey to becoming an Agile coach.

The Certified Scrum Professional, which you only need 2 years of experience as a and an Advanced Certified certification to qualify for, deepens your practitioner knowledge as well as your coaching skill set.

A scrum master acts as a scrum coach for the Scrum team from day one. As you advance in your career as a scrum master, you can only benefit from advancing your coaching skill set at the same time.

So, in my opinion, if you are interested in becoming an Agile coach, you should be working on progressing your coaching skills alongside your practitioner skills as early as possible.

You’re going to view your experience through the lens of a practitioner as well as a coach and that can only enrich the experience your future clients will receive from you when you start to practice as an Agile coach.

It is essential that you are a strong, experienced practitioner in order to become an Agile coach for an organisation but that journey can begin within a year or two of practicing as a .

There are individuals with a decade of experience in Scrum environments that would not consider themselves to be an expert in Scrum. It is such a dynamic environment with so many different applications that it takes decades to master.

There are also degrees of capability that define where you are on the practitioner as well as on the coaching scale.

You may be a newbie Agile coach that has a lot to learn in your new application as an Agile coach, and you would benefit from being coached and mentored by a more senior Agile coach but that doesn’t mean that you can’t practice as an Agile coach.

It simply means that you need to think in terms of progression and work within your capabilities with teams that can help you advance as both a practitioner as well as a coach.

There are courses and certification paths that you can follow, relatively early on in your career as a practitioner, that will help you develop the coaching skills and expertise that you will need down the line.

Invest in a coach. Invest in continuous learning. Invest in courses and certifications.

As you progress along your coaching journey your expertise will naturally develop and evolve to a point where your confidence matches your capabilities.

If you are thinking of becoming an Agile coach, visit our Advanced Certified course page, our Certified Scrum Professional course page, and our ing Academy course pages.

You will also benefit from the IC Agile Certified Agile Team Coaching Course.

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John McFadyen Managing Partner
John McFadyen is an Executive and Enterprise Agile Coach with proven experience working on some of the UK and Europe’s largest, most complex Agile Transformations. As a Certified Scrum Trainer, John brings a wealth of experience as an Agile coach, Agile practitioner and software developer into each of the four core courses he provides. The war stories, the insights into successful Agile transformations and everything he has learned from coaching high-performance Agile teams combine to provide course delegates with a unique, compelling training experience that transforms as much as it empowers.

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