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A practice of practices, a discipline of disciplines

Scrum Masters are the guardians of Scrum. They are the glue that binds the scrum team together and helps create environments where others can excel.

There is no difference between an agile coach and a scrum master in many circles, except for a daily rate.

In theory, that’s true. In practice, there is a wide gap between a newbie scrum master and a deeply experienced Agile coach.

I often come across project managers or people exploring the world of Scrum for the first time, and they are interested in understanding the progression from scrum master to agile coach. Often, people want to plan their careers and have a solid idea of where to invest their time, effort and money to grow as scrum masters and progress in their journey to mastery.

Great. So, let’s help you with that. Let’s start by describing what an Agile coach is and giving you an insight into how they impact #scrum teams and #agile environments. I’ve created a short video on what an Agile coach is, and you can watch or read it on https://johnmcfadyen.com/learn-scrum/what-is-an-agile-coach/

Remember, to be a great Agile coach, you must be both a deeply experienced Agile practitioner and you need to be a strong coach and facilitator.

In the realm of the International Coaching Federation, you need to be a strong individual coach before you can progress toward becoming an effective team coach.

It’s a journey and a practice of practices. Some might even say a discipline of disciplines. I would agree.

It takes a lot of practice, coaching and the benefits of several mentors to truly master the responsibilities and skillset of an Agile coach. In my experience, it’s one of the most rewarding and fulfilling journeys you can undertake. I actively and passionately recommend that scrum masters and aspiring agile coaches embrace the journey of practice, knowledge and skills acquisition, and deliberate practice through skilled coaches and experienced mentors.

In many ways, my blog and YouTube channel is an attempt to provide you with more knowledge, actionable insights and skills to become a better scrum master and agile coach. I get that not many scrum masters have the benefits of an Agile coach or experienced mentor, and this is an opportunity for you to learn from someone who continues to work at the coalface of #agiletransformations and #agilecoaching.

If you’re looking for answers and deeper insights, feel free to reply to this newsletter with a question of your own, and we’ll tackle that question for you in our ‘Deploy and Improve Scrum’ series on LinkedIn. Connect with me on LinkedIn to follow the series or engage me directly with any questions or requests you may have.

One Quote


“An Agile coach will have invested a great deal of time working in team environments and will have a deep understanding of the kind of challenges that teams encounter.

They have a great understanding of team dynamics and invest themselves in aligning the team with high-performing, Agile ways of working that help teams unleash their creativity and passion.”

– John McFadyen, from ‘What is an Agile Coach?’

And A Question For You

Have you ever seen a great coach in action and seen how that person creates high-performing individuals and teams? How did that experience impact you?

author avatar
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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