Teams undergo Agile transformations without coaches and find success. Although, we are not exactly sure how and if they will ultimately succeed without the benefits of setting a foundation with an expert. As soon as we started diving deeper into Agile, we quickly recognized that we were going to need an expert to help guide us through the process. Someone who would hold us accountable, push us forward, bring an outside perspective and empower us to continue on after they were gone.
Luckily for us, and as I mentioned in the first post, my husband works for Excella so we knew where we could find a coach. However, when it comes to applying Agile to non-IT teams, not all coaches are cut out for the job. It takes a special set of skills to translate the IT mindset to the non-IT world. For that reason, we’ve put together a list of the top traits we would recommend when looking for an Agile coach for your marketing team.
- Patience: Patience is key. Since Agile is still a mainly IT concept, you need a coach who is not only willing to slow down while you learn the terminology and ask questions, but who is also willing to learn your business. In our experience, this was crucial. Our coach was fantastic at explaining topics and examples to us in ways that related to our business, but this was largely due to the fact that he was willing to learn about the services we provide our clients and our business model.
- Trust: During this process, you will want to work with someone who you can trust 100%. When evaluating coaches, choose someone who can be open and honest with you about all aspects of your team and business. We shared our team’s weaknesses, our biggest aspirations and raw client feedback with our coach. Being able to trust our coach was directly correlated with the success we saw during this process.
- Creativity: There is not a one-size fits all approach to Agile and don’t believe anyone if they tell you differently. Look for a coach who will customize a program that works for your team or business and isn’t afraid to think outside of the box. For non-IT teams, it’s important that your coach can break from traditional conventions and methods and apply the principles of Agile to the new situation at hand.
We could see our coach’s patience, trustworthiness and creativity come through in almost every conversation, email and meeting with our team. Our team was fortunate to have a coach, Chris, that possessed these qualities, plus many other great traits that contributed to our success. However, as with many new ventures, we also experienced some challenges. These skills were especially important for our coach as he guided us through addressing issues and then learning how to solve for related problems in the future. Our next blog will highlight some of our successes, explore the challenges we have faced and discuss the lessons learned while implementing Agile into our business strategy.