Disciplined Agile

Agile Coach: Competencies

The competent agile coach must have a set of knowledge, skills, and basic traits. Table 1 lists some of the most common competencies. When hiring coaches, look for people who have these traits and can learn or develop the skills and knowledge to do the coaching.

The agile coach does not have to have these all at once but this is a good list for ongoing development. 

Table 1. Competencies of the Agile Coach 


Coaching competencies include… 


Consistently honest



A people person

Realistic and positive

Willing to share power


Fair and impartial


Cool under pressure 

Agile principles and practices

Committed to incremental realization of value

Able to identify and define business value

Understanding definitions of roles and their standard work

Understanding value stream mapping and value stream management

Understanding agile principles sufficiently to be able to interact with teams at least at the process level to facilitate problem-solving at the process level

Understanding kanban, scrum and agile practices sufficiently to be able to help set up and establish the practices at the team level 

Knowledge transfer methods

Coaching skills and approaches

Pragmatic facilitation skills and Trim Tabs

Adult learning and training techniques

Agile training curriculum and how to tailor courses based on needs

Transition management

Metrics: Calculating and interpreting them

Competency / proficiency assessments: Leading assessments, interpreting them, and setting goals

Models of transition and change management

Organizational dynamics and how to identify them

Risk assessment and risk mitigation strategies for agile environments 

Business discovery

Writing vision statements

Decomposing requirements into capabilities, MBIs, features, and stories

Sequencing work by business value

Writing acceptance tests 


Kanban: Board setup and management, analysis, SLAs, etc.

Managing WIP

Technical practices (general understanding and applicability)

Virtual team collaboration

Writing correct and complete features and stories


How to set up projects

Feedback and continuous improvement

Daily coordination (often referred to as “stand-ups”)

Handling “failure”



Project board management

Properly addressing impediments

Iteration retrospective

Visual controls and reporting