Agile coaching

Making a difference through Agile Coaching

30 November 2022 • 5 min read


Before we explore Agile coaching at AND Digital, let's first understand what the role of an Agile coach is. The State of Agile Coaching Report 2022 refers to an Agile coach as somebody who…


“Helps organisations, teams and individuals adopt Agile practices and methods, while embedding Agile values and mindsets. The goal of an Agile coach is to foster more effective, transparent and cohesive teams, and to enable better outcomes, solutions, and products/services for customers.”


AND Digital’s mission is to ‘close the digital skills gap’. So, how can an Agile coach help achieve this mission? What does it mean in reality, and how can we help both clients and ANDis become more effective and cohesive to enable better outcomes and value for customers? 

What does Agile coaching mean at AND?


It starts with our unique ‘Club’ model, each comprising 6 squads and approximately 80 ANDis across all levels - ranging from Club Executive (accountable for the Club's overall success) to Associate (who could be in their first full-time working role). Each business unit has a dedicated Agile coach whose job is to support the Club, clients and ANDis. This scale helps dedicated Agile coaches to build and maintain relationships with everyone, ensuring a culture of empathy and understanding - vital for a people-first business.


Our purpose as a coaching team is to ‘help teams and organisations be the best they can be, particularly in the context of their digital, product and Agile ambitions.’ 


To achieve this, we work with people and teams to increase their confidence in applying Agile, product and lean principles. We also help them use coaching, mentoring and upskilling techniques to further their personal and team development.

The techniques applied are bespoke; flexing depending on the circumstances or challenges the team is facing. It's up to us as coaches to discover and interpret the team's needs and ambitions, and to ensure we cater our approach to help deliver those ambitions. 

Hear from two of our Agile coaches about life as a coach and the difference we make to our clients. 


When can we help?


The simple answer to this is the sooner the better. As coaches, the most value we can provide is when we are involved with teams from the start. This would ideally be in their ‘forming’ stage, giving us the opportunity to lay foundations for success - like creating trust, a psychologically safe environment and a forum to develop the skills needed for success. 


We appreciate this may not always be possible, which is where AND's "Guide, Build. Equip" business model comes in. It enables our coaching team to vary its input as the situation and state of play requires. We can provide impartial, objective and unbiased Agile support where clients need help restructuring their teams (Guide), and a specialist perspective when delivery pressure mounts in the thick of a project (Build). Throughout, or at any stage in our engagements, we can upskill and coach individuals and teams to achieve their goals (Equip).


What sort of problems do we help solve and how?


Our clients face a huge range of challenges, and we relish helping them take these on in creative ways - whether that's the move from waterfall to Agile practices, or helping them understand the real, in-practice values of 'agility.' The role of a coach is never exhaustive, and in fact as we move forward in our journey to close the digital skills gap it will evolve and become more and more vital for business success. As an overview, here we share a suite of Agile, product and lean techniques we often call on, depending on the challenge: 




Creating a culture and environment where Agile teams feel safe and can thrive

  • Run team kick-offs, charter and culture canvas sessions to create and foster an Agile mindset
  • Encourage transparency, honest conversations and regular feedback so teams build trust, continuously improve, grow and become high performing.

Become more customer-obsessed so that they solve real customer problems and needs

  • Help teams create a vision and encourage being data-driven
  • Talk and listen to the customer so they can walk in their shoes and understand their problems
  • Apply various techniques e.g. interviews and surveys to ensure teams are using real-life feedback to drive value creation.

Upskill and coach teams to increase knowledge, expertise and skills enabling them to become high performing 

  • Coach and mentor teams and their leaders so they understand Agile best practices and apply them to unlock potential, and overcome challenges to achieve shared and personal goals.

Overcome delivery challenges 

  • Provide knowledge and expertise that encourages the right questions at the right time to increase delivery confidence and assurance of being a trusted advisor and safety net to support delivery and achieve the required outcomes.

Optimise the end-to-end flow from idea to value realisation to improve time to market

  • Help clients and teams see the bigger picture, using both quantitive and qualitative data to look at the system as a whole, understand the bottlenecks and identify where to make improvements to maximise value and speed to market

Understand best practices when trying to scale effective teams 

  • Ask the right questions to understand the customer’s need to scale 
  • Run bespoke ways of working and upskilling sessions to equip them with the skills, knowledge and support to use a range of Agile techniques, frameworks and scaling methods needed to be successful.

Be more effective with knowledge-sharing practices and collaboration through the creation of communities of practice (CoPs)

  • Encourage the creation of CoP’s and their value, ensuring the continued fostering of an Agile mindset and the benefits this brings
  • Provide a fresh pair of eyes and an unbiased perspective that gives expert support to achieve real and tangible change and ensure peer-to-peer sharing and learning.


In summary


At AND Digital, coaching plays a massive part in helping clients and ANDis achieve their potential. As coaches, we have to be pragmatic, treating every situation on its merits and dealing with what’s in front of us. We take great pride in the value of our work and in the reward of helping clients and ANDis learn, grow and achieve their goals.  

Learn more about the role of our coaches and the value they can bring, in this interview with our Agile Coaches Chris and Paul. 

Agile coaching

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