Agile Coaching: Core Values & Supporting Principles

The idea of hammering out a set of guiding Values and Principles for Agile Coaches is an idea whose time has come. Increasing reports of problems in Agile Coaching are tarnishing our profession and diluting our effectiveness as change agents. This is a very serious problem.

A set of community-built, open-source Values and Principles is one solution we can all act on today. Rather than looking to institutions to lead us, or assigning blame, we can choose instead to look to ourselves and do something about it, right now. Click. Done.

I invite you to come and play with this idea. The aim of the group is to hammer out an opt-in set of Agile Coaching Values and Principles for Agile Coaches, with intent to improve the working lives of Agile Coaches and Agile Coaching Clients throughout the world.

Please come and play!




Click here to JOIN the Agile Coaching Values discussion group on Google+

Will you please also forward this invitation to other agile coaches and agile coaching clients that might be interested in this conversation?

Thank you!

Intrigued? Here is more detail:

Agile Coaches are familiar with the patterns of naive and vulnerable client organizations that are new to Agile. In my view, Agile Coaching pros have an obligation to help clients understand what is best for them. This always includes helping the client take 100% responsibility for their own learning. This usually means the coach must refuse opportunities to play a larger role.

Being there, 5 days a week, full time, for 3 months or more can be lucrative and hard to resist. As coaching professionals, we do our best (and live up to our potential) by serving the learning of the client organization. This includes challenging the client org to take 100% responsibility to reach a self-sustaining state of Agility, without the need for an external coach.

These Agile Coaching values and principles listed below are a good and solid basis for guiding coach-client relationships and interactions. These values and principles are listed in the familiar ‘agile manifesto‘ format.

The content- these values and principles– are optimized on the continuous, progressive and ongoing organizational learning of the coached organization.


In serving our clients, we have come to value:

Creating Independence over generating billing
Championing Learning over avoiding risk
Building Relationships over building transactions
Inviting Participation over assigning responsibility

We use these Principles to guide our work with clients:

Voluntary engagement of everyone involved in organizational change is an essential requirement for success.

Coaching every single day in an organization creates a serious risk of client dependency and is to be avoided, consistent with common sense and good judgement with respect to client needs.

Organizations are responsible for their own learning. Arms-length, time-boxed working agreements between clients and coaches are essential.

Coaches must look for every opportunity to increase the learning of the organization as a whole, with strong intent to vacate or otherwise evolve the current coaching role as soon as possible.

Coaching requires the willingness to identify any cultural impediments to continuous improvement, and to communicate these to the people in the organization who have the authority to address them.

The primary task of a coach is to help improve the effective results and working lives of the people employed in the organizations they serve.

The ability of an organization to respond to change is the primary measure of progress.

Leaders in an organization must continuously signal positive encouragement, and create safe space for others to think and learn, if positive culture change is to be lasting and effective.