How to Become an Agile Coach

Webinar | How to Become an Agile Coach

There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding about what it means to be an Agile coach. Agile coaching companies have difficulties explaining the value they will bring to their customers, and the role is often treated like a multi-team Scrum Master. In this webinar, our hosts, Martin von Weissenberg and Magnus Kollberg, take a hard and in-depth look at the Agile coaching profession. They clear up some of these misconceptions so that you can find a clear and understandable explanation of what an agile coach is, what an agile coach does (and doesn’t do), and the value they can bring to organizations. They also give guidance on how to become one, sharing the relevant credentials and competencies you may need, as well as challenges you may face and how to overcome them. Lastly, they answer our audience’s most pressing questions.

Webinar on the Sprint Retrospective

Webinar | The Sprint Retrospective

In the final webinar of our webinar series on the Scrum Events, we discuss the Retrospective. The Scrum Guide defines the purpose of the Sprint Retrospective as “to plan ways to increase quality and effectiveness”. That sounds simple, but it’s actually one of the more complex Scrum Events. Watch as our coaches, Pascal Papathemelis and Ebru Yalcinkaya, take a closer look at Retros. They start by walking through the basics, like the basic structure of this event and what the Scrum Guide says about it. Then, while interacting with the audience and drawing on their experiences and challenges, they dive deeper, covering useful formats, common pitfalls, and some tips for making this event truly enlightening and productive for your teams.

Read and Watch
Webinar: The Sprint Review

Webinar | The Sprint Review

In this webinar, we discuss the Sprint Review which is the most challenging Scrum Event according to our community. The symptoms are subtle and the causes deep: teams often fail to invite real customers, or they don’t know how to solicit and manage feedback. Our hosts, Dennis Büscher and Martin von Weissenberg, have facilitated, hosted and coached hundreds of Sprint Reviews, and in this webinar they share their insights, tips, and tricks with you. They begin with the basics and go over what the Scrum Guide says about the Sprint Review. Then they go a step further and share some of the most common pitfalls they’ve seen, as well as discuss best practices for getting the most out of this event. The webinar ends with a Q&A with our live audience.

Watch Now | Sprint Review Webinar

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Meet your webinar hosts

Martin von Weissenberg is an experienced enterprise-level agile coach who believes that with the right leadership approach and change management tools, organisations can learn to change themselves in a structured and sustainable way. He has worked across the software industry for over 20 years, in startups as well as multinationals. Since joining agile42 in 2012, he has helped a large and diverse number of clients. These include organizations such as Siemens, ABB, Swedbank, Helsinki University, as well as countless shorter training and coaching engagements with companies in the banking, media, educational, telecom and marketing industries.

Martin is always interested in learning new things. So much so that he is currently completing his PhD on how to organize and lead for agility. This coupled with his empathetic and engaging nature, makes him well suited to drive transformations for both teams and larger organizations.

Dennis Büscher comes from a legal, agile project management, and human-centred design background. For more than three years, he has been coaching various companies and institutions in the fields of design thinking and legal design. Dennis worked at the HPI Academy as a project manager and coach for digital transformation and innovation training. Since 2021, Dennis has been a coach at agile42, supporting companies and organisations in the field of agility. He aims to drive innovation and empower teams through his user-centric approach and with the meaningful application of technology.

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Facilitating Scrum online courses

agile42 offers Scrum courses, as well as:

Webinar | Sprint Planning

Sprint Planning sets the tone for the entire Sprint. It is absolutely crucial to ensure that this is done properly, because any issues you run into at this stage will have a knock-on effect throughout the entire Sprint. Birge Kahraman and Paul Bultmann have helped many organizations and teams establish Scrum Events and run them with great success. During the webinar, they outline what an effective Sprint Planning Event should entail, and guide you through the practical steps involved in facilitating one. They also share what works well in Sprint Planning, as well as a few traps to avoid, before opening the floor to some listener questions.

Watch now | Sprint Planning Webinar

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Meet your webinar hosts

Birge Elif Kahraman started her career in 2009 and worked as a project manager, Scrum Master, and Agile Coach. Before joining agile42, she coached various teams and companies in Telecommunication, Finance, Ecommerce, and Service domains. Birge supports teams in analyzing their impediments and reflecting on the next steps, creating a trustful environment where they can communicate and collaborate. She has a data-driven and pragmatic approach, which helps her tailor her coaching unique to the company culture and the reality of the teams.

As an Agile coach, Paul Bultmann wants to make the world a better place to work. He believes collaboration should be easy, fun and structured to be successful. For the past 10 years he has worked as Leader, Agile Coach, Scrum Master, Trainer and Project Manger. His passions and skills include Organisational Change, Agile Transformation and Team building.

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agile42 offers Scrum courses, as well as:

Webinar | Agile Certifications: New Year, New Opportunities

While the Agile journey is exciting, it can be overwhelming. In this webinar, our senior coaches Daniel Lynn and Giuseppe De Simone help to give you direction on this journey. They explore the many options and agile certifications available to you. They outline the Path to CSP as well as the many other qualifications and experiences that can help you along the way. When mapping out your path, our coaches explain that you should be guided by what you want to learn and how you want to grow. 

Watch now | Agile Certifications: New Year, New Opportunities

Stay in the loop about upcoming webinars by joining our mailing list 

Meet your webinar hosts 

Daniel Lynn started his career as a software engineer and found himself passionate about developing products inside of Scrum. He is an experienced Agile Coach with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and services industry. Daniel is passionate about what he does and helping others. 

Giuseppe De Simone is a Certified Scrum TrainerCertified Enterprise and Team Coach who is passionate about helping individuals, teams and organizations become more productive by embracing Agile values, principles and practices. Being an Approved Certified Agile Leadership and Path to CSP Educator, he is one of the very few in the world holding all the guide level certifications from Scrum Alliance. Giuseppe holds a Master degree in Electronic Engineering and started his career as a Software Developer. He became interested in how people can effectively work together and how teams can transform into an organism capable of delivering products and services which customers love. 

Browse the agile42 Agile Certifications

agile42 offers Scrum courses, as well as:

  • online Agile certifications;
  • Kanban training with certification from Kanban University;
  • ICAgile Agile Team Facilitation (ICP-ATF) and Agile Coaching Certification (ICP-ACC) training; and
  • Scrum Alliance Certified Agile Leadership training.
Design Sprint

Design Sprint: The Innovative Method from Google

A Design Sprint is a five-phase process developed by Google Ventures, which combines the principles of design thinking, business strategy, behaviour science, and innovation. When applied correctly, the process allows you to complete projects that would previously have taken months of back-and-forth in a single week. This allows you to launch new products, enter new markets, develop new features, and more, in a streamlined, cost-effective way.

Watch: Design Sprints Webinar

agile42 coach Dennis Becker sat down with Managing Director of ITR8 and Founder of We Start Academy, Philipp Scheller, in an agile42 webinar to talk about Google’s innovative Design Sprint method.

They covered the basics before diving deep into how to put the theory into practice in meaningful, effective ways. They shared their personal experiences with the method, exploring tangible, real-world examples. 

Watch the full webinar below. 

Five key takeaways from the webinar

1. Design Sprints vs Design Thinking 

“Design Sprints are Design Thinking on steroids”, remarked Philipp Schellar during the webinar. The two are not one and the same: Design Thinking is a mindset and way of thinking, while Design Sprints are a method designed to solve a specific problem in a short time. “It is crucial to be lighting fast,” Schellar continued. “This gives you the competitive advantage. It forces you to move forwards faster than anyone else”. 

Recommended for you: Design Thinking foundations online course

2. Design Sprints are not always the solution 

It may be tempting to use a method that offers innovative solutions at lightning fast speeds, but the fact is Design Sprints aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. There are some situations where a Design Sprint is not an appropriate method for problem-solving. These include: 

  • Problems with very broad questions: The method is best used for highly focused problems
  • Problems that can’t be solved in a single week: The method is only suitable for the kind of question that can be solved in the five-day process
  • Companies who don’t know and understand their customer very well: Since a design Sprint takes place in such a short time-span, you can’t waste time figuring out who the customer is 
  • Minor improvements: Design Sprints are not suitable for very minor, narrow, specific questions.  

3. Empathy is important in a Design Sprint

So many teams create fantastic products, but forget that they’re creating something for people. Empathy is a huge asset in a Design Sprint, because it helps one to understand what the journey of your user looks like, who you are creating products for, how people are using the products, and what value they find in the products. Empathy helps you to understand these needs and desires and build something great that people actually want to use. 

4. You need to make sure you start with all your research done

By the time you begin the Design Sprint week, you should already have a good sense of the customer, the problem you’re hoping to solve, and the specific question you want answered. There is simply no time to do this research during the sprint week. 

5. It’s important to treat your body well during a Design Sprint

Innovation can be exhausting, and it takes a lot out of you to be fully invested, creative, and engaged for the full duration of the Sprint. It’s important to take breaks and move your body. “We are so brain-oriented”, Philipp Scheller explained, “we totally forget that we have a body”. Make sure you treat your body with kindness – move, breathe, hydrate, and eat well – and you’ll be amazed at how much more clearly you can think.  

Design Sprint Training

If you want to learn more about Design Sprints, agile42 offers Design Sprint training

The course is led by seasoned professionals whose expertise lies in empowering people with the practical skills they need to be sustainably successful in a digital world. We focus on agile transformation, innovation management, design thinking, and product management.

This training is aimed at anyone who has to master complex challenges in their daily lives. This may include Agile coaches and product managers, team leaders, project managers, people in sales, managers, designers, agencies, brand managers, and marketing teams. If you would like to improve your decision-making skills, learn how to better coordinate teams, streamline client relations, improve business processes, or innovate in your market, this is the course for you.


Why is mentorship so important?

Mentoring is a relationship centred on personal or professional growth that aims to enhance your skills and help you gain experience in a certain area of your life or work. Many successful people have built part of their professional career on having a mentor. In my personal experience as a mentee, I have found that mentors can guide us through challenges we face, help us grow, and support our lifelong learning process. 

Quotes about mentoring

Read on to learn what mentoring is about, what makes it different to coaching, and how mentoring can help you achieve your goals. agile42 also recently hosted a webinar about all things related to mentoring, and you can watch it below.

What is mentoring?

Mentoring serves to transfer practical experience from one person (the mentor) to a less experienced person (the mentee). It is about the mentor sharing their relevant knowledge, experience, and skills while also providing guidance and support. This transfer of knowledge and building of experience is done through discussions, stories, sharing of anecdotes, and advising. Pairing up on practical matters at hand or practical demonstrations of procedures can also help to build up the mentee’s experience. 

Because mentoring is focused on the mentees’ personal and professional development, it usually is a long-term relationship which may also contain aspects of career or life coaching. A good mentoring relationship can be a powerful tool for growth, which could lead to a new job, a promotion, or even a better work-life balance. This is why it is never too late for starting a mentoring relationship – it is not limited to your onboarding phase when starting a new job or the early stage of your career.

WATCH: agile42’s Mentoring Webinar 

Agile coaches Ninja Granzow and Dennis Becker sat down to talk about their experiences and insights on mentoring, from the perspective of mentees. They answered the most pressing questions about mentoring: what is mentoring, and how does it differ from coaching? How can you set meaningful mentoring goals? They discussed the challenges in times of virtual collaboration, and how to nurture an effective mentoring relationship. Whether you’re a seasoned mentor, you have recently started a new job, or you are simply hoping to expand your skills, this webinar is worth a watch.

Coaching vs Mentoring: What’s the difference?

Mentoring is often confused with coaching, because a good mentor must also be a good listener and a good coach. And vice versa: coaches must sometimes act as mentors. As both coaching and mentoring provide similar benefits, there are a few key differences. To understand the differences, we need to explore what both coaching and mentoring are about in more detail.

What is coaching?

My personal coaching experience is as a Systemic Coach: in other words, a coach who works with the system. Systemic Coaching is non-directive, which means that it does not offer advise or direct solutions to problems. Rather, the focus is on asking the right open-ended questions, as well as providing trust, confidence, and space, for the coachee to have an effective and deep conversation and start to find their own solutions. 

The coachee usually has a need to address a specific theme or change, even if they cannot yet put this into defined words. The coach’s task is to help the coachee to define or refine this topic, reach their objectives and consider how to achieve more by finding capabilities within themselves. The information, interpretations, goals and actions all come from the coachee and the coach merely facilitates discovery through discussion. The approach to address the change is and remains up to the coachee. 

In professional relationships, coaching encourages individuals to perform in their roles, which often requires specific forms of coaching like Agile Coaching. Agile Coaching is the art of helping people see reality using an agile and lean perspective and change their paradigms, habits, and roles accordingly. It borrows a lot from Systemic Coaching. However, where the Systemic Coach is non-directing, the Agile Coach usually has an agenda of making the team more agile. As Agile Coaching has two very different sides (agility and coaching) there could also be teaching, role-modeling, advising, and mentoring involved in the process.

What is mentoring

How is mentoring different?

While coaching is about providing a safe space for a journey of self-discovery, mentoring is focused on transferring specific learnings from an experienced person to a person who wants to develop a specific area of interest. As an example, when I joined agile42, I was mentored by a more experienced Agile coach, who provided guidance and direction. In my own experience as a mentee, mentoring typically is less structured and more informal than coaching. Even though I recommend having a mentoring meeting agenda and goals at hand (and it is up to you as a mentee to put this together), coaching normally follows a more rigorous structure for having a conversation.

Why is it important to have a mentor?

For me, as a person committed to lifelong learning, it is helpful to have a mentor for staying focused in terms of my development path. There are so many interesting areas of learning, and I can easily get lost with too many options. I am grateful that I can regularly exchange ideas and thoughts with my mentor and get a different perspective on my plans and development.

Personal growth and development is about learning: learning new skills and behaviours, discovering blind spots, and constantly expanding existing knowledge. This makes both mentoring and coaching extremely effective learning techniques that can dramatically improve your individual growth and performance.

Being mentored could help to deal with situations you do not feel confident with because you have never done them before, lack insights, or need feedback. Mentoring helps with increasing confidence and developing interpersonal skills. This also includes exploring your comfort zone and expanding it step by step. You could learn from your mentor in order to prevent you from stepping into very common traps. 

From a company’s perspective, mentoring can increase employee engagement and retention, and also provides a great opportunity for mentors to learn more about different personality types, contexts, and points of view.

How to set mentoring goals

As a mentee, I found that achieving a goal was only possible after first getting to know my improvement areas, both short and long term, and across various aspects. I recommend asking yourself the below questions, and making notes on your responses:  

Skills and experience

  • What do you want to accomplish professionally in the next three months? 
  • What do you want to know or do within the next year?
  • Can you do it in your current role and with your current knowledge and experience? 
  • Are there any formal requirements you are currently missing?

Personal growth and development

  • What are you good at, and what are your major areas of improvement?
  • What do you want to focus on? Do you want to double down on your strengths or rather work on the things you find challenging?
  • What do you admire others for? How can you work towards those characteristics yourself?

You can start by brainstorming high-level dreams and then break down your lofty ideas into individual goals that you are more likely to accomplish through short-term learning cycles. 

There are a number of strategies and methods for defining your mentoring goals. 

SMART goals 

One strategy to create effective and realistically achievable goals is to use SMART goals. These are goals which are: 

  • Specific;
  • Measurable;
  • Achievable;
  • Relevant; and 
  • Timed.

The graphic below explains a little more about each aspect of a SMART goal:

SMART goals

Competency Mapping

Another option is a technique called competency mapping. It is easy to do and you could even create smart visuals like a matrix in order to create a living artifact you update regularly.

Here’s how to do it: 

  1. Start by listing all relevant tasks you need to be able to do, as well as the skills required to deliver these activities. You could also group competencies that are relevant to identify “core competencies”. This is a step where a mentor could provide direction and input.
  2. Next, run a self-assessment by comparing these competencies to your current experience. This allows you to identify areas of improvement which is a great input to define specific goals. You could easily combine this with using the SMART technique. 

Your mentor could also support you by guiding you through this assessment. When you have found suitable goals for yourself, your mentor can support you by helping you with the following:

  • What you explicitly need to achieve those goals. For example, is it about knowledge transfer or trying out certain steps to build experience? Expanding your comfort zone?
  • What small steps can you take towards the goal to make rapid progress?
  • Your mentor can report from their own experience and give suitable examples.
  • You can get “self-help” by asking your mentor to find helpful training.

Reflecting on goals 

Your mentor can help you to achieve your goals by constantly providing constructive feedback and guidance towards your goal. For example, I usually plan to revisit my mentoring process every 3-4 months or after I have reflected on bigger steps of personal development. Together with my mentor, we then talk about what to change or add. The more specific you can define your goals, the easier it will be to focus on the right things and also find a matching mentor .

How to choose a mentor

When choosing a mentor, one of the most important aspects is to find a person you trust. This is a good basis to open up and talk about your blind spots, improvement areas, and challenges you want to overcome. 

I believe that relationship-building and interpersonal skills are crucial in this context. Because this is a very individual thing, pay attention to your gut feeling. Who do you look up to in your network? Does this person have an honest and keen interest in helping you grow? Make sure this person sees mentorship as an option and not an obligation.

Mentoring should be built on solid and concrete advice, guidance, and first-hand experience, so your mentor also needs to have the knowledge and skills in the area in which you aim to grow. 

Last but not least, the right person should provide dedicated, long-term commitment. Based on my personal experience, a motivating, encouraging energy helps to spice up your development journey. A good mentor is also someone who is open minded and can learn from you as well – a good mentoring relationship is not a one-way street.

Do you need a great mentor? 

If you’re in a period of change or transition and you need to find the perfect person to guide you, get in touch! agile42 offers mentoring services, with certified mentors who are able to help you grow both personally and professionally. They can customise the offering to suit your specific needs, and provide professional guidance in any aspect of leadership, Agile, Scrum, and more.

Webinar: Human Factors in Agile Transformations

Are we paying attention to the important human factors of coherence, psychological safety, and trust that connect us in the virtual and physical spaces where we gather? In July, agile42 coach Michèle Twomey, alongside our special guest Sonja Blignaut from More Beyond, explored this question and some of the hybrid models we are testing that enable essential human contact during agile transitions.

Michéle kicked off our two-part series on "Human Factors in Agile Transformations". In her video interview, Michéle gave us her take on Gerald M. Weinberg's statement: “all problems are people problems”. She also delved into what human factors one needs to consider in agile transformations as well as her sources of inspiration in her own journey of understanding human factors.

Let's automate what needs to be automated and let's start thinking about where that human magic can really become valuable.

- Michéle Twomey

Next up, Sonja shared her insights on human factors within the realm of "complexity". She addressed the notion that, if we force too much change on people, we compromise their sense of coherence. Ultimately she believes we need to think about limiting the change in progress, the same way we limit work in progress within agile transformations. Listen to Sonja's video interview HERE.

Michéle and Sonja joined forces in our webinar on the 28th of July. The session raised many pressing issues we are currently facing, particularly around the expectation of always being available, always being online, and the important element of trust within the workplace. The audience had the opportunity to engage with their own questions, some of which included:

  • Given a new team who can only work remotely, what would you suggest to build trust?
  • I miss the spontaneous corridor discussions that have in the past been the space where the most impact has been made. Have you seen anything that could substitute this space in the current situation when we're all remote?
  • What do you think helps some people handle digitisation better than others?
  • How is the link between the personality type of the leaders vs the human factor taken into consideration or not?

In the same way you put in place WIP limits, you need to put in change in progress limits. It's like a dam with sleuths - if you don't think carefully about how much water you let out, you flood the downstream.

- Sonja Blignaut

If you missed out on the live session, we have the recording for you here - please feel free to share around with your network. 

Join our free agile42 Community and gain access to thousands of agilists from all over the world to share experiences, challenges, and ideas. A safe and moderated community of like-minded people, who share a passion for all things agile - organizational culture, lean and agile methods, coaching & more!

Please do get in touch with us should you have any questions - we would love to hear from you.

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photo of outer space

Webinar: Dave Snowden on Digital Transformation

June was all about "Digital Transformation". agile42 coach Martin von Weissenberg, alongside our special guest Dave Snowden, Founder and Chief Scientific Officer at Cognitive Edge, discussed the way agile and digitilisation are intertwined, and why it’s misleading to think of digitalisation as a one-time “transformation”

Martin got Part 1 underway with a video interview exploring what is a digital transformation and why it is necessary. Delving also into the organizational implications of a digital transformation.

Whilst agile is an enabler of digitalisation, we can also say digitalisation is an enabler of agility. 

- Martin von Weissenberg

In Part 2, the creator of the Cynefin framework and thought leader within complexity science and knowledge management, Dave Snowden, explained the role Agile plays in the context of a digital transformation & the organizational implications thereof. He also examined the social human impact of such changes.

On the 23rd of June we were treated to a thought-provoking webinar hosted by South African based agile42 coach, Peter Hundermark, along with Dave and Martin. The audience had the opportunity to ask their pressing questions in this Q&A-style panel discussion. Some of the questions covered included:

  • What is digital transformation?
  • Can agile enable digital transformation or the other way around? How do we see the connection/relationship between the two?
  • What is your opinion on digital transformation? Is it about technological risks? About literacy?
  • With many people now predominantly working from home, is this driving digital transformation or is there some sort of link?
  • How can we find the adjacent possible in a transformation based on attractions and systems tendency?

People confuse the adjacent possible with the adjacent, adjacent. They forget the possible. Adjacent possible is an evolutionary landscape. It's not what's next to us. It's also what's the next feasible state for the right energy input.

- Dave Snowden

If you missed out on the live session, we have the recording for you here - please feel free to share around with your network. 

Webinar: What makes a great Product Owner?

The theme for the month of May was Product Ownership. We had two of our agile42 coaches covering this topic, Daniel Lynn and Lothar Fischamnn. Daniel kicked off Part 1 with a video interview where he looked at what makes a great Product Owner, including how to handle a team looking for a list of tasks to complete as well as navigating those needy stakeholders. 

In Part 2, Lothar looked at why having a Product Vision is so important for a Product Owner and what we can learn from “Shark Tank”.

This culminated in a webinar on the 26th May, where Daniel and Lothar shared their thoughts and experience in a Q&A style session. The audience certainly gave them some challenging questions! 

Some of these included:

  • Do you coach/teach Product Owners to ruthlessly prioritize to drive better product/service focus?
  • There was a debate whether the Product Owner role is still required in Scrum. Any thoughts?
  • What would you say are the most important "watch-outs "or pit-falls as a Product Owner?
  • Can you be a PO across 2 teams working on multiple products or is that another role completely?

As always the hour flew by with many more discussions still to be had. This is why we have decided to launch a Lean Coffee event after each webinar where you can continue the conversation with two of our agile42 coaches. This provides an opportunity to address those remaining burning questions as well as meet like-minded people. Join our free agile42 Community to gain access to our monthly Lean Coffees as well as an array of other benefits. We hope to see you there!

If you missed out on the live session, don’t panic! We have the recording for you here - please feel free to share around with your network. 

Please do get in touch with us should you have any questions. We would love to hear from you.
Stay tuned to our social media platforms for next month's theme!

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