Do You Need an Agile Coach or Consultant? What’s the Difference? | TechWell

Do You Need an Agile Coach or Consultant? What’s the Difference?

With agile’s built-in belief of always being able to improve the efficiency and cohesiveness of development teams, nobody ever truly reaches full agility. But there are people out there who can help you along the way.
As more and more people come on board and fully believe in the practice, agile becomes easier. But what about those who are looking to get an agile development project off the ground for the first time? What about those who’ve attempted agile in the past, but perhaps struggled with it?
It may be time to look into bringing in a consultant, or even an agile coach. Just make sure you know the difference between the two before making your investment.
The one striking difference between the two is that a consultant is there to offer advice, planning, and direction—perhaps to a team or even business leaders who need just that. Consultants tend to work best with those who know their desired goal but are simply lacking the knowledge of how to reach it.
On the other hand, an agile coach works directly with people, to empower them to reach results on their own while keeping teams aligned with agile’s core beliefs. JFD Performance Solutions, a coaching/consulting firm, details their coaching services as involving motivation strategies, recognizing and honoring successes, and helping people reach their own personal goals.
In the sports world, the role of the consultant doesn’t really exist. Professional athletes have been practicing their craft for their entire lives, and the sole goal of a team is clear—winning. Coaches on the other hand are invaluable, and the best ones are paid accordingly. Great coaches take a range of personalities, egos, and skill sets and motivate them individually and as a team to be more productive, and ultimately, more agile to the constantly changing landscape around them.
Unfortunately, over the years, the line between consultants, coaches, even ScrumMasters has become blurred, and some now use the terms interchangeably. With numerous organizations offering lightning-fast certifications, many are using the agile coach title, though few have the qualities that make them an effective coach—and not just an added cost.

Like coaches in sports, there are many agile coaches out there, but the ones who truly know what they’re doing and feel called to coach for more than just the money are few and far between.
What has been your experience when working with an agile coach? Did it add any real value to your team? Let us know in the comments section below!

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