When the coach needs to go

“When you need me but do not want me, then I must stay. When you want me but no longer need me, then I have to go.”
— Nanny McPhee (via Lyssa Adkins

I am an Agile coach and the goal of my job is to put myself out of a job. 

My mission is to teach people Agile and to make sure they understand and correctly apply Agile values, principles, frameworks and techniques. This is quite a big deal as Agile often forces us to change the way we work on a daily basis; how we organise our work, how we collaborate, which tasks we perform and how we communicate with each other and the rest of the organisation.

Adopting Agile is quite an intense process, especially because it involves so much behavioural change. To make matters worse, learning does not progress in a linear fashion, it is more of a “two-steps-forward-one-step-back” process and it takes time. It is frustrating, painful and rewarding and as a coach it is my job to guide people through this experience. 

It is also my job to know when they are ready to take off the supporting wheels and to work on their own. It is my responsibility to recognise the point in time when they are safe to fly and let (sometimes force) them to do so. If I’m still coaching the same people after two years or things unravel when I go on a 4-week holiday I have made people dependent and have failed as a coach. 

So when am I done? When have I succeeded? Hard to say when you’re dealing with a process that has continuous improvement and therefore no end point at its core but I know for sure that I have succeeded when things not only work without me but keep improving after I have left.

I’m proudly leaving my current client. I won’t forget to tag off.

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Sandy Mamoli
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