Companies of size require more than one coach for support. How does an organization know if coaching is worth the investment or not? During transformations, it’s common to structure coaches to focus on different parts of the organization based on their specialties (e.g., technical, executive, business/program), resulting in a hierarchical coaching model. Having a tiered coaching structure reduces visibility between the products’ outcomes and how things are implemented on the shop floor. With specialized coaches touching various parts of the organization, localized improvements may be achieved but a holistic view is lacking. Skylar and Allison found themselves frustrated and feeling minimized as agile coaches working where specialized and hierarchical coaching was the model being pushed.

In other engagements, Skylar and Allison would take a systems view to focus on practices with maximum impact to measurably improve teams and business outcomes by targeting coaching around specific products. Early conversations with a team may center on understanding what success for their product looks like and their current delivery capabilities. An approach of teaching agile practices from an organizational checklist shifts to determining what is preventing the team from delivering more value for the product and teaching techniques that help solve that problem.

Better organizational results can be achieved when coaches focus on helping teams meet their product goals. Skylar and Allison will share their experiences working in a hierarchical coaching model versus a product-based model and what they’ve learned along the way.

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