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4 Stances of an Agile Coach

The Agile Coaching Competency Framework as introduced my Lyssa Adkins and Michael Spayd from the Agile Coaching Institute, is nowadays the defacto standard for competencies Agile Coaches need in their role. Due to its shape, it’s also referred to as the X-wing model:

Let’s have a closer look to the 8 areas:

Agile-Lean Practitioner

That is the ability to learn and deeply understand Agile frameworks and Lean principles, not only at the level of practices, but also at the level of the principles and values that underlie the practices enabling appropriate application as well as innovation.

For an Agile Coach, there is no alternative to being an Agile-Lean Practitioner! Walk your talk!

Domain Competencies

The 3 domain masteries are typically the areas where people come from and where they have their in-depth knowledge. Therefore, most people are strong in one of the masteries, while weak in the others. That’s ok. It’s important to know where you stand!

And it’s an opportunity to know about your Agile Coaches colleagues where they stand and to support each other.

Technical Mastery 

Technical mastery is the ability to get your hands dirty architecting, designing, coding, test engineering, or performing some other technical practice, with a focus on promoting technical craftsmanship through example and teaching-by-doing. And, expertise in agile scaling patterns or structures.

Business Mastery 

Business mastery is the ability to apply business strategy and management frameworks to employ agile as a competitive business advantage such as Lean Start-Up, product innovation techniques, flow-based business process management approaches, and other techniques that relate to innovating in the business domain.

Transformation Mastery 

Transformation mastery is the ability to facilitate, catalyze and (as appropriate) lead organizational change and transformation. This area draws on change management, organization culture, organization development, systems thinking, and other behavioral sciences.

Content and Process Competencies

Let’s focus next on the blue competencies: 

  • the ones on the right, Facilitating and Professional Coaching, are more focused on holding a process or space for people to bring their intelligence and creatively to tackle challenges, learn, and improve with their own ideas
  • the ones on the left, Teaching and Mentoring, are about imparting knowledge or content

An Agile Coach often changes these stances according to the situation at hand.


The Teacher has knowledge and experience and shares them usually with a group of people.

An Agile Coach can use this stance for spreading his Agile-Lean knowledge, e.g.: 

  • doing a Scrum training 
  • running a learning session about Pair Programming
  • introducing a new Team Member to the Scrum values
  • teaching a Product Owner models about prioritization


The Mentor has knowledge and experience and accompanies another person to become more proficient in his job. 

An Agile Coach can use this stance when sharing his personal experiences with a junior Scrum Master that he can try and learn that way.


The Facilitator of a workshop or meeting needs no knowledge of the topic the meeting is about. He creates space for discussion and decision making to take place within a reasonable time. He uses tools to create commitment and participation for the topic, hold focus during the session and finish with the targeted result. 

Professional Coaching

Also the Professional Coach needs no knowledge of the topic. He respects that the coachee is the expert of his situation and has all the knowledge he needs. The Professional Coach uses open questions that makes the coachee generate ideas and find solutions, that suit his situation best.


Use the Agile Coaching Competence Framework as a self check for your current status and find steps to go next:

Where do I stand?

What do I know already?

Where do I want to improve?

What would it mean to go from X to x+1?

How would I act differently? 

What will be my first steps?

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