Navigating the Terrain – Agile Coaching vs. Systemic Coaching

In this second blog post about Systemic coaching we are putting our lenses on the difference between Agile coaching and Systemic coaching.
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Welcome to the second blog post of our five-part series on Systemic coaching in the context of Agile and Change Management.

Here is the full list of blog posts in this series in case you want to jump directly to one of the topics:

Agile Coaching vs. Systemic Coaching: Unveiling the Differences

In this post, we delve into the intricate distinctions between Agile coaching and Systemic coaching. We will address the Agile Coaching Dance which involves a series of stances and techniques aimed at fostering improvement in skills and practices. Systemic Coaching is one of these stances, rooted in a holistic understanding of organisational systems, places a strong emphasis on individual and collective potential.

Agile Coaching’s Change Agenda

Unlike Systemic Coaching, which operates on the coachee’s terms, Agile coaching often brings a predetermined agenda of change. As an Agile coach, your role extends beyond empowering individuals; it involves actively steering transformation initiatives. This might include implementing specific Agile frameworks, aligning teams, and driving organisational change as per pre-defined strategies.

Referencing our earlier post, where Systemic Coaching builds a safe space for exploration, Agile Coaching’s agenda-driven approach seeks to implement change proactively. This raises questions about balancing the coach’s direction with the coachee’s autonomy.

Coachee’s Willingness: A Pivotal Distinction

A fundamental difference surfaces in the coachee’s willingness to explore new territories. Systemic coaching respects the coachee’s autonomy, ensuring the coaching journey aligns with their aspirations. In contrast, Agile coaching often operates with a set agenda, intending to guide teams or individuals towards predefined objectives, frequently established in consultation with organisational sponsors.

Reflecting on our earlier post, where Systemic Coaching empowers individuals by actively involving them in the change process, this distinction becomes clearer. Systemic Coaching, by unlocking hidden potential, ensures that the coachee willingly navigates towards their goals.

The Agile Coaching Dance and Systemic Coaching: A Harmonious Blend

In practice, Agile coaches often find themselves striking a balance between being a subject matter expert and adopting systemic coaching approaches. This equilibrium, often referred to as the Agile Coaching Dance, involves seamlessly transitioning between teaching, mentoring, advising, facilitating, and coaching, depending on the coachee’s needs and the context of the coaching interaction.

Our previous post highlighted the Systemic Coaching principles, such as being target and solution-oriented, contextual, and resourceful. These principles provide an excellent backdrop for Agile coaches to enrich their coaching toolkit.

Next Steps: Fundamental Tools for Systemic Coaching

As we continue to explore the intricate dance between Agile and Systemic coaching, our next three blog posts will focus on fundamental tools for Systemic Coaching:

In conclusion, the synergy between Agile and Systemic coaching unveils a dynamic landscape of coaching methodologies. Recognising the nuanced differences empowers coaches to navigate diverse coaching scenarios effectively. Stay tuned for our upcoming posts as we dissect fundamental tools for Systemic Coaching, further enriching your coaching repertoire.

Embrace the power of coaching and be a catalyst for positive change in your organisation. Together, let’s foster a culture of continuous improvement and growth.


Agile coaching versus Systemic coaching

Related Blog Post


Which Competencies Should an Agile Coach Have?

In Agile transformations, the role of an Agile coach is often misunderstood. Many focus on processes and frameworks, neglecting the human aspects such as trust, relationships, culture, and psychodynamics. This post explores the key competencies an Agile coach should possess, emphasising the importance of acting more like psychologists, anthropologists, or sociologists rather than engineers. By balancing knowledge of Agile frameworks with an understanding of human dynamics, Agile coaches can empower individuals and teams to take ownership of their Agile journey and ensure sustainable, meaningful transformations.

Your Strategy for Asking Powerful Questions

Asking the right questions is a challenging task, especially when you do not want to impose your own opinion on the person or team you are coaching. In this fifth and final blog post about Systemic coaching we will explore the four question types of Karl Tomm.

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