Every moon, planet, and sun in the universe pulls on every other moon, planet and sun; the size and distance between the objects impact the degree of influence. Each object exerts a gravitational pull, the stronger the pull the bigger and deeper the pull, a gravity well. The organizational influence of that any individuals exerts is something akin to a gravitational pull. Each person is a gravity well and their pull influences those around them. How can we map the influence of a coach? The answer depends on whether we are talking about the influence on how work is being done or the influence on organizational goals. Hierarchically, coaches fit between IT management and the business and Scrum teams. Coaches exert influence on IT and business management who control organizational goals. They influence the Scrum teams who control how work is done. The amount of influence a coach exerts depends on how they are perceived within the organization. Coaches are part of the Agile gravity well between teams and management, drawing them both closer to the values and principles of Agile.
Agile coaches help teams and organizations embrace Agile and help maximize the delivery of business value. Coaches, whether internal or external, sit between IT management and the team acting as liaisons or middlemen. At times this can feel like limbo. By definition coaches do not belong to either group, but their job is to influence all layers of the Agile organization. Coaches exert influence both up and down the hierarchy. Coaches influence up the hierarchy – they help IT management refine their interpretation and implementation of the Agile principles. And down the hierarchy, Coaches influence teams by offering advice and ideas for implementing new techniques.
The greater the professional gravitas of the coach, the closer the coach can draw the Scrum Teams and management to the values and principles of Agile. Coaches need to manage how they are perceived within the organization. Professional seriousness and importance draw management and practitioners together so help change and motivate the organizations they support. Coaches help organizations and teams work better; they draw people together deepening the gravity well of Agile in organizations and teams.