Extraordinarily Badass Agile Coaching
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Extraordinarily Badass Agile Coaching

The Journey from Beginner to Mastery and Beyond

About the Book

About the Book

The profession of Agile Coaching is, in a word, confusing. That’s because of a number of factors, including:

  • It gets conflated with Professional Coaching;
  • There isn’t a standard or generally accepted model for what it is;
  • Clients don’t understand it, so they often ask coaches to do things they shouldn’t be doing;
  • There are a lot of specialized nuances around the various levels of coaching: Team, Enterprise or Organizational, Technical, and Leadership.

And because of this confusion, it’s created a space where nearly anyone can claim to be an Agile Coach with little experience and narrow skills. Resulting largely in mediocrity and negative impacts for our clients, who by the way, are counting on us for help.

Extraordinarily Badass Agile Coaching enters this space to help alleviate the confusion. It’s centered on the Agile Coaching Growth Wheel as the competency and skill model to baseline your coaching skills against. Its core goal is to “raise the bar” as to what excellent agile coaching looks like. I intentionally use the term Badass to create a vision of professionalism, craft, passion, accountability, and expertise that you need to bring to bear in service of your clients if you represent yourself as an “agile coach”.

Core Concepts

The book is strongly aligned with the Agile Coaching Growth Wheel as its primary model or framework. The key coaching stances (competencies) within the model include:

  1. Advising (Consulting)
  2. Coaching
  3. Facilitating
  4. Guiding Learning (Mentoring & Teaching)
  5. Leading

It also includes Self-Mastery at its core and Agile/Lean Practitioner, Serving, and Transforming as addition competencies.

Other key concepts include the Arc of a Coaching Conversation, Dojos for practice, Self-awareness, Continuous Reflection, Ethics and Agreements, and the Agile Coaching Mindset.

Table of Contents


Forewords iii

Acknowledgments ix

1 Introduction to Badassery in Agile Coaching

Section I Agile Coaching Basics 17

2 The Mindset of the Badass Agile Coach 19

3 Agile Coaching Frameworks 35

4 Badass Agile Coaching Agreements 51

5 The Badass Agile Coaching Arc 71

6 The Badass Agile Coaching Operating System 89

Section II Agile Coaching Models and Practice 107

7 The Agile Coaching Growth Wheel 109

8 An Agile Coaching Story, Part 1 129

9 An Agile Coaching Story, Part 2 151

10 Badass Metaskills for the Agile Coaching Growth Wheel 181

11 The Badass Agile Coach’s Guide to Coaching UP 195

Section III Nuanced Agile Coaching 217

12 Badass Agile Coaching in the Language of the Client 219

13 Badass Pair-Coaching 231

14 Badass Role-Based Coaching 243

15 Badass Context-Based Coaching 263

16 Situational Awareness as a Badass Agile Coach 277

Section IV Continuous Learning 293

17 The Badass Agile Coach’s Guide to Starting Your Day 295

18 Dojo Practice for the Badass Agile Coach 309

19 Setting Up a Badass Agile Coaching Community of Practice 321

20 Sharpening Your Badass Saw 331

About the Author 349 

Index 350


I took a slightly different approach with the EBAC book by inviting a handful of content contributors to share their thoughts in 6 chapters. I also some wonderful folks help with editing, artwork, and writing some very kind forewards. Here’s the team I'm incredibly grateful to.

  • Kimberly Andrikaitis (figures), I asked Kim to help me with PowerPointing all (most) of the figures used in the book. She did a great job helping me consolidate them from multiple sources and achieving consistency.
  • DeAnna Burghart (editor, formatting, indexing), what can I say about DeAnna? I’ve been fortunate to have her help in several of my previous book projects. And, to be honest, I couldn’t think of another editing partner I would rather work with.
  • Paddy Corry (Foreward), I met Paddy through his leadership in a Dublin-based agile group, where he helped me practice some of the books’ techniques. He was then kind enough to serve as a review and provide one of the forewords. I wanted them to be written by coaching practitioners (not consultants) and Paddy is indeed that.
  • Jennifer Fields (Chapters 14-15), I wanted to invite a pragmatic coach to share their experience and stories in the book. Someone who was “no-nonsense” but also compassionate. I could think of nobody better than Jen to share her in-the-trenches experience and she didn’t disappoint.
  • Don MacIntyre (Foreword), Don is someone that I deeply respect as an enterprise-level agile coach. He’s also held senior leadership positions and his experience largely mirrors my own. I was delighted when he agreed to write a forward.
  • Rhiannon Galen-Personick (Chapter 16), when I envision this chapter, there was nobody, virtually nobody, that I’d rather have writing it than my daughter Rhiannon. That being said, this is probably the hardest chapter to write because of the requisite care and nuance. I’m proud of what she contributed.
  • Mark Summers (Chapters 7-9), it was a no-brainer to ask Mark to contribute the core chapters on the Agile Coaching Growth Wheel because of his ongoing community involvement with its evolution. I was incredibly happy that he accepted and the book is so much better because of it.
  • Stuart Young (sketchnotes), I met Stuart at a local agile coaching retreat here in Chapel Hill ~2016. We invited him from the UK to provide sketchnotes for the event. And I was amazed at his ability to capture the energy in his work. When I envisioned the book, I thought of providing sketches as a way of amplifying the themes and Stuart has done an incredible job of doing just that.

About the Author

Robert Galen
Robert Galen

Bob Galen is an Agile Methodologist, Practitioner & Coach based in Cary, NC. In this role he helps guide companies and teams in their pragmatic adoption and organizational shift towards Scrum and other agile methodologies and practices. He is Director, Agile Practices at Zenergy Technologies, a leading agile transformation company. He is also President and Head Coach at RGCG a boutique agile coaching firm.

Bob regularly speaks at international conferences and professional groups on topics related to software development, project management, software testing and team leadership. He is a Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC), CAL I trainer, and an active member of the Agile & Scrum Alliances.

He’s published three agile focused books: The Three Pillars of Agile Quality and Testing in 2015, Scrum Product Ownership, 3’rd Edition in 2019, and Agile Reflections in 2012.  He’s also a prolific writer & blogger (at - www.rgalen.com ) and podcaster (at www.meta-cast.com )

Bob may be reached directly at: bob@rgalen.com or networking via: http://www.linkedin.com/in/bobgalen

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About the Contributors

Jennifer Fields
Jennifer Fields

Engagement Coach at Acklen Avenue

Jennifer began her agile journey as a developer and never looked back. Along the way, she added to her agile toolbox by working in a variety of roles—project manager, Scrum Master, product owner, and agile leader—each helping to solidify and strengthen her agile mindset and coaching chops. Her wide-ranging experience and time spent at the senior leadership table give her a keen ability to work with folks across organizations, meeting them where they are to help them get to where they long to be.

Dedication: Thanks to Bob for investing in and supporting my journey. 

Mark Summers
Mark Summers

Principal Coach, BeLiminal

Mark Summers believes happiness always comes first. He has learned through experience that if people are having fun, then anything is possible. 

Mark was one of the UK’s first agile coaches and today is a leading figure in the ongoing story of agile coaching, a speaker at conferences, a leader of retreats, and a coach who never stops reflecting and evolving. If you’re an agent of change, he believes you have to be on a continuous learning journey yourself.

Uncompromisingly honest with himself, energizing and thought-provoking as a coach, Mark is committed to helping people succeed by becoming happier, more open, and more autonomous as individuals and as teams.

Dedication: For my wife, Melanie, and our children, Lewis and Norah. 

Rhiannon Galen-Personick
Rhiannon Galen-Personick

Agile Coach & Scrum Master

Rhiannon comes from a different perspective, having spent the past 18 years as a social worker supporting child welfare. Rhiannon has worked both directly with clients and in a leadership role in several organizations. In her most recent role as a director of practice and professional development, she has worked alongside senior leadership and middle managers, supporting their growth through coaching and by being the energetic cheerleader we all need at times.

Rhiannon has worked extensively in the areas of diversity and race, creating curricula and training social workers on race consciousness, and helping many white social workers work toward a conscious acknowledgment of white privilege. Rhiannon has a deep passion for LGBTQIA+ advocacy and assists her organization in developing workers who use inclusive practices.

Dedication: I would like to dedicate this book to my family—my amazing partner, Ben, and our two children, Vara and Mika—and to the amazing team of people who have helped shape me— Perquida, Katie, Jo, and Chantel! 

Stuart Young
Stuart Young

Innovation Practice Lead

I’m a Certified Scrum Trainer and Visual Storyteller with a deep-rooted appreciation for methods of Design Thinking and Agile Ways of working.

As a Visual Thinking thought leader and practitioner within the Agile Community and beyond I endorse the use of Visual Thinking and Visual Storytelling to engage stakeholders, address customer needs, enhance team collaboration, and accelerate learning.

Facilitating a suite of Design Thinking, Visual Thinking, and Agile ways of working workshops I encourage teams to work more visually, making the intangible tangible, catalyzing customer-centric creativity, and driving product innovation.

I joined Radtac in 2015 where I continue to assist individuals, teams, and organizations with an array of Product Innovation and visualization services.

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