New Lean-Agile Coach Self-Assessment - detailed descriptions v3
Lean-Agile Coach Self-Assessment v3
A) Assess your skills
B) Plan your improvement
C) Track your progress
Guidelines to a fine-grained self-assessment
of the skill you plan to improve.
Include detailed skills description
and suggestions for readings and training
(download the deck and look into the notes).
Guidelines for self-assessing your skills level
1) The levels you are going to identify for each one of your skills are personal and relative to you.
Using radars to compare a skill level between two coaches makes no sense: it’s like comparing
velocity between two teams. Radars are placeholders for a conversation, exactly like user stories,
between you and a mentor.
2) When you assess your level of a skill, remember the purpose is to identify and visualise
opportunities for improvement and to track your progress over time. Rating yourself too high or too
low would defeat the purpose. Below follows an example.
• Levels are cumulative, it means that a level, say level 3, implies you match everything is
described in level 1, in level 2, and in level 3.
• When you don’t match completely the description of a level, say level 2, you should rate yourself
below that level, for example 1 or 1.5.
• When you match the description of level 3 for a skill (i.e. facilitating), but you don’t match
something specified in level 2 description for that skill, do not rate yourself at level 3 or 2.
Instead rate yourself below 2, for example 1.5, do this with the goal to highlight the opportunity
for improvement that you have discovered at level 2.
Lean-Agile Coach Skills Levels
Level 0: Tourist
Never heard about that!
Level 1: Just starting
Rule based behaviour, strongly limited and inflexible
Level 2: Improving
Incorporates aspects of the situation and context
Level 3: Capable
Act consciously taking into account long term goals and plans
Level 4: Expert
Sees the situation as a whole and acts from personal conviction, invents and
introduces small scale innovations, personal improvement is self-sustaining
Level 5: Globetrotter
Has an intuitive understanding of the situation and zooms in on the central aspects,
has an easy and creative way of doing things, invents and introduces large scale
innovations to deal with truly unique situations.
(A) The coach helps individual team members and the team mainly during retrospective meetings. The coach listens attentively
to the client and engages with the client’s material. (B) The coach participates in forward-looking, non-judgemental
conversations and powerful questioning but should avoid the temptation to add value by simply fixing a problem. (C) The coach
sustains the team’s continuous improvement beyond lean-agile practice by inspiring a thought-provoking and creative process
of holistic exploration and discovery of improvements. (D) The coach practices basic content and outcome neutrality, letting a
team set its own goals and prioritise and commit to improvement actions. (E) The coach fosters connections between team
members and prospective coachees for the broader benefit of the rest of the organisation.
(A) The coach helps team members continuously improve soft skills, collaboration, ambiguity management, and lean-agile
mindset to help them become better members of a lean-agile team. (B) The coach effectively uses at least one professional
coaching framework and correctly employs the arc of a coaching conversation. (C) The coach consistently adopts a servant-
leadership approach, acts according to self-organising team principles, and embodies lean-agile values. (D) The coach attends
to the coachee agenda with forward-looking, non-judgemental conversations.(E) The coach is self-aware, aware of which set of
coaching behaviours to move away from and which to move toward, and avoids an attachment to his/her own performance.
(A) The coach professionally coaches at team level and helps a variety of individuals from different parts of the organisation
inside and outside IT to realise their full potential.
(B) The coach is proficient in active listening at different levels. The listening is focused on the client’s agenda and can adapt as
the client’s thinking changes.
(C) The coach can develop with the coachee an effective method of managing and measuring progress.
(D) The coach practices Socratic questioning and powerful questioning during coaching sessions.
(E) The coach surfaces and handles conflicts in a positive manner.
(A) The coach masters the coaching stance: maintains domain and outcome neutrality (honours coachee’s expertise, agenda,
and preferences); promotes independence and autonomy from the coach; and acts in a non-colluding way (doesn’t
accommodate dysfunctions or limitations and doesn’t act as a detrimental caregiver).
(B) The coach understands the key differences between internal, external, and third-party-sponsored coaching and acts
accordingly. (C) The coach effectively negotiates the coach role in different assignments within a given context.
(D) The coach effectively establishes a clear coaching-relationship agreement with coachees.
(E) The coach understands and takes into account the different types of teams and organisational cultures. The coach
understands and uses individual change models and processes and understands and uses one or more models for how teams
(A) The coach effectively coaches multiple teams and individuals from all parts of the organisation, including leaders and
executives. (B) The coach has had formal, professional coaching training and uses different professional coaching frameworks.
(C) The coach is able to negotiate coaching relationships even in difficult and ambiguous situations.
(D) The coach is a reliable and trustworthy mirror for team and individual self-reflection, self-improvement, and self-actualisation.
The coach’s communication frequently uses the client’s learning, thinking, and creative style.
(E) The coach organises and drives co-coaching within the organisation to learn improved coaching techniques and to develop
the organisation’s internal coaching capability. The coach invents and introduces large-scale innovations.
(A) The facilitator can facilitate some of his/her team’s lean-agile ceremonies (standard meetings/events expected by a
framework), starting with the simplest and more frequent ones such as stand-ups.
(B) Facilitators typically work in pairs or with help from team’s Scrum Master (or equivalent roles).
(C) The facilitator effectively applies the process and protocols defined by the framework for each ceremony.
(A) The facilitator can autonomously facilitate all sprint/iteration ceremonies. When faced with situations he/she is not equipped to
handle, the facilitator knows how to call in a more experienced facilitator or the team’s Scrum Master.
(B) The facilitator identifies dysfunctional behaviours and patterns in ceremonies and manages them respectfully and effectively.
(C) The facilitator strives for inclusive participation, shared understanding, and collective sense making and decision making.
(D) The facilitator consistently adopts a servant-leadership approach and displays behaviours that come with lean-agile mindset.
(A) The facilitator can effectively facilitate every lean-agile team in the organisation, even those unknown to him/her.
(B) The facilitator assesses a team’s characteristics and maturity and chooses the facilitation style that best suits it.
(C) The facilitator achieves inclusive participation, mutual understanding, consensus building, and collective sense making,
decision making, solutioning, and actions planning.
(D) The facilitator maintains neutrality in ceremony content and outcome. He/she pursues team priorities, agenda, goals, and
definitions of success.
(E) The facilitator navigates conflicts and deals effectively with difficult personalities, dysfunctional dynamics, conflicting needs,
(F) The facilitator masters different facilitation techniques from room setup to working agreements, group activities, and info
(A) The facilitator manages small group meetings (ad hoc events that require ad hoc structure, format, and facilitation) and multi-
team ceremonies with familiar attendees as well as external clients.
(B) The facilitator can guide complex ceremonies that span multiple days with attendees from the whole organisation, such as
inception meetings (creation of a product/release vision from idea to first roadmap).
(C) The facilitator employs a variety of appropriate meeting tools to fit group size, composition, goals, and timing.
(D) The facilitator pairs with and supports aspiring facilitators among team members to promote team autonomy and
(A) The facilitator delivers ad hoc facilitation to large groups of external clients for a variety of meetings, including public events.
(B) The facilitator naturally adapts facilitation style and process to changing circumstances and unexpected events.
(C) The facilitator confidently and respectfully handles every type of difficult personality, conflict, and behaviour.
(D) The facilitator supports meeting preparation. He/she easily cuts through ambiguity to clarify objectives, expected outcomes,
and success criteria. He/she identifies required attendees and ensures that they attend. He/she can easily design suitable meeting
processes and follow-up activities. He/she invents and introduces large-scale innovations.
(A) The mentor can articulate the lean-agile framework in use and the responsibilities and duties of each role.
(B) The mentor advises team members new to the lean-agile framework about the responsibilities and duties of their
roles as described in the chosen framework.
(A) The mentor advises team members on the adoption of a lean-agile way of working, incorporating specific aspects of
the team context and circumstances.
(B) The mentor advises more experienced team members in his/her own area of lean-agile domain mastery (i.e.,
technical or business/product development).
(A) The mentor embodies lean-agile values and principles and can advise team members on the lean-agile mindset.
(B) The mentor advises experienced teams, managers working with the team, and business stakeholders who are new
(C) The mentor incorporates elements of domain and outcome neutrality and non-collusion.
(D) The mentor practises active listening at different levels, non-violent communication, and empathy.
(E) The mentor practises dialogic learning principles, Socratic questioning, and powerful questioning.
(F) The mentor understands the individual change cycle and uses one or more models for individual change.
(A) The mentor advises individuals from all teams and departments in an organisation that has embarked on a large or
complex journey toward lean-agile excellence. He/she can advise individuals and teams experienced in lean-agile on
advanced topics. (B) The mentor understands the team change cycle and uses one or more models for team change.
He/she identifies the team’s current level of development and adopts key methods to help a team to advance to the next
level. He/she knows the key characteristics of high-performing teams and organisations.
(C) The mentor can deliver complex assessments at team, department, and organisation levels for various aspects of
lean-agile adoption. (D) The mentor masters neutrality, independence, and non-collusion.
(E) The mentor uses one or more professional mentoring frameworks, and practises with confidence the arc of a
(F) The mentor designs effective mentoring relationships and helps through continuous improvement.
(A) The mentor creates learning organisations and instils the continuous-improvement mindset. (B) The mentor helps
others to learn, grow, and become better professionals, thereby advancing their careers and their teams’ results.
(C) The mentor builds capability and autonomy in the mentee, in the team, and in the organisation. (D) The mentor
masters dialogic learning and asks revealing questions. (E) The mentor is an independent and trustworthy mirror that
acts as an external validator and enables mentee self-reflection and self-actualisation. (F) The mentor masters one or
more relevant competency models of his/her profession. (G) The mentor masters and mixes competencies from the
teaching/training competency area and professional coaching. (H) The mentor has had formal mentoring training.
He/she knows and uses different mentoring frameworks. He/she can invent and introduce large-scale innovations to
deal with unique situations.
(A) The teacher trains his/her team members and familiar co-workers while paired with an experienced trainer, who
provides the teacher with the agenda, timing, content, and format to follow.
(A) The teacher assesses the level of the class and attendees and introduces small adaptations to his/her delivery
to match their level.
(B) The teacher can gauge the attention, energy, and engagement of the class during training.
(C) The teacher practices active listening and verifies that the attendees understand the content.
(D) The teacher identifies key concepts and learning objectives in the content, and strives to communicate them
clearly and concisely.
(A) The teacher successfully delivers training classes autonomously and consistently receives positive feedback.
(B) The teacher is aware of the goals of the training for the organisation, for the training sponsor, and for attendees.
(C) The teacher is aware of the success criteria of the training, its expected benefits, and how it fits with the overall
picture. (D) The teacher can spontaneously adapt learning objectives, content, agenda, and delivery to meet goals
and success criteria. (E) The teacher actively manages the attention and energy levels in the class, adapting
delivery and delivery patterns. (F) The teacher adopts tools and techniques to increase the engagement, active
participation, learning, and retention of attendees.
(A) The teacher is comfortable in delivering workshops to an unfamiliar audience (as opposed to internal training)
and to larger groups. (B) The teacher plans workshops with stakeholders’ goals and success criteria in mind, takes
care of follow-up communications after the workshops. (C) The teacher receives positive feedback, and strives to
collect feedback to improve the training material and delivery.(D) The teacher participates in developing and
updating workshop content. He/she mixes and matches training techniques and designs new training to grow the
engagement and active participation of attendees. (E) The teacher empathises with attendees, actively listens at
different levels, and masters dialogic learning and Socratic questioning.
(F) The teacher easily and creatively adapts delivery style, training agenda, and activities to class and attendees.
(G) The teacher knows accelerated-learning principles and techniques to design and deliver training.
(A) The teacher consistently receives positive feedback for the interactive and engaging nature of the training
delivery, for the quality of the content, for the quality of the collaboration, for the safety of the environment, and for
the effectiveness of the class.
(B) The teacher continually improves his/her training skills by collecting feedback and improving in key areas.
(C) The teacher masters accelerated-learning principles and techniques.
(D) The teacher creates relevant, exciting training classes, training techniques, and exercises. (E) The teacher pairs
with and assists others in becoming great trainers. He/she invents and introduces large-scale innovations.
(A) The practitioner has experienced lean-agile way of working with one team in an organisation that has intermediate
experience with lean-agile, and so has experienced one lean-agile framework.
(B) The practitioner understands and has experience with his/her role’s responsibilities, expected outcomes, and
participation in the main ceremonies. (C) The practitioner deals with novel and difficult situations with support from
experienced facilitators, coaches, ScrumMasters, or equivalent roles.
(A) The practitioner has experience with at least one lean-agile framework in two or more distinct teams, in two or more
(B) The practitioner can articulate and present all roles, responsibilities, artefacts, and ceremonies of a lean-agile team.
(C) The practitioner has experience with good multidisciplinary cross-functional teams, deep collaboration, and shared
responsibilities. (D) The practitioner makes small adaptations to situation and context, and knows when and how to
involve a more experienced coach or ScrumMaster to deal with a challenge.
(A) The practitioner understands and has experience with different lean-agile frameworks at technical, team, and
business levels in different teams, different organisations, different organisational cultures, and different industries.
(B) The practitioner understands and has experience with stable product teams, self-organisation, fluid roles, and
dynamic adaptive responsibilities. (C) The practitioner enacts lean-agile values, principles, and mindset.
(D) The practitioner strives for continuous improvement, identifies improvements and useful adaptations for his/her role
and for the whole team, and considers short-term and medium-term goals.
(A) The practitioner has a few years of hands-on experience in developing, delivering, supporting, maintaining, and
evolving digital products with lean-agile. (B) The practitioner has mastered many lean-agile frameworks and a multitude
of lean-agile practices. (C) The practitioner knows and clearly articulates the hows, that whats, and the whys of every
practice, and in which context each practice best fits.
(D) The practitioner understands and applies the theory behind lean-agile ways of working and related organisational
theories like systems thinking, complex adaptive systems, cynefin, queue theory, constraints theory, etc.
(E) The practitioner guides less experienced team members and teams in lean-agile ways of working.
(A) The practitioner has several years of hands-on experience in developing, delivering, supporting, maintaining, and
evolving digital products with lean-agile. (B) The practitioner understands and has experienced of what “good” looks
like for any of the various lean-agile practices. (C) The practitioner is able to effectively tweak and adapt lean-agile
frameworks and practices and pre-lean-agile practices for specific contexts and circumstances.
(D) The practitioner innovates practices that are consistent with lean-agile principles and values, and appropriately uses
them when known approaches don’t work well enough.
(E) The practitioner assesses technical, business, or organisational agility. He/she quickly understands the situation and
instinctively zooms in on the central aspects. He/she suggests relevant actions and meaningful options for
Lean-Agile Technical Mastery (current or past)
(A) The expert uses basic technical practices associated with lean-agile software development such as unit testing
and basic refactoring, and follows the rules in simple situations although in complex situations may require help from
(A) The expert effectively uses practices associated with lean-agile software development such as test automation,
continuous integration, and main refactoring while following the team’s guidelines.
(B) The expert adapts to small changes in situation and context, and knows when and how to bring in a more
experienced software developer or tech lead to deal with a challenge.
(A) The expert effectively and autonomously uses most practices associated with lean-agile software development,
including solid/clean coding, simple/emergent/continuous design, pair programming, cross-functional collaboration,
collective code ownership, transparency, continuous refactoring, iterative development, continuous-flow software
development, continuous delivery, and the like.
(B) In situations of medium complexity, the expert consciously takes into account short and medium-term goals.
(C) The expert improves the team’s coding standards and guidelines, and seeks to reduce technical debt.
(A) The expert effectively practices the large majority of practices associated with lean-agile software development in
large and legacy code bases. He/she sees the situation as a whole and holistically decides upon tactical and strategic
decisions.(B) The expert clearly communicates opportunities, short-term and medium-term consequences, and
business impact of technical decisions to the business, and can assess the technical impact of business decisions.
(C) The expert accurately evaluates the impact of technical decisions at individual, team, business, and organisation
(D) The expert supports and guides less-experienced software developers and is a trusted member of the team.
(E) The expert focuses on promoting technical craftsmanship as a means to create valuable business outcomes.
(A) The expert is a confident, effective team technical leader for complex products that are part of a broader digital
ecosystem. He/she understands the role of IT in business and in the organisation, and acts accordingly.
(B) The expert has mastered lean-agile software-development practices and has personal experience with what
“good” looks like for those practices.
(C) The expert can assess technical decisions, practices, processes and implementations. He/she quickly
understands the situation and instinctively zooms in on the central aspects. He/she suggests relevant actions and
meaningful options for improvement.
(D) The expert mixes and tailors advanced techniques and introduces innovations, matching them to context and
(E) The expert deeply understands and has hands-on experience with the fundamentals, strives for simplicity, and
intuitively spots and removes over-engineering.
Lean- Agile Business & Product Mastery
(current or past)
(A) The expert uses basic practices associated with lean-agile product ownership, such as writing user stories, backlog
grooming, prioritisation, iteration/sprint planning, and burn-up/down charts.
(B) The expert understands and has experience with product-owner (PO) and business-analyst (BA) responsibilities, expected
outcomes, and facilitation of main requirements/planning team ceremonies. (C) The expert deals with novel and difficult
situations with support from experienced POs, agile BAs, coaches, ScrumMasters, or equivalent roles.
(A) The expert, following company guidelines, employs practices associated with lean-agile POs, such as backlog management
(e.g., impact mapping, story mapping), sprint goal, sizing, and customer engagement.
(B) The expert adapts to small shifts in situation and context, and knows when and how to bring in a more experienced PO,
agile BA, coach, etc., to deal with a challenge.
(A) The expert effectively and autonomously uses most practices associated with lean-agile product ownership, including “just in
time”, “good enough”, incremental requirements, process analysis, stakeholder management, product envisioning, and inception
meetings. (B) In situations of medium complexity, the expert accounts for short-term and medium-term goals.
(C) The expert contributes to improving team and company PO practice, and strives to promote prioritisation of high-value work
over low-value work, explorative experiments, learning speed, collaboration, and reduction in the cost of change.
(A) The expert uses the majority of practices associated with lean-agile POs in complex organisations, including
business/product architecture, analysis of market and competitors, pricing, sales, business, and financial analysis. He/she
understands the situation and holistically makes tactical and strategic decisions.
(B) The expert articulates business opportunities, short-term and medium-term consequences of business decisions,
technological opportunities, and business impact of technical decisions.
(C) The expert evaluates the impact of work prioritisation on teams, product, portfolio, and organisation.
(D) The expert applies business strategy and management frameworks, product-innovation techniques or other business-
process-management approaches, and other techniques that relate to innovating products (e.g., lean startup, lean UX),
processes, and operations. (E) The expert guides less-experienced agile BAs and POs and is a trusted member of the team.
(F) The expert relentlessly promotes prioritisation, exploration, learning, and collaboration, and has experience with technical
craftsmanship as a means to reduce cost of change, create opportunities, and create valuable business outcomes.
(A) The expert is a confident and effective product leader at company level for complex products that are part of a broader
portfolio and digital ecosystem. He/she understands the role of digital-product development in the organisation and its relation to
IT, and acts accordingly. (B) The expert assesses strategies, priorities, progress, practices, processes, and implementations.
He/she quickly understands the situation and instinctively zooms in on the central aspects. He/she suggests relevant actions
and meaningful options for improvement. (C) The expert tailors advanced techniques and introduces innovations for a given
context and situation.
(D) The expert deeply understands and has hands-on experience with the fundamentals, strives to maximise the creation of
value, promotes exploration of opportunities, intuitively spots and removes barriers to collaboration and learning, reduces the
cost of change, and balances product portfolios.
Lean-Agile Organisational & Transformation Mastery
(current or past)
(A) The expert has experienced different organisational lean-agile cultures, paradigm shifts related to lean-agile mindset, and
agility at business and organisation level. He/she understands and applies lean-agile theory for organisations, including systems
dynamic, complex adaptive systems, and cynefin.
(B) The expert works effectively with senior managers and leaders.
(C) The expert understands the organisational change process and uses one or more models for it.
(D) The expert guides organisational assessments with proficiency in the assessment dimensions, modalities, and processes.
The dimensions include culture, organisational structures and processes, business alignment and agility, technical practices,
leadership maturity, change readiness, and business goals of the change.
(A) The expert contributes to assessments, design strategy, and contracting for change.
(B) The expert identifies and addresses organisational impediments: strategic, structural, cultural, and educational.
(C) The expert contributes to the development of a tailored, intentional change process that engages the whole system.
(D) The expert brings the lean-agile mindset to change and ensures that the change processes do not get used in a traditional,
top-down, phase-gate, or check-off-the-Gantt-chart ways.
(E) The expert instils lean-agile values, principles, and mindset throughout the change process.
(A) The expert promotes business agility thinking, and extends business and organisational agility thinking, mindset, practices,
and values to the complex and uncertain enterprise environment.
(B) The expert creates credible business cases for change and clearly articulates business benefits.
(C) The expert works with confidence and credibility with executive teams.
(D) The expert drives assessments, the design of transformation or enablement options, and the contracting for change.
(A) The expert successfully practices lean-agile coaching at enterprise scale.
(B) The expert has mastered change management, organisational development, and management consulting, and is aware of
behavioural-science theories and models for teams and organisations.
(D) The expert promotes organisational change, leadership capacity development, and paradigm shifts.
(E) The expert facilitates, catalyses, and drives and support organisational change and transformation.
(F) The expert helps less-experienced enterprise coaches and transformation leads.
(A) The expert confidently and effectively leads in the fields of enterprise coaching and organisational transformation.
(B) The expert assesses enterprise coaching strategies and transformation programs. He/she quickly understands the situation
and instinctively zooms in on the central aspects. He/she suggests relevant actions and meaningful options for improvement.
(C) The expert helps the organisation to build its internal enterprise coaching and lean-agile transformation.
(D) The expert tailors advanced enterprise coaching and organisational-transformation techniques, and adapts innovations for
context and situation.
(E) The expert deeply understands and has hands-on experience with the fundamentals, strives for modern approaches to
organisational growth and ways of working, and establishes effective coaching relationships to help organisations and leaders to
reach their full potential and to foster beneficial interdependent collaborations.
Radars deck: in Slideshare, Link
Simplified descriptions deck: in Slideshare, Link
Detailed descriptions deck (this): in Slideshare, Link
InfoQ article about this self-assessment: Link
Thanks for their precious contributions to:
- Malcolm Beaton, Head of Delivery
- Jon Sleeper, Agile and Business Coach
- Laura Re Turner, Coach and Trainer
- Simon Powers, Adventures With Agile (AWA)
- Simone Zecchi, Scrum Master
- Robert Sprigge, Senior Agile Business Analyst
- Derek Winter, Agile Coach
LUCA MINUDEL - LEAN-AGILE COACH & TRAINER
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
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CARLO BESCHI - AGILE-LEAN PRACTITIONER AND COACH
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
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