This question about exit criteria for Agile coaching came up in a recent Agile Meetup. Participants wanted to know how to determine when coaching is no longer needed. I flippantly responded with “when the budget runs out”, because that seems to be when most organizations stopped coaching.
One Meetup participant (who I previously coached) responded that the need for coaches is ongoing. As he put it, professional sports teams don’t outgrow their coaches, in fact, the higher the level the more coaching they get.
I tend to think that coaching is a short term intervention used to help people adopt new ways of thinking and behaving. My job is to empower people to be able to perform well on their own. As a result, I treat every coaching engagement as if I am working my way out of the job.
Is this shortsighted? In addition to the challenge of always having to find new coaching engagements, the downside of this approach is that it can be less effective for deep change of longstanding patterns of thinking or habits. Lasting organizational change can be quite slow and frequently people and organizations backslide. A coach that has been there for the long haul can help to remind and hold individuals accountable to their longer term goals and commitments.
What do you think? When is the job of agile coach done?