Agile Coach Certifications and ACI

by Lyssa on January 26, 2013

The mission of Agile Coaching Institute has always been to develop agile coaches into the change agents we know they want to be, and that today’s organizations desperately need.  To this end, we have focused on creating a “pathway” for agile coach development and have been working over the past two years with certification organizations.  Our dream is that there is a common set of competencies across certification organizations that can be used by multiple training providers as a single point of reference, just as it is done with integrity and rigor in the professional coaching world (for example, see the Competencies and Ethics defined by the International Coach Federation).

While we won’t count chickens before they are hatched, we see some awfully good looking eggs out there.

Michael and I kicked off 2013 by participating in a working group, hosted by ICAgile, to create the themes and learning objectives for the Enterprise Agile Coach level.  That work is on-going, but the initial in-person sessions were exceptionally productive and I like where we’re headed.  I think you will, too.  We were joined by Pete Behrens, one of the creators of the Scrum Alliance’s Certified Scrum Coach designation, who brought a wealth of knowledge and cross-pollination.

In 2011, Michael and I participated in a working group, again hosted by ICAgile, to create the themes and learning objectives for the Agile Team Facilitator (read basic ScrumMaster) and Agile Coach levels.  That work is being refactored a bit, but the learning objectives will remain quite similar to what is currently published. Learn More.

ICAgile’s learning objectives are under Creative Commons which means that ICAgile wants other organizations to use them.  Nothing proprietary there.  That’s one reason we like working on this — it brings us one step (possibly) closer to our dream of a common set of competencies we can all use.

Scrum Alliance
We intend that our courses will be part of the Scrum Alliance’s learning path to help people achieve their Certified Scrum Professional (CSP) and their Certified Scrum Coach (CSC) designations.  The Coaching Agile Teams (CAT) class is being considered as one of the courses you could choose to attain your CSP.  One step at a time…we’ll let you know when there is specific progress to report, which we expect will be soon.

Not your typical certifications
Note that what both ICAgile and the Scrum Alliance have in mind are multi-step credentials.  There is no “take one class and get blessed” idea here.  All of these credentials will be harder to attain than the entry-level designations like CSM.   When you take one of our courses, you will receive a “class certification,” which is one important step of several toward attaining a certification.  Further details will be available from ICAgile and the Scrum Alliance as those organizations further clarify these new pathways.

What if I don’t care about certifications?
If you don’t care about certifications, then don’t worry about all this shuckin-and-jivin.  Just use the learning objectives defined as a guide for your own learning path. Take the courses and do the reading that’s going to benefit you the most, knowing that you have an industry reference-point to help you know what you don’t (yet) know.

What if I’m one of the people ACI has already trained?
If you are one of the 1,000+ people who have invested your learning path with ACI, know that we have been thinking about you.  What you have already learned applies.  Nothing is wasted.  On the other side of the coin, there is more learning to attain.  As the certification edition of the CAT class expands to 3-days of material, there will be additional learning topics to cover.  For CAT, we envision offering interactive, distance learning sessions to “pick up” additional topics that make up the extra day’s worth of material.  We have a couple different formats envisioned and will seek your input soon.

How will we work this in 2013?
In 2013, our standard offering is the 2-day CAT class, with the option to take the distance-learning portion for the “3rd day” topics to attain the class certification.  We will offer the 3-day CAT version only when specifically requested and supported by a corporate client.  We are taking a Lean Start-Up approach, so right now this is a working hypothesis.

ACI’s bar is even higher
Well beyond what is currently envisioned with the certification organizations, ACI envisions what it means to be competent as a transformational agile coach, our speciality.  We, ourselves, have been through certification programs in the professional coaching world that truly build competence and raise one’s level of leadership and presence. We know how to create this type of certification immersion for our students.  We imagine a select few will care to develop that high level of competence, and our job is to serve them.  We like to think of this group of agile coaches as akin to the Navy Seals or the Green Berets.