The Agile Coaching Institute was founded by Lyssa Adkins and Michael K. Spayd in 2010. After establishing a strong agile coach training and development program — and earning the reputation as the thought leaders in the field of agile coaching — in 2013 we expanded our platform, completing the base agile coach curriculum (with The Agile Facilitator), adding new agile leadership offerings based on demand from coaches we had taught (adding Michael Hamman), and envisioned a more comprehensive organizational coaching offering, culminating with the release of the foundation of Michael Spayd’s book, Coaching the Agile Enterprise (Addison-Wesley). In 2014, we further expanded these offerings with the ultimate coach training — Agile Coach Bootcamps — plus workshops for managers and executives , and a new exploration of an Integral approach to Agile Enterprise Coaching, the Integral Agile Bootcamp. In 2015, we introduced a public class for managers, Managing Agile Environments and the Competency Cohort, a certification for Agile Coaching mastery.
The mission of ACI is to create and develop transformational leadership and leaders. We do this by evoking and catalyzing the growth and development of Agile Coaches and Agile Leaders as agents of organizational (and societal) transformation. We combine education, coaching, mentoring and consulting within an Integral and transformational framework to provide a rich program of training and mentoring, as well as thought leadership, in the emerging fields of Agile Coaching and Agile Leadership.
Lyssa’s book, Coaching Agile Teams, has set a new high water mark for the practice of Agile Coaching. Michael’s work in the area of Agile enterprise transformation has shifted the discussion to the broader organizational world of culture, change and leadership. Michael’s forthcoming book, Coaching the Agile Enterprise, will take the industry one giant step further. Both trained in the world of professional coaching, Lyssa and Michael have combined to help take the world of Agile Coaching to a new level of potential and professional rigor. To help us grow our impact, we have added a wonderful colleague, Michael Hamman, a specialist in agile leadership.
Since 2004, I have taught Scrum and Agile Coaching to well over a thousand students, coached many agile teams, and served as master coach to scores of apprentice coaches. In both one-on-one settings and small groups, I enjoy a front-row seat as remarkable agile coaches emerge and go on to entice the very best from the teams and organizations they coach. With ACI, I have had the pleasure of training over 2,000 people in the skills and mindsets of great agile coaching. Prior to agile, I had more than fifteen years of expertise leading project teams and groups of project managers (I was even a PMO Director — twice!), yet nothing prepared me for the power of agile done simply and well. I believe that agile is more than an alternate project management methodology and I am passionate about deepening the roles in agile – specifically agile coach and agile manager – to help agile move into its fullest expression. I hold an alphabet soup of certifications: Certified Scrum Coach (CSC), ICAgile Expert in Agile Coaching (ICE-AC), SAFe Program Consultant (SPC), Project Management Professional (PMP), Six Sigma Green Belt (SSGB), Organization and Relationship Systems Certified Coach (ORSCC) and Associate Certified Coach (ACC). I am also a trained Co-Active Coach and Leader. In 2010, I authored Coaching Agile Teams: A Companion for ScrumMasters, Agile Coaches, and Project Managers in Transition.
Michael K. Spayd
In a word, my professional work is about transformation. I have found that I am wired to help people–and systems–change. I am drawn to cutting edge ‘technologies’ for coaching and developing organizations, leaders and teams. As an organizational change coach and consultant for 20 plus years, I have worked with Fortune 1000, small businesses and non-profits. For 13 years I have specialized in large-scale Agile transformation, working with numerous organizations, leaders, and scores of teams.
My training as a Team and Organizational Coach created a foundation for my approach, plus training in executive coaching, organizational behavior, organization change and consciousness transformation. A Co-Active leadership program was particularly influential in my own leadership journey, and in coaching others on theirs. Formal credentials include Certified Organization and Relationship Systems Coach (ORSCC), Certified Professional Facilitator (CPF), ICAgile Expert in Agile Coaching (ICE-AC), SAFe Program Consultant (SPC) and Certified Scrum Master (CSM). I am currently working on a book in the Mike Cohn series called Coaching the Agile Enterprise. An excerpt of that book, introducing the Integral Agile framework, was released in January 2014.
For most of the past 25 years, I have committed myself to the possibility that the workplace be a site for personal, professional and social transformation. Trained early on in coaching and large group facilitation with Werner Erhard and Associates, I went on to train in systems thinking, facilitation, organization development, and leadership development with Peter Senge, Peter Block, Thomas Leonard, Otto Laske, Marvin Weisbord, and with the Leadership Circle. For 12 years I developed software, and coached and trained software teams in the beauty of design and teamwork.
Cynthia Loy Darst
Named “One of the Top Ten Most Influential Coaches in the U.S.,” Cynthia Darst is playful and inspiring, working with all kinds of people to move them past limitations and into action. She was one of the first to gain the designation of Master Certified Coach (MCC) by the International Coach Federation (ICF), was a founding leader for The Center for Right Relationship and The Coaches Training Institute, as well as being one of the founders of the ICF. Darst maintains a full roster of private clients including entrepreneurs, entertainment industry executives and corporate executives at Boeing, American Express, Wells Fargo, and Ernst & Young, among others. Cynthia co-created The Coaching Stance course with ACI and lends her expertise to co-lead that course for ACI.
David Chilcott has an unusual set of skills that encompasses both the deeply technical and the deeply human aspects of software development. In addition to his background as a system architect, software developer and agile coach, David holds a degree in group dynamics, and has completed formal training in creative problem solving, advanced facilitation, Innovation Games facilitation, non-violent communication (NVC), conflict resolution and Co-Active Coaching, and Organization and Relationship Systems Coaching (ORSC). David is the founder of Outformations, a collaborative software design, development, and Agile consulting practice. He is a board member for the National Agile Leadership Network (ALN) and is the founder of the Bay Area ALN. David is a lead coach for ACI’s Coaching Circles.
David Darst, PCC, has been on the leading edge of coaching for well over 10 yrs. He is one of the first to be certified in the field of Relationship Coaching by the Center for Right Relationship (CRR), as well as being a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CTI). As a Senior Faculty member of both CRR and CTI he has had the opportunity to train thousands of individual and relationship coaches. David’s primary focus in the field of coaching is relationship, whether that be relationship with self, relationship with others, or even relationship with a project. He also has a special knack for identifying and unleashing potential, which has led him to working with individuals, corporate leaders, and high performance teams and partnerships around the globe. We are pleased to have David with us as a co-leader of The Coaching Stance.
Leslie has more than a dozen years of leadership, process efficiency, behavioral analysis, professional facilitation and training experience in a number of challenging environments. Her experience includes seven years in the U.S. Army, work in membership sales, television news production and in non-profit and association communities. She is sought-after as a professional facilitator and facilitation trainer. Leslie’s company, Full Circle Inspiration, focuses on inspiring groups and individuals to look for new perspectives when the ones they’re stuck in just aren’t working anymore. Her passion is bringing innovation to teams in order to help them use their own brilliance to improve communication and enhance success. Leslie calls herself a “Life Enthusiast” because if there’s some kind of challenge most people don’t want to tackle…she’ll give it a try. From flying CH-47D Chinook helicopters in the Army, to writing an inspiring book called Penny Perspectives: Let Go of Happily Ever After and Invest in Happily Ever NOW!, to completing her first half-ironman to taking lessons on the flying trapeze, Leslie doesn’t know the meaning of the words, “I can’t.” She is a co-creator of ACI’s course, The Agile Facilitator.