Interview with Agile Coach Stefan Nowaczynski

Currently I have the opportunity to work with the awesome agile coach Stefan Nowaczynski and learn a lot about coaching. This post replays an interview with Stefan about Coaching. Learn why coaching and agile transformations go hand in hand and what Stefan recommends for learning to become a good coach.

Since when are you working with Coaching? What made you thinking about using coaching?

2006 I had first contact with agile methodologies. Focus was Scrum. During my freelance work as IT consultant I introduced Scrum at my customers.

It’s not difficult to understand Scrum, but I realized that I’m missing one important skill. I wanted to coach. Help people to reach their goals.

I started a 2 year coaching education in 2007 to help teams and individuals to reach their goals.

What are highlights from your coachings so far?

There are many highlights. The best experience from my coachings is to see again and again that change is possible.

I always receive really positive feedback, if organizations, teams and people are seriously interested to change.

I always learn from coachings. Every coaching is different and unique.

For me a special highlight was to form a new Scrum team. It was obvious for everyone that the working environment is changing.

First of all I wanted to know what was important for everyone in their working environment. I used Moving Motivators, a concept by Jurgen Appelo. Moving Motivators is especially useful for everyone to discover what’s important in their working environment.

You can learn about everyones importance of values. Through a changing working environment values start changing too. Areas with a negative change impact are areas to help with coaching, to learn what’s really behind and to help everyone in their change process.

Why is coaching important for agile environments?

The transformation from a traditional organization towards an agile organization is connected with often difficult changes. Executives and management need a new understanding of their roles.

Team members have more freedom, work autonomous and self organized.
Not everyone understands the new role immediately.
Coaching plays an important role in agile environments. As a coach I can work on different levels and guide the change process actively.

What are typical use cases for coaching? How does it map to an agile environment?

Individual role conflicts.

For example the team lead with disciplinary responsibility. Through the transition towards becoming an agile company (s)he becomes a Scrum Master without disciplinary responsibility and has to work as a lateral leader. (S)he is not having the same power status and cannot longer direct people.

A next example from my practical experience is that management in agile environments has to hand over more responsibility to the teams. Teams would like to work autonomous and shape the environment. Some managers fear loss of power and control.

A helpful agile concept by Jurgen Appelo is the Delegation Poker.

What does that mean for the role agile coach?

As agile coach I have to work on organizational level, management level and team level.

That implies for the agile coach, to have methodical competencies and competencies in working with people in a change process.

When should I not apply coaching?

For sure if not wanted. Coaching relies on free will. If you would like to coach someone, you can offer a coaching.

Often it results in a first talk to check whether coaching could be useful. Does the chemistry between coach and coachee fit? If this is not the case it can be wise to not start a with coaching at all.

What do you recommend to start with learning more about coaching?

I recommend to take a professional coaching education. Systemic coaching or business coaching are good starting points.

There a lot of possible learning institutions. I recommend institutes that belong to an union with an ethical background. Some references in Germany are:

and if you would like to work as a coach in Europe, I recommend:

You can check all other unions for trainers too. Registered trainers work using ethical frames.

How can I work with you as my coach?

Contact me, let’s find common goals and let’s get started 😉


Thanks a lot Stefan for your insights about Coaching.