Agile coaching certification

By | May 11, 2019

So you’re an “agile coach” day-to-day, but you want to get some sort of certification. Which one should you get?

Here’s a summary of some of the most popular options.


Agile Coach (ICP-ACC)

ICAgile has a number of tracks, two of them relating to coaching: Agile Coaching (ICP-ACC) and Coaching Agile Transitions (ICP-CAT).

ICAgile says the Agile Coaching certification “focuses primarily on the mindset, roles, and responsibilities of an Agile Coach. After finishing the certification, the learner will be able to differentiate between and among mentoring, facilitating, professional coaching and teaching, and will also gain the skills needed to create a safe environment for meaningful collaboration and healthy conflict resolution within an agile team. This certification introduces participants to foundational team coaching skills and team development concepts for starting and growing teams while focusing on teams and organizations as human systems. A key part of this certification focuses on developing an understanding of the professional coaching skillset and the value of honing these skills to serve individuals on an agile team.”

The Coaching Agile Transitions certification “focuses on the field of Enterprise Agile Coaching, explores the core elements of an agile transformation, and links the core enterprise coaching competencies in a way that empowers coaches to act as agents of change in organizations. The Learning Outcomes also delve in to the pursuit of professional mastery and the ethical considerations of Enterprise Agile Coaching. They then look at elements central to agile transitions such as organizational and human change processes, transformation strategies, addressing organizational impediments, and communicating, educating, and facilitating at an organizational level.”

Numbers certified: Not known

How to obtain certification: Approximately 21 hours of instructional activities over the course of three days (knowledge acquisition and practical assessment of ability to hold a professional coaching conversation).

Providers: Recommended trainers. Disclaimer: I teach this course through Adventures With Agile.

Subsequent certification through provider?: Learners who have completed the ICP-ACC (and two other courses) can apply for the ‘Expert’ level. More details. The Enterprise equivalent is currently under construction.


Kanban Coaching Professional (KCP)

Kanban University describes the certificate as “the highest level a Kanban coach can attain. This program evaluates the knowledge, formal training, and experience of individuals coaching Kanban initiatives. A KCP is the most qualified professional to lead a change initiative using the Kanban Method. They know how to apply the wide range of related techniques recommended by the Lean Kanban community.”

Numbers with certification: 111

What certification entails: Prerequisite of being KMP (9 days training) + 5 days training required to become a KCP + minimum 6 months field experience + written essay + panel interview

Providers: Kanban University

Subsequent certification through provider? None


Professional Scrum Master III (PSM III)

Scrum.org says the PSM III certification is an “indication of their distinguished level of Scrum mastery, proving that not only do they understand Scrum and can apply it, but can also mentor and coach people or teams who are adopting Scrum.”

Numbers with certification: 681

What certification entails: 34 multiple choice questions and an essay completed in 2 hours (pass mark 85%) at a cost of $500.

Providers: scrum.org

Subsequent certification through provider? None


Certified Team Coach (CTC) and Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC)

Scrum Alliance says the Certified Team Coach (CTC) certification “offers a recognized credential to qualified coaches who have experience with many teams or departments and can effectively impact department, project, and program agility.”

Scrum Alliance says that Certified Enterprise Coaches (CECs) “have deep experience in leadership coaching, organizational transformation, and Agile practices at the enterprise level. Those who obtain the CEC certification have had years of practice, with successes and failures, in Scrum at multiple levels of engagement at the leadership level, as well as across various business functions.”

Numbers with certification: 114 (CTC); 99 (CEC)

What CTC certification entails: Must fulfil list of requirements which includes 1,000 hours of coaching multiple agile teams within the last 2 years + written submission (checking understanding, articulation, and application of the skill or competency of agile knowledge, coaching competencies, coaching mindset) + 3 letters of recommendation + phone/video call with members of the peer review team + $250 application fee + $500 annual licence fee.

What CEC certification entails: Must fulfil a list of requirements which includes 2,000 hours of coaching at an enterprise/organisational level (or a combination of enterprise and multi-team level coaching) within the last 3 years + written submission (checking understanding, articulation, and application of the skill or competency of coaching mindset, coaching competencies and coaching specialities) + 3 letters of recommendation + phone/video call with members of the peer review team + $250 application fee + $750 annual licence fee.

Providers: Scrum Alliance

Subsequent certification through provider? None


Associate Certified Coach (ICF-ACC)

International Coach Federation explains that “ICF Credential-holders are part of a self-regulating group of elite coaches who provide accountability to clients and the coaching profession as a whole. They pursue and complete rigorous education and practice requirements that provide unquestioned legitimacy to their commitment to excellence in coaching.”

Numbers with certification: 10,673

What certification entails: There are a number of routes, but the one I took was: Completion of an entire ICF Accredited Coach Training Program (162 hours) + minimum of 100 hours (75 paid) of coaching experience with at least eight clients + assessment (155 multiple-choice questions on setting the foundation, co-creating the relationship, communicating effectively, facilitating learning and results, and coaching foundations and knowledge base) + $100 fee (non-members $300) renewed annually.

Providers: International Coach Federation

Subsequent certification through provider? Professional Certified Coach (PCC), then Master Certified Coach (MCC)


University certificates

There are many different courses out there. Some are better than others. My PG Cert in Business and Personal Coaching was through Barefoot Coaching and the University of Chester and was superb.


Costs, numbers and details correct at time of publication

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