Skip to content

The 9 Coaching Roles

Recently we were privileged enough to attend Esther Derby and Don Gray’s course Coaching Beyond the Team. We usually have to travel far away to attend courses like this, but thanks to Agile42, Esther and Don came to us in South Africa – yay!

A while ago we posted a blog on how to get the most out of conferences and training. After 2 days of training I was shattered, and my head was ready to explode. I had so many ideas and so much to think about. It’s been a week and I’m ready to share one of my AH-HA moments with you.

I’ve always known there are times when you are a coach, then a trainer, then a mentor. And I’ve tried to, over time, become more aware of when I’m wearing each hat and deciding consciously which I should be wearing.

Esther and Don introduced me to the 9 Coaching Roles. Originally this is from “Choosing a Consulting Role” by Douglas Champion, Davie Kiel, and Jean McLendon.

9 coaching modes

During the course someone reflected that the horizontal scale also includes an element of time. On the left, you can spend less time with the client and on the right, you are spending much more time with the client.

Which of these 9 blocks is your default? I felt mine was Teacher, but when i asked Karen she immediately answered Reflective Observer.

Interesting. Especially when I look at the axis. So do I really accept no responsibility for improvement and results? Mmm. I guess that’s true.

Karen’s default is Hand-on Expert. Any one who knows her well should agree with this 🙂 Perhaps this is why we balance each other out so well.

I’ve been thinking about this all week. When we are working with a client and I need to become “Hand-on Expert” I do. But after the engagement I feel disheartened, I have low energy and I generally didn’t enjoy the engagement. Karen however will feel energised and have loved everything.

Thought: Perhaps, in the moment, when a mode switch needs to happen, the coach who naturally fits it should take the lead… This is another reason why pairing as coaches is such a good idea.

Esther and Don also asked us to think of one particular client who we were struggling with.

Then think about:

  1. Which role you see yourself in currently?
  2. Which role the client sees you in currently?
  3. Which role the client expects you to fill?

If you get different answers … there might be something there for you to work on. I got: Coach –>  Facilitator –> Technical Advisor

Interesting. Thanks Esther and Don for stretching my brain 🙂




6 thoughts on “The 9 Coaching Roles”

  1. Pingback: Reading Recommendations # 58 | Adventures in QA

  2. I just finished an engagement where I clarified up front I would be consciously switching my roles as needed. Helped me so much to not get frustrated and as you noted I used my energy in different ways.

  3. Pingback: The 9 Coaching Roles – Barry Overeem – Change & Learning Facilitator

  4. Pingback: The Agile Coaching Competency Framework | Growing Agile

Comments are closed.