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Scrum Master Vs Agile Coach: All You Need to Know

Krunal Shah

Dec 22, 2022

8 min readLast Updated Jan 20, 2023

Scrum master vs agile coach is a highly discussed topic across diverse sectors. The confusion about accountabilities arises from the confusion about a scrum master vs agile coach. It is often when the company wants to shift from traditional waterfall software development culture to an Agile methodology.  

An agile coach is someone who is essentially a scrum master with advanced training and a higher level of expertise and experience. The simple difference between a scrum master and agile coach is that a scrum master coaches the team, on the other hand, an agile coach coaches an entire organization.

An agile coach works to increase the agility of the company. The thing you need to know about scrum master vs agile coach is that a scrum master is someone who is playing the game while the agile coach is watching the game match and guiding them. Read on to know more!

Who Is a Scrum Master?

A scrum master is someone who is very much involved with a single team and coaches them. They are at work every day, they know the team inside out and exactly what’s happening.

A scrum master is playing the game with the team members and knows how to handle problems the team can’t solve. They play a leading role in guiding and focusing on the single unit. A scrum master finds the methods to effectively manage the product backlog and help communicate the owner’s wishlist to the product team. A scrum master also organizes events if necessary.

Key Roles and Responsibilities of a Scrum Master

To understand the roles and responsibilities and skills of scrum master vs Agile coach, we need to understand each of their prime roles first. A scrum master is very crucial for the focus and coaching of the team.

scrum master roles
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They are responsible for:

👉Maintaining team focus and work standards

👉Ensuring teamwork according to the scrum rules

👉Organizing meetings and host daily stand-up meetings

👉Making and onboarding the project team

👉Providing a clear vision of the product

👉Strengthening communication and information exchange between the project team and external teams

👉Keeping all parties on track and informed in advance

👉Coaching the team members

👉Clearing roadblocks

👉Reducing diverse types of product backlogs

👉Looking after team scrum practices and principles

Following are the aspects of the scrum master’s role in the organization:

  • Lead and coach scrum adoption
  • Plan scrum implementation
  • Plan and strategize to optimize the productivity of the team
  • Collaborate with other scrum masters to improve the methodologies' efficiency.

See More: How Do Agile and DevOps Interrelate?

Who Is an Agile Coach?

An agile coach helps organizations, teams, and individuals adopt agile practices, and methods while embedding agile values and mindsets. An agile coach makes the teams more effective, transparent, and cohesive, to enable better outcomes, solutions, and services/products for customers.

An agile coach is someone who asks deep and important questions, empowers and enables others to act, reinforces the behavior, listens, and increases insights for the team and organization. They focus on managing the system, supporting lifelong learning, minimizing constraints, and setting guidelines.

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Key Roles and Responsibilities of an Agile Coach

An agile coach focuses on all the teams and organization.

Roles of an agile coach

The skills of an agile coach are required for the following responsibilities:

👉Helping in maintaining an agile mindset

👉Delivering guidance for moving forward with projects

👉Building a safe space for experimentation

👉Ensuring team members positive learning attitude

👉Enabling people to see personal growth, collaborate, question & challenge

👉Focusing on problem-solving, developing vision, minimizing obstacles, inspiring people, and bringing them together

👉Emphasizing on winning strategy, process implementation, and repeatability

👉Guiding and coaching the scrum team on using agile practices

👉Making the transition smooth by teaching them about developing the agile mindset

👉Training scrum masters and product owners

👉Educating team members to adopt the agile working practices

👉Establishing proper metrics that facilitate standard measurement

👉Enabling the changes in the working views of team members and scrum coach

👉Executing and improving the contract between the vendors and customers

The agile coach's responsibilities for the organization are:

  • Keeping tasks on track while they embark on building agile development teams
  • Assisting team in saving time, money, and resources
  • Helping the company in embracing agile as a culture shift

See More: Best Agile Project Management Tools & Techniques

The key Differences Between a Scrum Master and an Agile  Coach

Both agile coach and scrum master are very important for any organization and provide great value. Both use quite similar guidelines, and train teams to learn the essence of agile, and deal with problems while working together in a workplace.

Sometimes both roles may feel similar but the scope of agile coach and scrum coach is different.  Here’s the list of the differences between a scrum coach and an agile coach to make you understand the differences for scrum master vs agile coach better.

1. The Key Focus Area

An agile coach generally focuses on organizational vision or has the task of providing external knowledge and experience to a team. Agile coaches focus on the whole organization.

On the other hand, a scrum master focuses on a single team, it has the focus to influence and interact with each team member and help them grow and thrive in the results.

2. Learning Curve and Main Function

An agile coach needs to be effective and transformational from the start so that they can help the organization in thriving. While a scrum master requires a gradual transition.

An agile coach focuses on agile team behavior, which helps team members individually execute their daily tasks. While scrum master focuses on the proper execution of scrum and removing impediments for the scrum team.

A scrum master works with the scrum team and stays with it throughout the lifetime of that scrum team. While an agile coach has a limited duration to stay. They stay until the goal is achieved and then move on.

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3. Specialization Area

An agile coach has a wide scope and is not only restricted to scrum, that’s why they possess more knowledge, expertise, and influence. While a scrum master is also an agile coach specializing only in the scrum.

A scrum master needs to master only the scrum framework. While an agile coach needs to know about the various agile methods, including scrum, kanban, scaling method, and more.

4. Key Responsibilities

An agile coach manages the entire organization and multiple teams. While a scrum master focuses on a single team. A scrum master's task is to ensure that the team follows the scrum process and rules. While an agile coach has a greater emphasis on the strategy of change.

A scrum master focuses on assisting the team with daily workflow. While an agile coach focuses on creating systems for teams.  A scrum master makes sure that everything is flowing easily in the scrum process. While an agile coach defines the what, how, and why of the flow.

See More: What Is Scrum - How It Works, and Why It’s Amazing

Transformation of a Scrum Master into an Agile Coach

While scrum master vs agile coach is a widely discussed topic, it is also highly discussed how to transform from a scrum master to agile coach. As scrum masters become more sufficient they help the team to thrive and grow. Slowly they help the team in evolving into a high-performing team that delivers significant value.

This is the time for a scrum master to become an agile coach. If you have decided to make this transformation, we’re here to help you in this journey. Here are some tips to help in your transformation from a scrum master into an agile coach.

1. Go Beyond Scrum

Master agile frameworks and techniques to have a solid grasp and make use of it. You have the knowledge of the scrum, keep polishing it, but also scale to more bigger and complex projects.

Prepare yourself to continue learning and expand beyond scrum methods. Work on understanding scrum master vs agile coach roles and how scrum fits together, what role it plays and how they interrelate.

Focus on getting a solid baseline and continue to educate and actively engage in the agile role. To be a coach you need to be active in an agile role as a part of an agile team, while ideally, you’ve to be involved in many roles as a scrum master.

Remember to learn to be okay with not knowing everything, as coaching is a difficult skill to master and it can be stressful but highly rewarding over time when you help a peer discover a solution. Be patient with the dynamics of learning the theoretical and practical aspects of a skill.

2. Find a Mentor

Professional coaching is a skill that you need to master and it will take time to learn and practice. Find your own mentors who can provide you with guidance and enable you to continue refining your coaching skills.

Try to find a seasoned master who knows exactly about scrum master vs agile coach, whom you respect, who is willing to be honest with you, and who provides real feedback which can help you learn and master skills.

Find a mentor who can provide feedback on what activities can harm your growth as a coach. Once you master some agile framework, work on mastering the people side of agility, your mentor can help a lot in this while you need to practice and observe it by yourself more.

3. Practice and Reflect Every Day

When we practice a skill on a regular basis, slowly it becomes a habit, it becomes second nature. When there is no practice, it becomes very difficult to use a skill when you need them, even if you have mastered it.

Hence it is necessary to practice it regularly and reflect on learning when you’re mastering a skill. As a coach, you must consistently work on the craft. To be on the top of the game you have to have new challenges every day and you have to prepare yourself for those difficulties by working on your skills.

See More: Agile Scrum Methodology: Scrum Lessons I Learned As A Beginner


It is clear that the role of scrum master and agile coach may seem similar but are very different and valuable for the organization which makes scrum master vs agile coach a highly discussed topic.

It is not possible to use one as an option for another role. Organizations need to understand that it is crucial that these roles cannot be taken by someone who does not possess the expertise and these are two different roles and cannot be replaced by each other.

An agile coach and scrum master have unique responsibilities and focus and it is beneficial that these two work together for organizational growth. If you’re looking to thrive in your business and have sustainable agility in the organization, you must contact the best agile software development company that can bring you the desired results.

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