The Agile Coaching Series - 5

Evelyn Tian
I am not a good chef yet, but I love analogy!

Guess what, simmering a pot of clam chowder is just like agile coaching.

The journey is as important as the destination, and the pursuit..
In this blog post, we’ll explore how the principles of coaching agile teams mirror the steps of creating a savoury clam chowder.

Currently I am back at the east coast of Canada for family visits. While we were preparing Clam Chowder soup, the parallels between crafting a delicious Clam Chowder soup and the art of Agile coaching started to surface. I have been “boringly” naming blogs with titles starting with “The Art of …”. So this will land into the Agile Coaching Series instead. Of course, it would have been called “The Art of Agile Coaching:)”.

Simmering Success: Coaching Agile Teams and Cooking Clam Chowder Soup

Guess what? Coaching agile teams is very similar to crafting a well-balanced clam chowder soup. Let’s take a look at the why.

1. Start with a solid base
You might have heard, “Preparation is 90% of cooking success”. You might also have heard about the importance of pre-work for effective teams (60% of the energy on pre-work, 30% on launching to pave a solid foundation, and 10% on coaching the team in real time), according to Hackman’s work towards effective teams.

2. Achieve a balanced blend
Narrowing down preparation, the key to a tasty clam chowder soup is achieving a harmonious balance of ingredients. A team also requires a balance in terms of competence, skills, diversity, and more. To achieve this balance at team level, different practices can be applied, such as self-assembling/self-forming teams.

3, Launch for a solid foundation
Coaching agile teams requires finding the right balance between autonomy and guidance, allowing the team to self-organize while providing the necessary support and direction. Likewise, crafting clam chowder soup also requires solid start and adjustment based on the situation.

4. Adapt to different tastes
Coaching agile teams involves adapting to the unique needs of each team. Similarly, clam chowder recipes may vary based on regional preferences. A successful coach tailors their approach to accommodate the team’s specific challenges and goals, just as a chef adjusts ingredients to suit various palates.

5. Manage the Simmer
A great chef (I am not, yet!) carefully manages the simmering process to blend flavours. A fantastic agile coach supports agile teams by adjusting temperature as needed. Maybe we will leave the team be, i.e. keeping the temperature, maintaining the same environment, keeping the current practices, without triggering anything new.
6. Foster collaboration
A well-functioning kitchen relies on collaboration, and so does an Agile team. Encourage open communication, foster a collaborative spirit, and promote knowledge sharing, just as a chef orchestrates the kitchen team for a smooth cooking process.

7, Great passion and love
Both chefs and agile coaches have great passions in what they do, and what they love. That passion drives them a long way. Great clam chowder soup and highly effective and self-organizing teams fuels their passion and leads to their fulfillments.

8. Embrace continuous improvement
Both agile coaching and cooking involve a commitment to continuous improvement. Agile coaches continuously reflect and learn – this is possibly one of the reasons you are reading this blog, and chefs continuously experiments and improve. They reflect on their processes, progresses, and identify areas for enhancement, just as a chef might tweak a clam chowder recipe to perfection over time.

There is definitely a list of more things to add to the similarities, but we can certainly already draw some conclusions. In the world of coaching agile teams and clam chowder creation, the recipe for success lies in sense and passion, preparation and planning, collaboration, a blend of skills, a dash of adaptability, and a commitment to continuous improvement.

Whether coaching an agile team or simmering a pot of clam chowder, the journey is as important as the destination, and the pursuit of excellence is a shared adventure.

Follow up on LinkedIn to get up to date blogs and latest learning opportunities. If you love flexibility, join us from our academy platform and kick off your journey today!

Write your awesome label here.

Join our community

Thank you!
We have supported practitioners from 80 countries, and have monthly free activities for our community members.

You can bring any topics to our activities, or just get ready to network.
Created with