Identifying a Code of Ethical Conduct for Agile Coaching

Agile Alliance
3 min readSep 16, 2020

by Shane Hastie and Craig Smith

The Agile Alliance Agile Coaching Ethics initiative is developing a code of ethical conduct to raise coaching standards in Agile coaching and amplify the value of the profession.

We have researched ethical behaviors and existing codes of ethical conduct across a range of organizations and identified opportunities where deeper knowledge and guidance would benefit Agile coaches and our clients. The outcome is to publish a Code of Ethical Conduct (Code), under the auspices of the Agile Alliance, for coaches to adopt.

We have representation from some of the certifying bodies on the team and hope that certifying bodies will promote and adopt the code.

To develop the Code, a diverse team of global volunteers representing a variety of professions and organizations are collaborating to co-create content that assists Agile coaches in day-to-day workplace challenges. The Code will be clear and succinct and easy to adopt regardless of role or job title. A guidance document will accompany the Code. It will expand on the intent behind the Code and contain real scenarios and ways to respond

As members of the coaching community, you play a critical role in shaping the Code and supporting guidance. To that end, we invite you review the first iteration below (preamble and the list of topic areas where we feel Agile coaches could come up against ethical dilemmas) and submit any feedback or questions to

We are taking an iterative approach to developing content. As new content is ready for your feedback, it will be posted on our home page.

We are excited about this initiative and look forward to your continued engagement.


Agile Coaches are expected to act ethically, but what does that mean in practice?

The intent of this Code of Ethics (Code) is to provide guidance for people undertaking Agile coaching roles who are working with individuals, teams, and organisations to make sure they own the types of behaviours, advice, and approaches expected of them.

Agile coaching is an evolving profession integrating a number of disciplines including one-to-one and systemic/team coaching, facilitating, teaching, and mentoring, all applied with an open and deliberate bias towards using Agile approaches to help address the client’s needs.

Codes of Ethics do already exist for coaching, facilitation, and other disciplines included in the practice of Agile coaching. The intention of this Code is to provide an evolving single source of ethical guidance for Agile coaching across the broad range of constituent disciplines.

This Code is a guidance document. It’s not a legally binding contract that mandates what a person can and cannot do.

The complexity of the Agile coaching role means that you will inevitably encounter difficult situations. This Code is intended to assist you by directing you to the variety of ethical factors that may need to be taken into consideration

Anyone who embraces the Code of Ethics strives to act ethically, even when doing so involves making difficult decisions. They act courageously, even if there is a personal negative impact. This Code will help support you when these difficult decisions need to be made and you can provide it in support of your decisions to your clients. It supports you to communicate about your actions.

The signatories of this Code are multicultural, multigenerational, and affiliated with many different groups. We believe that the power of this movement is amplified when we set aside differences and lift each other up in pursuit of a better way. We commit to supporting each other in difficult decisions and courageous conversations.

Areas we think can be covered (the areas in which an Agile coach could have an ethical challenge)

  • Working with multiple relationships: e.g. sponsor, team, team member, manager
  • Reflective practice and continuing professional development, including self-care and sustainability
  • Social responsibility, including diversity and inclusion
  • Confidentiality and information security
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Acting within your ability
  • Agreeing on boundaries and acting within your remit
  • No imposition — coachee at free choice
  • Transparency about your knowledge and experience
  • Ensuring the relationship is valuable for both you and the client
  • Appropriate interpersonal relationships
  • Responsibility to the profession

What are we missing?

Originally published at on September 16, 2020.



Agile Alliance

Agile Alliance is a nonprofit global member organization, supporting and serving the Agile community since 2001.