Business Design Coach

'Even the best coach can't make you win every game, but he will make you turn up even stronger for every next match.' - Read about how Business Design Coaches are supporting project teams to succeed and how they contribute working safely outside of the team's comfort zone.
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Danny Locher

Business Design Coach

1. Introduction

A Business Design coach is an expert in how to manage and facilitate the Business Design process. He is NOT part of the team but helps each individual of the project team to

  • apply the Business Design approach with its Guiding Principles, Process, Roles and Tools,

  • play their assigned role and overcome individual barriers and fears and

  • develop a high-performance team, come into a joint flow experience and take full responsibility for the project.

A good Business Design coach is very close to the sponsor and the team of a project he is about to coach. He is not necessarily a "friend" of the project team. He is rather responsible for making a project team succeed and this often requires tasks many teams are not ready to do. Business Design usually operates beyond people's comfort zone and the coach has to deal with that. Be prepared for an emotional roller coaster that may look like this:

Mood Curve of Business Design

We train Business Design Coaches in our Business Design Academy. Join us for the next Business Design Certificate Program (DE)!

2. Responsibilities

As Business Design Coach you are responsible to take your team - and in many cases even the organization the team works in - out of their comfort zone. You will need to do this for them to succeed but at the same time help them to get there, feeling save and supported. Breaking it down, this means you are particularly involved in:

  • Examining the setup and focus of a project (Project Charter)

  • Preparing workshops and moderating team discussions in workshops

  • Giving methodological guidance and assuring methodological precision (Guiding Principles) - have a look at the "North Star Model"

  • Asking questions that open up new perspectives (e.g. "I understand you don't think this is going to work. However, what could we do to make it work?")

  • Supervising the performance of teamwork and raising critical points objectively to get resolved within the team

  • Managing important stakeholders (e.g. sponsor)

  • Intervening if the project team derails (may happen from time to time) and constructively working on a solution with the team

These responsibilities result in a number of key activities across the five phases of Business Design. Take a closer look at the table below for more details.

3. Key Activities

The following table shows key activities for a Business Design coach within each phase of the Business Design Process:





  • Presenting Business Design as an approach to relevant stakeholders

  • Finalising the Project Charter with innovation manager and internal sponsor of the project

  • Preparing Kick-off Workshop

    • Invitation to sponsor and project team

    • Room booking, setup & catering

    • Agenda

    • Tools & methods

  • Get-to-know calls with every member of the project team

  • Conducting a basic training on Business Design for the project team (and the sponsor)

Be very rigorous in the Setup Phase: Starting with unclear objectives, a 50% committed sponsor and a team without enough time, resources and the right skills, is NOT a good idea! Double-check the Project Charter!


  • Facilitating the Kick-off Workshop with the innovation manager

  • Optional: Team-building exercise

  • Supervising the documentation of the workshop and execution of tasks (clear task definitions and assignments for the Discover phase)

  • Joining the Weekly Status Calls

  • Optional: Supporting Discover activities (e.g. field research)

  • Scrutinizing the quantity and quality of Discover results

  • Preparing the Design Workshop (see before)

Intervening if project team derails: North Star Model


  • Facilitating the Design Workshop with the team manager

  • Supervising the documentation of the workshop and the further detailing of the results (with designers, prototyping engineers etc.)

  • Joining the first Sponsor's Sneak Preview and reflecting the feedback with the project team

  • Optional: Preparing and facilitating a dedicated Validate workshop (if time was not sufficient in the Design workshop)

  • Making sure that each team members know exactly what to do over the next weeks to conduct the experiments (clear task definitions and assignments for the Validate phase)

  • Optional: Preparing and facilitating an IT-Deep-Dive Workshop

Intervening if project team derails: North Star Model

Pay the utmost attention to the questions / hypotheses and the experiments. 


Intervening if project team derails: North Star Model


  • Facilitating the Decide Workshop / D - Day with the team manager

  • Recapping the feedback from the Decide workshop and planning of next steps (e.g. next iteration)

  • Supervising the documentation of the workshop and the entire iteration / project