The 4th key ingredient is the lean specialist and how they interact with teams. Using a coaching approach and custom Lean Kata, we have been very successful in shifting teams from the old ways of work, to new ways of work. Shifting lean specialists from a consulting approach to coaching approach is in itself an interesting and ongoing theme in our Lean journey.

I love being a Lean coach as it takes coaching and makes it a little more practical and accessible – we spend most of our lives at work, this is the place where we should learn and grow and step into our potential and power, as a Lean coach I get to create learning spaces where teams and individuals can do just that, and I get to bring in  ‘just in time’ Lean principles and knowledge

Coaching Elements

  • Did you know that language is in itself ambiguous ? I use the word ‘issue’a lot, intending it to be understood as something that prevents a team member from completing their work – only in some teams their work is to resolve production issues. These teams have a totally different meaning and interpretation (listening) for the word issue – and there I was thinking we were on the same page.

    We use words/ language to create meanings for ourselves about what is happening around us, only these meanings can be quite personal as they are learnt – yet we speak as if the meanings we have are common and understood by everyone.

    How sure are you about how people are interpreting what you are saying ? How do you know that they are on the same page as you  ? What strategies do you have to make this happen ?

  • Our physiology is such that we use emotions to remember and to learn. We are always living in and through moods. Moods shape how we see the world and so what possibilities are available for us. The Ontological Coaching framework suggests that there are 6 basic moods 

    • Resentment is where an individual is opposing specific facts about what has happened
    • Resignation is where an individual is opposing possibilities
    • Anxiety is where an individual is opposing the possibility that the future could work out well

    The opposite of these moods is where team’s (and coaches) experience high effectiveness:

    • Acceptance (opp to resentment) –  it is what it is, so now what ?
    • Ambition (opp to resignation – what possibilities are there and how do we act on them ?
    • Wonder (opp to anxiety) – I wonder what will happen if we….

    Which moods do you see the most and how do they affect the ability of individuals and teams to engage with change ?

  • If you haven’t read Humble Inquiry, do so! Coaching and inquiry (questions) is a powerful way of engaging with individuals. I dare say, the only way!

'Go To' Books

  • BookHumbleInquiryIt isn’t about telling anymore, it is about curiosity and invoking a spirit of inquiry in teams and individuals, so that they can find the answers for themselves.



  • There are many modalities of coaching, having been coached and trained in one or two, I have found that Ontological Coaching is a powerful tool for specialised coaches (people who don’t do personal coaching but more mentor type coaching).

    The frame work combines language (words and questions), with the way you think and so frame your world, links this to 6 core moods that create powerful frames affecting what we deem is or is not possible for us and then the body – a long ignored tool that can create a powerful leadership presence, or not!

    For more see founder Alan Sieler’s site (the newfield institute)  or contact Karen White in CT (The Human Connection) or Julia Bonadie-Thorns in Jhb (Wide Open Spaces)

    Alan is in South Africa regularly running the three levels of Ontological Coaching and if you are interested, he runs a three day, Coaching In Action seminar twice a year that is a powerful introduction that you can take back to the real world with you.

  • It isn’t what you say, it is how you say it and how your body presents you when you say it! This is where Leadership Embodiment comes in, it helps you show up in an impactful way! 

Thoughts on Coaching...