Lean Coaching : Kata, Questions & Curiosity
Perhaps you have experienced this, when you mention the word ‘coaching’, people get fidgety and nervous – “I am a manager not a coach” or “That isn’t how we do things, I am the Lean Specialist, I know what is going on, my job is to tell the team and get them to implement the tools”. All popular frames for how to implement Lean, but I would suggest, not necessarily the most effective – especially looking back at our companies Lean implementation where we started with a Consulting House and a very structured, project style approach that brought in 6 or so specialist Lean resources who spent 3 months with the team, doing intense investigations and diagnostics to document what wasn’t working in the teams and then implementing detailed interventions to correct these. The end result ? Some change, in some teams…but the moment the Lean team left, the team’s reverted to their old ways of working.
Enter coaching as a framework to support the changes in the teams – because Lean isn’t a project, it is a change in how the team’s think about their work and go about working and to change habits needs consistent, regular support.
What I love about coaching is how the right inquiries can stimulate the passion and creativity of team’s. Because at the end of the day, being a coach is about finding the questions that, if answered by the team, will shift them into new possibilities.
Just that one change in Lean Specialists, from telling to curiosity about what the team knows and how the team will change it, can shift the lean implementation significantly.
We are experimenting with this in the form of Lean Kata, structured, standard inquiries that allow leaders and lean specialists to gain experience in curiosity without having to ‘be coaches’. Will let you all know how it goes and what we learn as we go.
How are you deepening the coaching competence in your spaces ?