WHAT IS LEAN COACHING?
Lean Coaching is about helping people become better lean thinkers and practitioners. Lean Coaching is helpful for leaders and the workforce. Transformation to a lean management system takes significant time and practice. Accordingly, Lean Coaching consist of regular and timely interactions to develop continuous improvement skills and to enable a lean management system. In a Lean Coaching relationship, the coach will ask questions that stimulate critical thinking skills and reinforce systematic approaches for improving how leaders lead and how work is done. Lean coaches ask questions that typically follow a sequence of:
- What is the goal or target condition we are trying to achieve?
- What is the current level of performance?
- What is keeping us from achieving the target?
- What improvement ideas can be tested and what results would we expect?
- When will we know if the test was successful?
In a lean management system, leaders must learn how to become lean coaches. This is a different way of leading and managing. Lean leaders must transition away from directing people in how to address and fix problems. Instead, leaders must become lean coaches and develop the workforce to become skilled problem solvers following systematic approaches. Thus, leaders need practice and coaching so they can develop into effective Lean Coaches.
Lean coaching may begin with scheduled coaching sessions with one-on-one or group coaching. Over time, it will become integrated into regular daily interactions, both schedule and impromptu.
How Do People Benefit From Lean Coaching
With Lean Coaching, leaders develop the leadership skills they need to become effective lean leaders. Without coaching, leaders struggle to make the behavioral changes and routines necessary for a lean management system to be effective. When Lean Coaching is adopted, leaders get timely support and reinforcement to continue practicing and refining the competencies required to succeed. Leaders learn how to follow a pattern of asking powerful questions that engage and empower employees to systematically eliminate waste and improve customer value.
The workforce benefits from Lean Coaching through the job enrichment that comes with a lean management system. First, employees develop new skills that enable their ability to add greater value and contribute in a much bigger way to organizational success. Second, a lean culture is one in which all employees are engaged and empowered to make things better. Lean Coaching is a necessary activity to create this environment.