Coaching capability is an important asset for an organization on a lean transformation journey. At the heart of lean transformation is the focus of improving processes and developing people. If your organization is not developing coaching capability to support team members during transformation, then you are missing part of the equation.
As an organization matures on the lean journey it is imperative that the improvement team moves away from a focus of teaching tools to developing problem solving skills at all levels within the organization. Here are some reasons why it is important to build coaching capabilities:
Helps build a community of problem solvers
For organizations that are shifting to a culture of continuous improvement the intention is to build a community of problem-solvers. Coaching support helps learners build discipline with their problem-solving methodology, including forced reflection or the study/adjust phase of the cycle. This practice reinforces learning and gives leaders confidence to move forward as they lead their own improvement work.
Transfers learning to create a sustainable model
Building coaching capabilities will also help your organization sustain their lean transformation. The process improvement team should be stewards of the progression of the lean journey. The organization will struggle to sustain any transformation if they are dependent on only the few members of the process improvement team. As stewards the PI team needs to continually coach their learners to become coaches themselves in order to transform the culture. As capability increases learners become coaches and support daily improvement applied in operations across the organization.
Stay ahead of culture shift
The process improvement team needs to be equipped to support all phases of the culture transformation from initially teaching technical skills to connecting performance through the principles and behaviors of operational excellence. Supporting people in their development of critical thinking skills and behaviors which define a lean culture will help them be ready for the next phase of learning on the transformation journey.
Models the behaviors for continuous improvement journey
Another reason to build coaching capabilities is that coaching leaders is a way to model the leader behaviors required for a culture transformation. The behavioral shift necessary to lead in a lean environment is vital to the success of the cultural transformation and can be difficult for some leaders. A coach modeling the way and helping them practice these behaviors is often helpful.
As organizations mature on the lean journey it is important that process improvement teams evolve to provide the required support. Building coaching capabilities will help the process improvement team build an organization of problem solvers, sustain their continuous improvement model, stay ahead of cultural shifts, and will allow them to model behaviors for leaders.
Karen Flom, Senior Manager Education Development
Building Coaching Capabilities workshop