At Mike Orzen & Associates Inc., we have a passion and deep experience in developing coaches. It is our belief that the development of internal coaches is the second most important factor in accelerating your transformation towards Enterprise Excellence. To become a good coach, people need an experienced mentor whom they can model themselves on. Coaching is a learned skill and should be nurtured using a structured, proven approach.

We provide both on-site and remote coaching services to individuals as well as teams. The key to being a good coach is being a great listener, Lean thinker, and communicator. These skills are simple to describe and deceptively difficult to foster. Our training and mentoring focuses on the seven key skills of coaching, as well as the elements of Lean Leadership, to develop capable, well-rounded coaches in your organization.

Developing Lean Coaches

Effective coaching is essential in order to introduce and sustain new organizational thinking and behaviors that support Lean. In a service, manufacturing, or support setting, coaching becomes even more of a challenge due to the reactive nature of the job, complexity of the work, and uniqueness of skills sets. Unfortunately, many organizations wait too long address this need.

The time to begin developing your internal coaches is at the beginning of your journey! In our experience, the best way to accelerate your transformation is to cultivate coaches as champions and influencers of the change you wish to see in your company.

For a person to become an effective coach, they need an effective and experienced mentor. To become a good coach, your people need more than training in Lean concepts, they need someone who can act as a model, a teacher, and a sounding board.

If you are wondering how to develop yourself and others to be an effective coach – we have a Lean Coaching workshop for you!

Toyota Kata

Since its publication in 2009, Toyota Kata has swept across the globe and been enthusiastically embraced by an array of industries and organizations. The book is perhaps the most articulate explanation of Lean’s Plan-Do-Check-Adjust problem solving cycle.  A “kata” is a routine, or pattern of practice (the term is commonly used in the martial arts). The repetition associated with practicing a physical kata drives “muscle memory,” while the routine practice of the Toyota kata drives “brain memory!”

The author, Mike Rother, maintains that constant daily improvement is an essential ingredient to creating an effective organization. We could not agree more! Small-step improvements are more effective over time than sporadic “kaizen” improvement projects, and have a significantly greater impact on culture; creating an environment of engagement and daily improvement. Team-based problem-solving routines practiced everyday by everyone, and actively supported and modeled by managers serve as a reinforcing mechanism for change for the better.

Toyota Kata represents two cycles, or routines of improvement: problem solving and coaching. All of our training leverages the power and impact of Toyota Kata. It is our belief that no one ever masters Toyota kata techniques. Just as a Kung Fu master always has more to learn, the development of Toyota kata skills are never complete. The elements of Toyota Kata are covered in:

  • Lean Coaching in Complex Environments
  • Lean 101 – Lean Boot Camp
  • Kaizen Workshop
  • Lean IT
  • Building Systems to Drive Behavior

The Coach’s Coach – Remote Coaching

When it comes to coaching, most people are not “naturals”, and need mentoring and guidance to overcome the challenges of effectively motivating people, introducing new ways of thinking about work, and creating trust. To become a great coach, you need the support and mentoring of a seasoned coach and teacher (a sensei). In over twenty years of experience developing as Lean thinkers and coaches, we have discovered key factors of what makes a good coach and, perhaps more importantly, what prevents people from effectively coaching others.

In addition to having your coaches attend the Lean Coaching in Complex Environments workshop, we offer on-going remote support through one-on-one and group video calls. These sessions reinforce and accelerate the learning and development of your coaches, as well as create a safe and supportive environment in which they can grow. Becoming a coach is hard work and requires consistent daily practice. When people are scheduled for a work session with their coach in two weeks and have specific assignments to complete, there is a clear sense of accountability and structure to their development. These coaching sessions provide your people with the support, course adjustments, and motivation they need to develop into great coaches.