Always Be Coaching

One of the best was to learn and improve is to recognize your mistakes.  I recently missed out on an opportunity to coach in the moment to help someone learn how to solve a problem.  I hope the outcome of writing this post will etch into me the principle to always be coaching

I met with a doctor recently who was telling me about some frustrating problems he was seeing.  He said he did not know where to go to have someone fix the issues he saw.  I instinctively told him who the new manager was to help him.

My initial feelings afterwords was disappointment.  I was surprised a member of a somewhat mature value-stream didn’t know where to begin to solve problems on their own.  I have been developing a suspicion that value stream managers are carrying all the improvements on their backs and daily Lean thinking hasn’t infiltrated the front lines (not counting improvement workshops).   This interaction with the doctor seemed to reinforce my suspicion.

I reached out to a colleague who helped me see how I missed the opportunity to show the doctor how to identify the problem and root cause.  We have standard tools like A3 and assessment plans that could have helped the doctor own the problem while he worked to develop a counter-measure.  The manager I referred him to could be a key stakeholder and guide for the doctor to uncover what he needed to gain a deep understanding of the problem instead of being the contact to just fix it for him.

The nice thing is this is not an irreversible mistake.  I plan on connecting with the doctor again to see how he is progressing and then offer coaching!  One recent powerful article from John Shook has inspired me to continue my development as an apprentice sensei: Coaching and Questions; Questions and Coaching.

My 2009 Hansei: Scarcity inspires creativity and innovation.  How can I help harness that inspiration?

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Filed under A3, Business, Communication, Improve With Lean

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