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Coaching Skills for Lean Implementation Leaders (1 Day Class)


Lean change agents generally have to implement improvements through the work of people they don’t manage. They have responsibility but little authority to accomplish their goals. Getting people to complete the tasks they assign or meet the schedules they set requires constant attention, encouragement, cajoling, and often taking the lead on the activities themselves.

There is a better way. Switch from trying to be the person out front leading the charge to being someone with knowledge and experience who’s by the side of implementers coaching when needed. In other words try the sensei approach to coaching and leading.

What does it mean to be a coach? Coaches in athletics do not compete in the sporting events themselves. They have to achieve success through four basic activities: preparation, practice, adjustment, and review. Do these methods work in situations where you’re responsible for lean improvement projects but others have to implement the changes? The answer is yes, if one key condition is achieved and maintained: responsibility for making the changes is given to and kept with the people who have to implement and maintain the improvements. That’s the key to the sensei approach.

The purpose of this workshop is to help lean leaders and change agents understand the importance of the role of coach in improving value-stream performance and developing the basic skills and perspectives to function effectively in that role. Specifically the program will describe how the activities of preparation, practice, adjustment and review can be used to lead others through implementing lean improvements.

Please note that this workshop is paired up with the Developing People with Capability for Lean program. It is not a requirement to attend both classes, but we highly recommend that you consider taking these two workshops together. While the Coaching Skills workshop allows you to try the sensei approach to coaching and leading and experience the fundamental difference between the role, skills and behaviors of managers in a conventional and lean environment, the workshop Developing People with Capabilities for Lean provides a general overview of the people development system and the role of management in creating the environment of problem solving and continuous improvement.


Through instruction, discussions, group activities, and hands-on exercises, you will learn how to:

  • Recognize the function of a coach in general and the limitations of the role
  • Develop the thinking and decision making of lean implementers, increasing their knowledge and skills for executing the immediate changes
  • Understand the sensei approach to coaching and recognize how the perspective and techniques contribute to successfully implementing and sustaining lean
    Understand the four key coaching practices for developing the effectiveness of lean implementers and practice the skills needed for each practice
  • Assess your own effectiveness as a lean coach and set goals for developing your skills

Course Outline:

  • Look at the common image of the coach and examine the myths and realities of the role
  • Describe the work of a coach and how to tell if it is effective
  • Consider the special requirements and challenges of coaching the implementers of lean improvements
  • Recognize the role of lean thinking in lean implementation
  • Examine the sensei approach to coaching and its value in lean implementation and recognize you do not have to be a lean expert to coach like a sensei
  • Recognize the four essential practices of the lean coach:
    • Giving the lean implementers the task or project as their own responsibility
    • Letting them think & practice on their own
    • Helping them see results vs. processes, plan vs. actual
    • Forcing reflection and learning from it
  • Set self-development goals based on review of your own skills and aspirations as a lean coach

Who Should Attend:

  • Lean project leaders, lean coordinators, lean change agents, continuous improvement executives, six sigma black belts, staff experts
  • Leaders and change agents who have faced the challenges of project completion and implementation of changes and improvements
  • Leaders, change agents, managers, executives who have experience with lean in manufacturing, service operations, healthcare, or not-for-profit organizations
David Verble David Verble
Lean Transformations Group

David has been a performance improvement consultant and leadership coach since 2000. Prior to that, he worked for Toyota in North America for 14 years, first as an internal change agent and later as a manager of human resource development at the plant and North American levels. He has been on the workshop faculty of the Lean Enterprise Institute for eleven years and has done presentations and workshops to support a number of the LEI affiliates in the Lean Global Network. David has worked with clients in manufacturing, healthcare, finance, and higher education in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. His work focuses on supporting clients in process improvement, development of lean management systems and practices, strategic thinking and problem solving, and leadership coaching for managers and executives.  David is a partner in the Lean Transformations Group and is based in Lexington, KY, where he works through Verble, Worth & Verble. 




Workshop Suggestion:
To maximize your learning experience we recommend that prior to attending this program you take following workshop or have a good understanding of the concepts presented within it.
Suggested Reading for this Workshop:
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Price: $800.00 ($700.00 if the participant is taking 2 or more workshops at one location)
Price includes all participant materials, breakfast, lunch and snacks each day

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Cancelation Policy
Our workshops are designed to cater to a limited number of participants.  If you must cancel a workshop registration, you will be given a full refund up to four weeks before the workshop. A cancelation occuring within four weeks of the workshop will be subjected to a $350 cancelation fee.  Substitutions may be made at any time prior to the start of the workshop. To cancel a workshop registration, please call LEI at (617) 871-2900.