Home > Education> Workshops> Improvement Kata / Coaching Kata

Improvement Kata / Coaching Kata (3 Day Class)

Learning Objectives:

How will the participants be able to apply the knowledge they'll get in class?

We see the attendees of this program as the "Scouts" and as an "Advance Group" in their organizations. By learning from the original TK researchers and key practitioners attendees will be better equipped to plan, monitor and fine-tune their organization's TK teaching/coaching approach.




What is a Kata?

A kata is a pattern you practice to learn a skill and mindset. Through practice the pattern of a kata becomes second nature - done with little conscious attention - and readily available. Examples are riding a bicycle, driving a car, typing. People who have learned to drive don't think much about using the car's controls. They focus on navigating the road ahead.


What is the Improvement Kata?

Ask yourself: What patterns of thought and action do we practice and reinforce every day in our organization?


Improvement Kata


The pattern of the improvement kata is a fundamental pattern for improving, adapting and innovating. The improvement kata is scientific, goal-directed working, not random hunting for opportunities or disconnected reaction to problems. Practicing it helps us get better at meeting challenges in business and in many other endeavors. Think of the improvement kata as a "meta-habit" that aims to change our mental operating system so our human capabilities come to greater fruition.

The improvement kata is the context within which lean tools are intended to be applied. Without it you won't get continuous improvement. In the lean environment, the improvement kata pattern is reinforced in daily management, daily problem solving, quality circles, improvement events & A3s. A version of the improvement-kata pattern is embedded in each of these activities.

The overall goal, as with any kata, is to make the pattern and mindset of the improvement kata an autonomic habit. This happens through deliberate, coached practice in daily work.

This program introduces the concepts of the Improvement Kata and Coaching Kata in an engaging hands-on format helping attendees learn how to apply them in their organizations to create the culture of continuous improvement and learning.



What can I expect to learn?

The Improvement Kata impacts your organization by:

• Providing a systematic, scientific routine that can be applied to any goal.
• Commonizing how the members of an organization navigate uncertainty and develop solutions.
• Migrating managers toward a role of coach and mentor, by teaching them to conduct coaching cycles.
• Actualizing PDCA in a way that has people learning from small steps every day.

Program Outline:

The program is offered over the course of 3 consecutive days:

• Days 1-2: Practice with the Improvement Kata and Coaching Kata
• Day 3:
Practitioner Day - Exclusive


Days 1 and 2: Practice with the Improvement Kata & Coaching Kata 

Days 1-2 of the Improvement Kata Workshop use an iterative combination of "Presentation > Experiential Exercise > Discussion" to provide you with initial first-hand experience with the Improvement Kata and Coaching Kata. Participants will better understand what is involved in deploying lean-style improvement-skill development and how to do it every day in their organizations.


You will:

  • Recognize two different mindsets that drive behaviors and form the foundation of an organization's culture... one continuously improving, one only occasionally improving.
  • Understand hands-on coaching and practice routines that create greater improvement skills and an exploratory mindset -- foundation of continuous improvement, adaptation and innovation.
  • Recognize the role of leaders and, especially, line managers in creating a deliberate culture of continuous improvement.


Learning Blocks:

  • PART I: The Improvement Kata Mindset.
    A deep look at the thought and behavior patterns lean organizations practice as they go about their daily routines, and how they shape their organizations' culture and the ability to adapt and continuously improve.
  • PART II: Hands-On Practice with the Improvement Kata (A).
    Focus = Grasp the Current Condition and establish the Next Target Condition
  • PART III: Hands-On Practice with the Improvement Kata (B).
    Focus = PDCA and the Coaching Kata / 5 Questions
  • PART IV: Deploying the Improvement Kata in Your Organization


Day 3: Practitioner Day

BillThere is now enough experience with the Improvement Kata in the field that we can bring practitioners to share lessons learned with you. The Practitioner Day dovetails with the previous two-day session by providing Improvement Kata deployment methodologies and practical experiences from the field in a structured and facilitated question-and-answer format. Three business leaders will share their successes and failures with the Improvement Kata/Coaching Kata approach. They will present information about the unforeseen obstacles encountered and how they overcame the challenges in their organization's development of the Improvement Kata skill, mindset and culture. The session includes built-in time to address the attendees' specific questions.

You will:

  • Learn the shortfalls of many current Kaizen and waste elimination efforts.
  • Learn what the role of coaching and the management practice of a Coaching Kata looks like.
  • Find out about the paradigm shifts learners go through as they gain Kata skills.
  • Hear how Improvement Kata/Coaching Kata behaviors are being applied to create true Continuous Improvement.


Learning blocks:

Teaching KataExperienced Improvement Kata / Coaching Kata practitioners present and discuss their experiences on the following topics. This session is moderated to ensure structured learning.

  • PART I: The Four Routines of the Improvement Kata
  • PART II: Skill Acquisition & Assessment
  • PART III: Learner, Coach and 2nd Coach Roles
  • PART IV: Vision and Challenge
  • PART V: Changing Culture - Mindset & Behavior


Who should attend?

  • Managers who want to lead and manage more effectively in today's environment.
  • Lean specialists and consultants who want to acquire new skills and learn what their role will be.
  • HR and OD professionals charged with Leadership Development and involving more of their organization's people in improvement, adaptation and innovation.
  • Leaders who want more clarity about what their management teams should be doing in order to achieve competitive advantage in today's markets.
  • Value Stream Mappers who want a systematic way of really achieving their future-state designs.

For culture-change through skill development, it's managers and leaders who should develop familiarity with the Improvement Kata and Coaching Kata -- via practice -- ahead of others in the organization!




Toyota Kata BookRecommended pre work:


Elizabeth Carrington Elizabeth Carrington
President and Master Coach
Carrington Consulting

Beth is an Improvement Kata/Coaching Kata Instructor and Program Developer at LEI and other global organizations such as the University and Michigan.  Since 2008 Beth has worked with organization’s deploying the Improvement Kata and Coaching Kata. Since 1999 Beth has been leading organizations in lean transformations helping a diverse group of clients; small and large, repetitive and custom processors in the manufacturing, healthcare, service and government sectors. Prior to consulting, Beth has over 20 years experience in leadership within the personal care, furniture and automotive industries.

William Costantino William Costantino
Senior Partner
W3 Group
Bill Costantino was one of the very first employees at Toyota's Georgetown, KY auto plant where he worked as a Group Leader for seven years. He has subsequently worked for the last 17 years as an independent consultant, supporting companies making the transition to more lean ways of operating. He has consulted extensively across a wide range of clients in diverse industries. For the last 2 years, Bill has been collaborating closely with Mike Rother, author of "Toyota Kata". Mike & Bill have developed and now co-lead a three-day professional development workshop with the University of Michigan, teaching the underlying philosophy and critical routines of the Toyota Kata approach to management. Bill is also an LEI Toyota Kata instructor.
Steve Medland Steve Medland
Steve Medland has spent over 20 years leading, consulting, teaching, and learning operations, lean, and supply chain related practices in industries from metal fabrication and machining to grocery retail. Steve enjoys applying lean principles and other best practices to non-manufacturing processes in the supply chain such as the customer interface, supply management, inventory management, and distribution. Steve also teaches Supply Chain and Operations Management at Colorado State University in the College of Business and the College of Engineering.
Mike Rother Mike Rother
Engineer, Researcher, Teacher and Speaker
Rother & Company
Mike is co-author of two groundbreaking LEI workbooks, Learning to See: value-stream mapping to add value and eliminate muda, which received a Shingo Research Award in 1999 and Creating Continuous Flow: an action guide for managers, engineers and production associates, which received a Shingo Award in 2003. He co-developed the accompanying Training to See kit that teaches facilitators how to run value-stream mapping workshops. His latest book is Toyota Kata (McGraw-Hill). Mike is an engineer, a researcher, teacher, consultant, and speaker on the subjects of management, leadership, improvement, adaptiveness, and change in human organizations. His affiliations have included the Industrial Technology Institute (Ann Arbor), the University of Michigan College of Engineering, the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation (Stuttgart), and the Technical University Dortmund. Mike began his career in the manufacturing division of Thyssen AG in Germany. He lives in Ann Arbor, MI, and Cologne, Germany.

Suggested Reading for this Workshop:
Locations and Dates for Improvement Kata / Coaching Kata
April 24-26
W Seattle
Seattle, WA
Instructor: Elizabeth Carrington
Hotel Discount Available
Important Information About This Event & Location

We encourage you to make hotel accommodations early.

Price: $2,400.00 ($2,100.00 if the participant is taking 2 or more workshops at one location)
Price includes all participant materials, breakfast, lunch and snacks each day

Sign up to be notified when this workshop is available in your area

Bring this workshop to your company with On-Site Training Learn more »

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.