Home > Improvement Kata & Coaching Kata> THE ROLE OF THE LEAN COACH


Here's one for discussion... a useful way to look at Lean coaching.
By Gerd Aulinger & Mike Rother | November 2012
by Todd Weston | November 2012

I still don’t know the best way to portray the coach/learner relationship.  However, I believe the important part of the message is to reinforce the fact that a good coach is able to see the direction and guide the learner.  All the while, the coach should be respectful and humble enough to know that he/she will learn something from the student.


Since beginning my own practice with kata, I have realized that I am no longer seeking the opinions of “experts”.  But rather, I find myself gravitating toward the lessons of fellow knowledge seekers.  I have learned a lot from fellow coaches, but I have also gained a great deal of knowledge from the learners.


I like the image of the coach and the learner climbing the mountain together.  The symbiotic nature of the relationship represents the coach/learner relationship as I see it.  I am still struggling how to convey to people that have not experienced this type of relationship (kata or otherwise) that the most rewarding part for me is the simple fact that – the more I learn…the less I know.


In the end I just want to convey that I see the important part of climbing the mountain as being that the coach should not have all of the answers, but should be wide open to gaining knowledge from the learner while guiding them toward the next Target Condition on the way to an overarching Challenge.


Todd Weston

Director of Manufacturing Engineering



West Warwick, RI

Kata Contributors
Gerardo Aulinger
Barb Bouche
Elizabeth Carrington
William Costantino
Jeremiah Davis
Tyler Fife
Richard Fleming
Håkan Forss
Dennis Gawlik
Richard Green
Craig Kennedy
Jeffrey Liker
Drew Locher
Michael Lombard
Constantin May
Kyle Muramatsu
Tyson Ortiz
Stuart Powell
Tadas Puksta
Nicole Purrier
Mark Rosenthal
Mike Rother
Meryl Runion
Tilo Schwarz
Karsten Seydel
Julie Simmons
Alex Thomason
Jeffrey Uitenbroek
Emiel van Est
Tony Webster
Todd Weston