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My second Kata dojo

I did my first Kata dojo in May, and now I have done my second dojo with the same team. As they have practiced what they learned from the first training, we had to raise the level to make them struggle (it is when you struggle you learn). In the first dojo we worked with problems occurring during the coaching cycle through a tailor-made case. Working with a case made the problems and coaching techniques extremely clear.

This time we just went out in working area and picked a couple of on-going A3/Kata cases to practice on. Before starting to practice coaching cycles, we analyzed each case in depth together, taking the first step “Understand the problem/challenge”. All of the cases we analyzed were lacking a clear connection to the strategy or overall goals and some of them were lobbying for solutions already in the problem definition. That became the focus areas for this dojo.

We repeated some coaching techniques from the last dojo session and then started to coach in pairs with open discussions and feedback. It was a real eye-opener to everyone how important it is for the coach to deeply understand the improvement kata/A3 steps and the PDCA thinking to be a good coach. And that takes practice. As Tilo Swcharz said:

— It is the Coach who is the real Learner and the Learner is the Improver.

I really share his thinking and understand how much more training we need to put on Coaches. I also realized that it is the coaching ability which secures the quality of how we are reaching the challenge.

There are of course several ways to strengthen the coach training, and I can see a combination of three activities that support each other:

  • As a manager and coach, run your own A3/kata with peer coaching (if you do not have a manager to coach you)
  • Have a second coach watching coaching cycles and giving feedback to the coach
  • Pick some problem areas that you are struggling with and run a dojo = intensive training

If I could add one more area as a suggestion to all of you who are coaching:

Prepare your coaching cycles by reading and thinking through the A3/kata from the perspective of the methodology. There are many checklists available and you can start by reading “The Toyota Kata Practice Guide” by Mike Rother, page 249.

By Pia Anhede, Revere
pia@anhede.com +46705438048