Webinar Preview: Steve Kane on Coaching Strategies for Leaders


Today, I'm sharing a preview (in podcast and transcript form) of a webinar that Steve Kane, from Gemba Academy, will presenting on April 8th as part of the KaiNexus webinar series.

Coaching Strategies for Leaders

It's free and I hope you'll join us. Learn more and register today.


Mark Graban: Hi, everybody. This is Mark Graban from KaiNexus. Today we're going to be talking about an upcoming webinar that's going to be held on April 8th at 1:00 Eastern. It's titled “Coaching Strategies for Leaders.” Today we are joined by the presenter of that webinar, Steve Kane. Steve, how are you? Thanks for joining us.

Steve Kane: Hey, Mark, doing well. Thanks very much for having me.

Mark: Thanks for being here. Thank you in advance for doing the webinar. Before we talk about the topic, as we usually do here, just ask you to introduce yourself. Talk about your background, and what you do today if you want to give us a little bit about that background.

Steve: Currently, I'm director of coaching and certification with Gemba Academy. What that means is, as many people may know, Gemba Academy produces videos teaching Lean and Six Sigma. My role is to help people apply what they're learning. I do that through formal coaching techniques, Kata, etc. I do that remotely and sometimes on-site.

My background in continuous improvement started in the medical device industry where I worked the production floor and began learning Lean. Then, over the years, promoted through vice president of operations where I was responsible for manufacturing in three factories in two different states here in the US.

That's where I learned Lean, and specifically got into coaching by learning Kata. Then moving on beyond that and learning coaching through Coach University. Started studying the discipline and finding better ways to improve leadership through coaching techniques.

Mark: You mentioned Gemba Academy. You produce videos. These are great videos by the way. I'm a big fan of everything that Gemba Academy produces, the videos and the podcasts that your colleagues produce. I can't recommend Gemba Academy enough.

Steve: Thanks very much.

Mark: …that endorsement, and really do mean that. Talking about coaching and what you've learned about coaching, that's the core of what you'll be sharing in the webinar, some of your lessons learned about how we can become better coaches, right?

Steve: Right. We'll talk about coaching techniques, how to be better at it, benefits of using coaching. We'll get into some of the paradoxes of coaching as leaders. There are some concepts that are contradictory when it comes to, say, being a manager and then also being a coach. We'll get into the detail of that as well.

Mark: That's a good teaser. We'll just leave it at that. You've got me really curious. What are those paradoxes? How do we navigate that? That's going to be part of the webinar on April 8th, right?

Steve: Absolutely.

Mark: I was curious if you could share a little bit, maybe this will be part of the webinar. Maybe one thing to follow up on a little bit is I'd be curious to hear some of your reflections on learning the Toyota Kata model and what that means coaching in that context.

Steve: Learning the Toyota Kata model, that's where it all began for me. I learned it as a very rigid practice, really sticking to the card. Then, over the years, came to learn that I was more effective when I internalized the model but relaxed my style a little bit.

As I became more proficient with Kata and later went on to study the broader aspect of coaching, I saw that the coaching models really are the same. It starts with, “Where do you want to go? Where are you now? What's getting in your way? And what are you going to do? And how are you going to hold yourself accountable?” very generally speaking. The discipline of coaching is nuanced.

There's quite a bit to it, and we'll get into those details in the webinar.

here's actually a great deal of depth to becoming proficient as a coach.

Mark: It's something that's a practice, right?

Steve: Right, and it's a deliberate practice.

Mark: …deliberate practice.

Steve: Yes, exactly, very. There are differences between, say, coaching and teaching, coaching and managing, and such. When you're working as a coach, sometimes you have to step out of that coaching role and go into manager role or into teacher role.

One of the keys that we'll discuss in the webinar is being aware, first, that you're doing it, doing it with purpose, and knowing when to come back to the role of coaching.

Mark: That piques my interest. That's another thing we'll just leave it at that for now, another thing to look forward to in the webinar. One other comment. You talked about being rigid with the Kata approach. I'm by no means an expert on Toyota Kata, but it seemed like Mike Rother talks a lot about these routines as they're taught are what he calls the starter Kata.

Then it's something that you can personalize, adapt, and change. That's part of the process you went through it sounds like, right?

Steve: That's exactly right. At first, I thought I had to be very rigid and stick exactly to the questions the way they're written. It took a while to learn to break from the rigidity and, at the same time, stay within the pattern of helping somebody understand where they're headed, where they are now, etc.

Mark: Very interesting, really looking forward to it. There's a lot, even from just the preview here and looking at the learning objectives and everything for the webinar. I think it's going to be a really, really interesting session. Again, to the listeners, that's going to be done as a webinar on April 8th, one o'clock Eastern.

I will be there as host and moderator. Again, Steve Kane from Gemba Academy will be there as the presenter talking about coaching strategies for leaders. You can register for that today if you go to kainexus.com/webinars. We encourage you to do that.

A final question for you, Steve, bringing things back to Gemba Academy. You talked about your own background in manufacturing. I know you have customers in various industries, as does KaiNexus. It's just a final question if you could speak to that a little bit, some of the diversity in your customer base.

Steve: We deal with so many organizations around the world, the minority of which are in manufacturing. We're dealing with organizations in, of course, health care is very big, education, finance, insurance, the military. Basically, any industry that we can think of, Gemba Academy is involved in.
Some of the hot topics of late, of course, and I think we're seeing this all around the Lean community, is how do we apply these practices in office environments or transactional environments, translating from manufacturing?

Mark: Again, I encourage everyone to go register for the webinar, kainexus.com/webinars. Steve, again, thanks for doing the webinar, and thank you for providing a bit of a preview today.

Steve: You're welcome. It's my pleasure. Thanks very much.

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


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