The Leader’s Role as Coach [Lessons from the Road]

by Jamie Flinchbaugh on 10-22-12

My latest column for Industry Week, Lessons from the Road, titled Lessons from the Road: The Leader’s Role as Coach has been posted. Here is the intro:


Here are some specific opportunities to improve our daily coaching efforts.

1. Coach method versus solution. When someone comes to you describing a problem, what are you doing besides listening? Most likely, you are thinking of the answer. Now that you have an answer and start to coach, you might try to steer, or “coach,” the other person toward his or her answer. Not only is it natural, it feels rewarding because the other person accepts your brilliant answer.

But this is not how people learn to think, improve and solve problems. To learn, it’s not about a set of answers for a narrow set of problems, but about how to develop the answers.

Instead of coaching people toward a solution, we need to coach people through a method or technique. A method is what is repeatable, and it’s a very different and harder form of coaching…

You can read the entire post here.

Following are my previous Lessons from the Road columns:

Decision about Making Decisions
There is much advice in the business world, and beyond, about improving decision making. It is broad and complex, and tackling the challenge is much like taking on culture change. But what specifically can lean teach us about decision-making?

Don’t Waste Your Metrics
Four keys to making metrics a better part of your evaluation process.

Experiment Your Way to Success
How the mother of all learning methods can help your organization improve.

Securing the Elusive Lean Buy-In
Take advantage of this four-step process to achieve buy-in for your lean efforts.

Building Manager Standard Work
Standardization can help you free up time and use it more proactively.

Going to the Gemba
Far from a stroll on the plant floor, a gemba represents a purposeful attempt to learn what is really going on.

How to Train Without Training
When training dollars are scarce, there are still good ways to develop your workforce. Try these three strategies.

Lessons From the Road: Sustaining Your 5S Efforts
5S too often is short-lived, but these six steps can help keep it running smoothly.

Lessons From the Road: Surfacing Problems Daily
Advice for building a problem-solving culture.