Had You Connected to the Last Event

Veronica MarquezBy Veronica Marquez, M.Sc., CSSBB, ASQ senior member, and Had You Connected . . . COACHING SIX-SIGMA TEAMS

On October 28th, the Montreal section was around their computer screens to listen to a talk about Diego Lythgoe’s perspective on his journey of coaching.

Diego started with introducing the “coaching definition”, according to the International Coaching Federation (ICF): “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential”. It is important to realise that coaching is not teaching and is not mentoring. It is an exploration based on curiosity and not knowing the answers. For those that practice Lean Six Sigma projects, this may sound somewhat familiar.

Based on my understanding from the presentation, the coaching’s competency model relies on 4 main sections. I’ve represented it in the following table.

The coach is there to help the client, not to solve the issue. The conversation therefore needs to focus on how the client is seeing and understanding the issue. It is about seeing the issue from the client’s perspective and their understanding of it. Since the coach is there for the client’s “growth to be optimal”, the focus must be on the client and not the issue being solved.

When looking at coaching outcomes specifically for a LSS practitioner’s development path, we can see two distinct axes. First, from individual to collective goals. Second, from behaviour to results. This 2 by 2 matrix lets us plot the different coaching outcomes that can be worked on depending on the experience of the LSS and the goals of development. Since Diego was addressing coaching in LSS teams, the team dynamics becomes an important element to consider. Therefore, he looks for shared goals and purposes; structured communications; allocated responsibilities and accountabilities; a level of interdependence; a willingness to place the collective goal above their own priorities; clear boundaries; and operating within a social system context. The coach of the LSS team must be able to understand the environment within which the team is operating; understand the phases of team development; understand the power and politics; connect the coaching to organisational change and development; and finally, consider the coaching as a leadership development process.

Interestingly, Diego presented the coaching system as being part of a social ecology, i.e. the organisation’s environment. Meaning that the coach interacts within an established system between the client team and the management, and both of these form part of the whole organisation. The coach’s relationship with both the client team and the management requires important levels of trust that cannot be breached. Therefore, a situation where the coach also directly reports to the management can create discomfort and uneasiness. Clear guidelines and methodology appear to be critical for the coaching cycle to be successful when in such an environment.Finally, as practitioners of LSS, we are familiar with the Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control (DMAIC) approach. Diego took it further and applied coaching to it and presented a new framework which guides the coach to use the DMAIC principles when coaching. The key elements of this framework are that all steps are driven with open questions as the coach wants to insight reflection to the client.

Diego finished the presentation with some of his personal “a-ha” moments into his coaching journey. His passion for coaching and for LSS wholly evident through his entire talk. I sincerely hope that you can meet him one day and have a conversation with him about coaching. It will encourage you to learn more about it.

Thank you Diego!