Why Toyota is a big user of coaching

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Toyota may be process driven, but they are significant users of coaching to gain buy-in into those processes. Here’s why. By Karn G. Bulsu...

Toyota may be process driven, but they are significant users of coaching to gain buy-in into those processes. Here’s why.

By Karn G. Bulsuk



Toyota is often thought of to be a very process driven organisation, and it’s true. There’s a intrinsic belief within the company that perfecting processes through kaizen will lead to a superior product.

When it comes to passing on these processes onto a new generation of Toyota professionals and factory workers, the main format of doing so is coaching. In addition to classroom training, a great deal of coaching happens in the field.

The whole nature of kaizen is geared towards coaching, as people are encouraged to seek out answers with guidance using root cause analysis methods such as the 5-whys. There are times when your mentor simply will ask you “why do you think that way?”, not out of malice, but in an effort to help you take yourself through your thought and logic process, guided by the mentor’s experience.

While it is true that a great deal of process documentation is available, it is important for one to achieve a full understanding of why something is done that way. How many times have you been told to do something which just simply doesn’t seem to make sense? The Toyota method of coaching helps to break down that barrier, and achieve a greater level of buy-in and subsequent adherence to the process.

Of course, Toyota understands that processes are never perfect and so encourage improvements through kaizen. The only way to make such improvements through, is to understand the process in the first place. As a result, coaching is a self-fulfilling prophecy which helps to support the whole kaizen loop in the first place.


Photo credit: Bernie Zimmerman

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Karn G. Bulsuk: Full Speed Ahead: Why Toyota is a big user of coaching
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