What do Tony Robbins and Toyota Kata have in common?
The Purpose of Setting Goals
The purpose of a goal is not to get it,” Robbins says. “The purpose of a goal is who you become in pursuit of it.”
Similarly, the purpose of practicing the Improvement and Coaching Kata is not about the results you will achieve, but about the development of the “Learner” or the one experimenting to achieve their goal.
The Role of the Coach
Once you believe that the practice routine is about increasing the capability of a person and not about the outcomes you achieve – your role and your approach as a coach changes.
If I’m a teacher and I only care about everyone getting an A, I can give the answers, give study guides, tell you what is on the test, make the test easy, offer extra credit, retakes, etc. But, to be sure that students are learning and can apply what they have learned, my approach is different. Maybe it involves lots of discussion, open-ended questions and opportunities for students to “teach-back” what they read in a textbook.
Because results – the goal – are so appealing, some coaches get overly focused on the finish line such that they forget about the whole development part.
For instance, Sue is working on improving the patient experience at her clinic. Monthly surveys reveal that patients are often confused about their diagnosis and treatment plan.
Step 1: Sue’s long-term goal (her challenge) is highly satisfied and engaged patients as measured by 100% of patients understanding their diagnosis and treatment plan
Step 2: Current condition. Patient survey data reveal multiple comments indicating that patients are confused about their diagnosis and treatment plan. Realizing that month-old survey data is insufficient to fully understand her current condition, Sue decides to “go see.” She observes providers and finds that each one did give the patient a diagnosis and plan, and there was a great deal of variation in language used.
Step 3: Set your 1-month target condition. Sue described a target pattern of work where providers explained the treatment plan using key words at the beginning and end of each evaluation.
As Sue described her target to her coach, the coach responded that the target was too vague. “You have 17 providers and they are all going to interpret this differently. Your target should give them the specific words they need to use like “evaluation” and “treatment plan” and “next steps” and “exercises.” You need to eliminate the variation in messaging.”
The Mindset Behind the Coaching
Afterwards, the coach said to me, “I know you’re going to say I should not have changed her target condition and instead let her fail, but we need to get going. She’s been working too long with no results. Also, the providers won’t tolerate a bunch of different experiments. We need to do it right the first time.”
I don’t disagree with coaches giving direction when learners are off-course, but the thoughts behind this direction reveal a mindset that gets in the way of development.
Some important questions for this coach to ask himself are:
What is Sue learning?
What is my target for Sue’s learning?
What are the obstacles to that learning?
What can I (the coach) do differently to remove these obstacles?
In other words, what does the coach need to change about his own behavior to increase the learning of Sue?
Or, as Tony Robbins would say, who is Sue becoming on the way to engaging her patients? Is she developing as a leader or is she following directions and doing what her boss says to hit the numbers?