Why A Lean Practitioner Is Just Like An Endurance Coach

I recently made an exciting discovery I’d like to share with you. It’s about the connection between Lean coaching and endurance sports coaching.
I’ve been practising for the local mountain bike enduro-competition that is held in Western Australia. In preparation, I’d signed up for a coaching clinic run by a former world champion rider.
It was a surprise to discover the parallels between what I do as a Lean practitioner and what he was doing as a sports coach.

This was his technique. He watched us carry out a series of corners. As we were pushing our bikes back up the start again, he would have a one-on-one with each individual person.

Attention To Detail
He’d say, “Okay, so this is your stance on the bike. This is where you had your pedals. Here’s where your head was. Your arms were doing this. You were at this line on the track. So, what you need to do is XYZ. You know, I want you to focus more on your pedals. I want you to focus on the line. You need to be coming in at this point. Don’t worry about that obstacle, just ride straight over it, your bike will absorb that.”

Greatness Comes From Basics
This is exactly what I do with leadership teams I coach. I come into a business and I help them set up some nice, simple fundamentals and easy positive habits. What makes you great at something is having the basics right. That’s what is important.
Improvement From Getting Basics Right
If you have the basics right, and you can do them repeatedly and consistently, you can improve. If you don’t have your basics right and you have chaos. You don’t have consistency and you can’t improve. You can’t get any better than you are, you’ll hit a limit. This is exactly how I coach a business when I come and introduce Lean to them.
The Improvement Pattern
Watching my mountain bike coach at work was a light bulb moment for me. It was a refreshing and exciting realisation to see how the pattern of improvement carries across from sport to business and life in general.

The author having fun on the bike

Clarity Creates Excitement
I also enjoyed being the participant instead of being the coach. I’ve always been someone who wants to learn more. That’s why I go and do things like that coaching clinic. I like to get better. I now understand that a good coach gets you excited by creating clarity. They empower you by helping you understand exactly what you need to do to improve.
Lean Coaching Shifts Culture
If you want to improve the efficiency or effectiveness of your business and if you want to shift your people’s culture it is worth engaging a Lean practitioner. They will give you tools and coach you on how to use them effectively. They will coach you on how to handle the difficulties and challenges.
Coaching Builds Confidence
If you practice the right skills in the correct way, you can create a culture where your people are excited to come to work. They feel confident to work with you to improve the efficiency of the business.
Practise Getting It Right
I get out on my mountain bike every chance I can and I pay attention to the basics. I practise getting those skills right. I see a gradual improvement. I am loving the clarity and confidence that is building up.
Improve Your Business
As a business leader, you can feel like that too. You can get clear about a basic set of tools and you can be coached in using them to achieve improvement in your business.


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