TBS 966 Business Coaching Strategy and Planning

Assessment 2


A comparison of 2 approaches to coaching strategy: Hoshin Kanri and Story Telling.

Write an essay on the following topic: “Compare and contrast two coaching approaches. Argue why one of these approaches is more suitable for you in coaching business strategy.” Demonstrate a good awareness of academic literature in your response.

Barry Hemmings Student No – 3300705 Submission date: Monday, 9 November 2009

A comparison of 2 approaches to coaching strategy: Hoshin Kanri and Story Telling.

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the relationships between these approaches will be considered where coaching of strategy is occurring. These approaches are chosen because of the apparent differences between them – one being very ordered and process driven and the other being almost organic in its growth and presence in an organisation. 2009. as the customer becomes more enlightened. These approaches will be compared in terms of their functions and capabilities. Hoshin Kanri is a Japanese derived method for the management of quality and planning in organisations in a way that is controlled and systematic (Witcher & Butterworth." These descriptions essentially outline the ways that strategy manifests itself given environmental (internal and external) circumstances. A comparison of 2 approaches to coaching strategy: Hoshin Kanri and Story Telling. strategy as a plan is simply what the organisation expects to do within a given timeframe whereas strategy as a ploy is a discrete strategic choice that is designed to have an impact on the immediate operating environment of the business such as a competitor (Mintzberg. Consider for example that Lyons (2006) points out that the process of top level coaching is central to the strategic direction of an organisation and is key to the achievement of alignment for organisational members. influence and control making decisions that will decide (to some extent) the future direction of the business or organisation. It can easily be argued that a change to the strategic direction of the organisation occurs as a direct effect of the coaching process. approaches that offer the best fit and chance of success for the coaching program that take into account the diversity of organisational citizens from managers to operational staff. That this activity occurs at the head of the organisation becomes an important environmental variable for business and executive coaches to take account of when working with organisations. 2003). mindful or insightful re their current working or personal circumstances (arising from the coaching relationship). a ploy. p. a position or a perspective. 1987). According to Mintzberg (1987) strategy can be described as: "a plan. What must be considered however are the approaches that a coach can adopt or favour when coaching strategy to ensure that all levels of the organisation are appropriately affected by the coaching initiative. new choices are made regarding strategy and thus new courses are charted for the organisation. So that. a pattern. Of the many that are available to the coach. 2 approaches will be discussed here: Hoshin Kanri and Storytelling.3). Scholes & Whittington. Witcher. What is consistent however is that strategy involves those with sufficient power.Strategy is fundamental to the success of any business enterprise and is the mechanism by which the organisation defines its operations over the long term (Johnson. The first approach to the development of strategy to be considered here is Hoshin Kanri. Page 2 of 8 . That is. As well. 2001. Mintzberg’s other descriptions have other nuances according to how the strategy may be developed and deployed. For example.

2001). Kanri = management control of the company’s focus. Within the Hoshin Kanri system. executives are able to manage and control the strategic direction and the realisation of strategic outcomes within an organisation (Witcher. mission. 2008). In the catchball phase of the process. a course. Middle management then take these objectives and are responsible for how these objectives will be met which in turn leads to the development of Hoshins or policies (Thomasen. 2003). Act (PDCA) . Finally. goals can be changed to reflect what is achievable (Tennant and Roberts. 2003). 2005). A comparison of 2 approaches to coaching strategy: Hoshin Kanri and Story Telling. 2003. Which is that there is structure and method that applies to this approach. this is central to the achievement of successful outcomes from any planning and strategic process (Jolayemi.The name Hoshin Kanri has the following meaning: Hoshin = a compass. Source: Jolayemi (2008). 2001. a plan. After the development of the Hoshins or action plans. a policy. Witcher (2003) also suggests that the executives in an organisation should expect to achieve four main things from its strategic management with the aid of Hoshin Kanri: Focus. There is further refinement and development of the Hoshins via discussion and negotiation between the 3 stakeholder groups via a process known as catchball (Tennant and Roberts. 2001). This will be an intuitive area for the focus of a coach. if specific action plans that are suitable for achieving the strategic outcomes of the organisation cannot be clearly defined. Do. Witcher. Integration. Related to the FAIR framework are the key attributes or values that guide the formation of the Hoshins which are Quality. Delivery and Education (QCDE). there is a review process that involves senior management examining the effects of the implementation (Witcher & Butterworth. According to the proponents of the Hoshin Kanri approach. The Hoshin Kanri process commences with the development and determination of the vision. It is in this FAIR framework that the real value of Hoshin Kanri can be seen. The use of policy to manage strategy in an organisation makes some sense of course simply because it is policy that provides the parameters for organisational function and operation and thus provides a systematic and reliable method for the achievement of alignment with the organisation regarding expected strategic outcomes. 2008) which is consistent with more widely known and used quality processes such as Plan. Check. Page 3 of 8 . Cost. Alignment. and Review which then becomes the FAIR framework (Witcher. implementation teams are assigned responsibility for the rollout of the plans to the rest of the organisation. values and objectives at the highest levels of the organisation. an aim. Jolayemi.

In terms of the relationship between Story Telling and strategy. Particularly in relation to management credibility and the availability of information that may influence the direction of the alignment of staff. suggests that in the A comparison of 2 approaches to coaching strategy: Hoshin Kanri and Story Telling. An interesting consideration for coaching in this space is that story telling is a common feature of the social fabric of organisational life and will therefore be a useful means of creating social and professional bonds with members of client organisations. What this suggests then is that Story Telling within organisations has real capacity to bring about alignment between members of a workforce which is of course an expected outcome of the process of strategy development. For example Luhman (2005) describes story telling as having different characteristics based on whether it is: a) examining and bringing meaning to past events (story coercion). Moreover. the narratives that permeate throughout the workplace will be the source of much valuable information about the status of the management efforts of the senior members of the management team and will prove to be a significant resource on the journey toward improvement. Pounsford (2007) for example. Pounsford (2007) for example gives us the term “strategic dialogue”. Page 4 of 8 . b) considering the meaning of events at the point of their occurrence (story weaving).There is real grist for the coaching mill in the Hoshin Kanri process as it is described above. organisational citizens are thus simultaneously creating and sharing a vision of workplace events. 2006). At what seems to be an opposite end of the spectrum to Hoshin Kanri as an approach to coaching strategy is story telling. Source: Luhman (2005). 2006). There are challenges for managers and coaches within the Story Telling approach of course. This term is used to describe the use of story telling as a means of translating the broad strategic vision for the organisation into a language or form that will begin to create the necessary buy in from the staff. Story telling in organisational settings is also quite a complex activity in terms of its scope and function. Within these interactions. Especially as it relates to the development of clear business requirements and plans by senior executives as well the need for managed conflict between the stakeholders as part of the catchball process. processes and beliefs and therefore creating a workplace culture. Story telling is a natural activity undertaken by humans in an effort to understand or make sense of their environment in a way that is social and interactive (Boje & Durant. and. c) predicting the meaning of organisational events that are yet to occur (story betting). Importantly for the coach. stories of shared experience have great capacity to shape and influence organisational culture and subsequent behaviour (Boje and Durrant.

Hoshin Kanri has built within it a consistent requirement for high level audits (Witcher. Consider then what the presence of Hoshin Kanri in an organisation must represent as a starting point for the coach seeking to establish the present position of the business. Chau & Witcher. Hoshin Kanri approaches are necessarily structured and well organised and in turn demand structure and rigour from organisational participants. p. For example. 2008). there are many benefits to this approach in terms of gaining management buy in simply because control is such a desirable commodity for leaders and managers (Bartol.21). 1996. 2004). the Helping Model first seeks to help the client establish the present position. What must be considered by the coach though is how these concepts compare when considered in organisational settings. the requirements for compliance bring an opportunity to detect variance and to thus start to build a A comparison of 2 approaches to coaching strategy: Hoshin Kanri and Story Telling. These perspectives are realities of organisational life and represent to some extent the ongoing struggle for managers and leaders to bring about structure and order to business.554). people or processes that are to be the subject of change (Leimon. the discourse and narratives that run through an organisation are much more likely to be influenced by information that comes from a wide variety of information sources. Especially to those narratives that occur outside of the executive management team because it is here that much of the valuable information about the performance of the organisation in relation to strategy will be gathered. For coaching. Page 5 of 8 . 2005. Moreover. Moreover. 2004). Mintzberg (2004) for example. many of the more popular coaching frameworks feature a progression that includes at some point an assessment of the current position within an organisation. p.current social and technological environment where information is so freely available. So that. Hoshin Kanri also comes with an ordered process for implementation. then to develop the preferred scenario for the business. Martin. the results of which would therefore be an instant source of information about the current state of the performance of the organisation. describes a disconnect between the strategic view of the organisation as set out in plans and strategies and the operational reality of the organisation that is maintained by staff at the lower levels of a business (de Holan & Mintzberg. News of the developments within an industrial setting in similar industries from across the world are available quickly and easily and must be expected to influence the thinking and decisions made by operational staff. For the coach in these circumstances. there is a real imperative to plug into these networks of relatedness and to begin the task of listening to the narratives within the organisation. 2003. What this points to then is the opportunity for an important side effect of strategy development – organisational control. Muscovici & McMahon. Tein & Matthews. much of organisational life (and success) relates to the effective development and use of professional networks that operate outside of the confines of organisational hierarchies (Mintzberg.

case for change. When coaching with this approach. That is. So. the understanding of the importance of the A comparison of 2 approaches to coaching strategy: Hoshin Kanri and Story Telling. However. The argument then is for the benefits of both approaches for the practicing coach. Story Telling represents a key element of the coach’s toolkit in doing deeper analysis of the function of the organisation. While Hoshin Kanri represents a chance to establish what may be in need of improvement/attention from the coach. It is simple to argue then that Hoshin Kanri within a client organisation represents low hanging fruit for a coach. Each of these executives and managers will have a unique story that defines their history within the industry or the business and which will fundamentally affect their behaviour and will therefore potentially influence the outcome. an opportunity for the coach to bridge the gap between what the organisation must/should/expects to do (Hoshin Kanri) and what we really have been doing and will continue to do (Story Telling). As well. it is reasonably clear that these approaches can be complementary in the development and implementation of strategy. an approach that is structured and organised that takes account of the processes that surround the top level development and planning of strategy. In that. the story telling technique brings the benefit of engagement of stakeholders but less structure or order to the process whereas Hoshin Kanri approach has order and structure but could potentially lack the ability to engage staff at the operational level due to it being a primarily top down approach. Similarly. To really dig in to the social fabric of the organisation so that the coach can truly understand the drivers of culture within an organisation. an understanding of Story Telling presents as an opportunity for the coach to establish why an organisation or process functions in the way that it does. While the differences between these approaches seem clear and obvious. It is not the argument here that these are so different that they represent a genuine paradigm difference for coaching practitioners when coaching strategy. A further development of this idea would be to suggest that more than being merely complementary. a simple facts based approach that takes into account matters of compliance with organisational policy is just part of the puzzle for the practicing coach really. the implementation team in the Hoshin Kanri process will need to engage with the operational staff in the organisation. Page 6 of 8 . So. they are in fact integral parts of a successful coaching initiative. Consider for the example the descriptions of Hoshin Kanri above. the coach will need to consider the personal and professional relationships that exist between the members of the executive team and between the executive team and the middle management and implementation teams. To learn their stories and to understand the culture if they are to fully realise the potential that resides within the Hoshins that guide the strategy of the organisation.

organisational narratives that grow around the history of the citizens of the organisation and the blending of these methods in a way that brings the best outcome for the client. A comparison of 2 approaches to coaching strategy: Hoshin Kanri and Story Telling. Page 7 of 8 .

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