posted 24 Nov 2006 in Volume 10 Issue 3
Thought leader: A model for coaching at Honda
By Duncan Johnston
IF YOU have seen any TV over the past year you will have seen Honda’s ‘Hate Something, Change Something’ commercial. This originated not from an ad’ agency brainstorming session, but is in fact the story behind the development of the car-maker’s first ever diesel car engine.
The task was handed to chief engineer Kenichi Nagahiro because he hated diesel engines. His hatred, however, fuelled his drive to develop a better diesel engine, hence the opening line of the song, “Can hate be good, can hate be great?”
Such an imaginative approach is reflected throughout Honda. For me as the employee development manager for Honda in the UK, this is epitomised by a quote from founder Siochiro Honda: “Action without philosophy is a lethal weapon; philosophy without action is worthless.”
We are driving a new principle for how we manage training in Honda: ‘Action without training is a lethal weapon; and training without action is worthless’. One example of this is a new initiative called, ‘The Power of Dreams – Coaching for Talent’.
The idea is to combine training with a personal coaching model, built upon the belief that corporate ‘talent management’ should improve the abilities of the workforce as a whole, not just a handful of so-called stars.
The programme’s structure is based on the 10:20:30:40 approach of Mick Cope. That is to say, ten per cent of resources should be spent finding the right coaches; 20 per cent training them; 30 per cent on support to help them convert theory into behavioural change; and, 40 per cent integrating learning into mainstream corporate activities. For example:
- Ten per cent – Choose Most coaching programmes don’t fail in their early stages, but later. A key aspect of my role has been to carefully work through this need for passion and persistence with each coach and ensure that they understand the investment being made;
- Twenty per cent – Train Training must give each coach a consistent framework they can use with the client. A core ethos of the training is to help them teach clients the coaching model. This eliminates dependency and improves transfer of ownership by placing responsibility for change firmly on the shoulders of the client;
- Thirty per cent – Coach After the course each coach will receive one to one support from an external agent. These coaches will be responsible for coaching the next batch of corporate coaches, eliminating the need for external support;
- Forty per cent – Do At this stage the coaches will be helped to integrate their role with their day jobs and learn to run both, side by side.
The measure of our success will not be the number of course attendees, but the extent to which we see a clear behavioural change.
Ultimately, I believe training should be turned on its head. Instead of organisations pushing staff onto courses to ‘fill their heads’ with whatever they believe needs to be learnt, staff should be able to articulate their needs, which line managers can be assured will help drive business value. What’s there to hate about that?
Duncan Johnston can be contacted at email@example.com. To find out more about the 10:20:30:40 model of sustainable development, contact Mick Cope at firstname.lastname@example.org.