Coaching excellence and being the best version of yourself

I was recently listening to a Norman Bodek podcast on the Harada Method and coaching excellence. He spoke of Kyocera and its Chairman Kazou Inamori which I found intriguing and wanted to learn more.

Words like “Trust” and “Respect for People” are often used but rarely practiced, especially in Western Culture. Below is the management philosophy of Kyocera, a company that started with 28 people and no resource:

Management Rationale

To provide opportunities for the material and intellectual growth of all our employees, and through our joint efforts, contribute to the advancement of society and humankind.

Management Based on the Bonds of Human Minds

Kyocera started as a small, suburban factory, with no money, credentials or reputation. We had nothing to rely on but a little technology and 28 trustworthy colleagues.
Nonetheless, the company experienced rapid growth because everyone exerted their maximum efforts and managers devoted their lives to earning the trust of employees. We wanted to be an excellent company where all employees could believe in each other, abandon selfish motives, and be truly proud to work. This desire became the foundation of Kyocera’s management.


Human minds are said to be easily changeable. Yet, there is nothing stronger than the human mind. Kyocera developed into what it is today because it is based on the bonds of human minds.

From Norman, some things we should think about:

How do we create an environment for individuals to be “better and better every day in every way”?  You don’t get this by criticizing people and their work. You get it by creating an environment where it’s OK to fail and an expectation to learn. Are you building people up through praise and encouragement or tearing them down through criticism? Its people, process, and profit…in that order!

To be a great coach we have to create new routines that lead to new and unconscious habits. Think about the way you ask questions. For example, move from “why” questions to “what” questions. Why questions tend to put people on the defensive, what questions get closer to the reasoning and thought the process behind decisions. Remember, as a coach, you are not trying to solve the problem for the person, you are trying to create an environment for people to learn and grow. Try these out:

Old: Why did you do that?

New: What were you hoping for here?

Old: Why did you think that was a good idea?

New: What made you choose this course of action?

Of course, there are good places to ask why questions. Just ask Simon Sinek, and I am a big fan of his.  For organizational and personal development, it is good to start with purpose and mission—why we exist? We also teach 5 whys for problem-solving- but that is to get a root cause versus understanding people’s thought process to help them discover and see paradigms. What routines are you creating and practicing to be a great coach?



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