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The Role of an Innovation Coach

An innovation coach is essential because of two main reasons. 

First, they must ensure they create a cross-functional, high-performance team. They can accomplish this by leveraging a skilled collection of individuals with various departmental backgrounds. But these departments need to embrace and assimilate the three pillars of lean innovation. The pillars include: 

  • Focusing on the client
  • Eliminate any waste 
  • And ensure they create flexible organizational processes. 

The second function is to establish and keep open lines of communication with the business’s team partners. 

Innovation coaching is crucial as it helps these teams and sponsors find external communication channels. This is because many organizations develop new ideas but get stuck in the implementation stage. And this is usually because they need to be presented to the right people in the right way. 

The second is to establish and keep open lines of communication with the organization’s team sponsors.

An innovation coach must help these teams and sponsors find those external communication channels since, in many organizations, new ideas aren’t consistently implemented because they aren’t presented to the right people correctly.

Therefore, the coach should always be two steps ahead for the teams and partners to remain in sync. It’s the coach’s responsibility to ensure everyone is on the same page. 

At all times, the coach should serve as a mediator between the sponsor and the team. Besides, a coach should coordinate these interactions, including those with important stakeholders. 

So how does an organization achieve innovation coaching? Let’s explore!

1. Start by Identifying the Right People

A strong innovation coaching system is highly dependent on its people. So ensure you identify the right people who could make excellent innovation champions. 

The fact is everyone can innovate, but only a few do. You may notice employees who are already functioning in an overly entrepreneurial manner. But this may not always be the case since others may have an entrepreneurial mindset but haven’t had the chance to demonstrate it. 

Identify employees willing to ask the correct questions as they may understand that customers are the organization’s backbone. These are the best people to offer them innovation training opportunities. 

You can also leverage open-call bootcamps to identify potential innovation champions. People who are confident and enthusiastic about their abilities can participate in these bootcamps. 

This is an effective way to notice people willing to rise to the challenge and adopt a lean coaching mentality. This is because they know the process, and it’s easy to observe how these actions occur. 

2. Implement Initial Training 

Ensure after you find the right individuals, they undergo initial innovation training. The initial course will help them to understand the basics of lean innovation, thus making it easy for them to justify the importance of innovation coaching. 

Therefore, it’s easier for them to participate in the actual sprint after the initial training. This experience is invaluable as they can implement what they learned throughout their initial training. Besides, the sprint is vital as they will get immediate feedback and, as a result, speed up their learning. 

This swift transition from learning to teaching is practical and effective. This is because it enables strengthening the roots of innovation coaching. 

3. Asses Innovation Coaches

To effectively evaluate an innovation coach’s performance, ensure you have a precise set of criteria. The assessment has a continuous loop of steps. Although they’re in order, each coach has room for growth. 

The first step: Ensure you identify and evaluate the coach’s areas of strength, improvement, experience, and skill sets. You may leverage self-evaluation and viewpoint to understand a coach comprehensively. 

The second step is development planning. To be on the safe side, ensure you develop plans together, including growth missions. The strategy will keep repeating every time there is a new opportunity due to evaluations, retrospectives, structured observations, and missions. 

The third step is to ensure you have time for structure observation. Be keen on your team’s development on the pitch, and observe how the coaches behave. 

The fourth step is analyzing the findings. The findings can help you to reassess the initial outcomes. You can then reflect on the best ways to ensure the coach is more effective going forward. 

4. Establish a Continuous Training for Coaches

It is easier for coaches to advance and perfect both their EQ and IQ skills. This is because they are leveraging a clearly defined structure for ongoing training. 

For this training to be practical, you must arrange them in an outcome-driven, impact-focused, immersive, and measurable way. This makes it easier for startup coaches to learn and foresee what success looks like. Moreover, this can be a continuous process for coaches and the team. 


Remember that your innovation champions are crucial as you take the first step toward transformation. Internal innovation coaching is vital as it helps your organization to grow lean innovation abilities, spark entrepreneurial activity, and create a new attitude that will spread throughout your firm. 

Moreover, with ongoing innovation training, realizing your development vision and profit is easier after you’ve established these mechanisms, and they are starting to take root. Therefore, you can combine coaching with regular work to experience success. 

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