Kata Frequently Asked Questions - Lean Competency System

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Frequently Asked Questions


What is the underpinning philosophy of the KCS framework?

Developing a different mindset and new behaviours are core to the development of Scientific Thinking and the use of Toyota Kata. These are based on developing new neural pathways, which requires deliberate and repeated practice and is unlikely to be achieved by an instructional classroom approach alone.

Consequently the KCS framework and levels are aimed at emphasising practice and require proof of application. Instructional training should be engrained as necessary to create awareness and transfer knowledge about concepts and better ways of practising.

What type of organisations can become accredited?

Any organisation that has its own Toyota Kata training system can be accredited – whether the training is in-house for employees or delivered by a consultancy for client employees or the public.

A Toyota Kata training and coaching system can be at any scale, from a small team delivering frequent coaching to a small group to a large organisation developing many staff member in using and coaching using the Kata approach.

How many types of accreditation are there?

There is one type of accreditation, although organisations can choose to apply for for any number of levels, from one to all seven.

How long does an application for accreditation usually take to process?

Between 1 and 3 months, though it is largely dependent on the resources committed to the process by the applicant, and whether the use and coaching of Toyota Kata is already well established.

Who can use kata?

Anyone looking to develop the habit of continuously improving daily processes and activities can use kata. It’s used in manufacturing and services like healthcare, Agile software development and for start-ups. It can be adapted to any organisational setting.


Is there a direct route to personal KCS certification?

Yes – experienced practitioners can become KCS qualified at Level 2 through the Approved Prior Learning and Experience (APLE) route to certification.

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Do I need to progress through each KCS level as I build my capability?

Yes. As this framework is built around deliberate practice of the Improvement and Coaching Kata, it should be possible for you to demonstrate you have had the relevant experience as Improver or Coach at a lower level of the framework before you embark on a more advanced level.

Who issues personal KCS certificates?

The accredited organisation issues certificates to individuals (not the central KCS organisation). A standard certificate template is provided to accredited organisations for this purpose.

For how long are personal KCS certificates valid?

KCS personal qualification certificates do not have an expiry date and are therefore valid indefinitely.


What the benefits for organisations in becoming KCS accredited?

Accreditation provides independent endorsement that your Toyota Kata training system is robust, technically sound, consistent with the philosophy of Scientific Thinking, effectively resourced, practically focussed and professionally managed. It demonstrates to staff or clients staff, that the training and coaching you provide strives to meet the highest standard.

What are the benefits for a practitioner of being KCS certified?

Certification provides recognition of an individual’s development as a Toyota Kata Improver, Coach or Second Coach. It is a recognised qualification, supported and validated by the Cardiff University licenced LCS.

Certification acknowledges that an individual has learned and applied kata and a scientific methodology in practical and real-life situations.


What does accreditation allow an organisation to do?

Issue KCS certificates to individuals who successfully complete one of its training programmes.

Are individuals who deliver training and coaching for an organisation automatically accredited or certified?

No, the overall organisation is accredited, not individuals. An organisations accreditation relies on them demonstrating regularly that it has suitably qualified and experience people delivering training and coaching.

For how long does a KCS accredited organisation licence last?

A licence is granted for two years and can be renewed thereafter.


How is the KCS linked to the LCS?

The KCS is a separate framework and sub-brand of the LCS, but operates independently. The two frameworks can be applied simultaneously or as stand-alone in any organisation.

Lean Competency Services Ltd is the legal entity with which KCS accredited organisations contract.


Is there a membership programme for the KCS community?

Practitioners with Certificates of Kata Competency are eligible to become Practitioner Members of the LCS community.

Other Services

What other services does the KCS organisation currently provide?

A range of advisory services centred on the development of Toyota Kata and Scientific Thinking training programmes, plus research into the successful application of those concepts.


What is the difference between ‘accreditation’ and ‘certification’?

In KCS (and LCS) language, organisations become accredited, while individuals become certified – that is, they receive a personal certificate. So, an accredited organisation certifies the people it trains, having applied to show that their approach meets the KCS standard.