It’s almost the same in InDesign.
When you kern, make sure you highlight both characters that you want to adjust. You can also put the cursor in between them and hold down the option button while clicking the arrow buttons left or right depending on whether you want looser or tighter kerning.
Want some practice? Play KernType!
When you track a area, you need to highlight the whole area you want to track. If you’re tracking a whole paragraph, you can select the whole box. You can use the palette to make the changes or you can (like above) hold the option button while adjusted with the left/right arrows on your keyboard.