Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Training, an abdication from coaching?

“… so in conclusion then, I’ll arrange for you to go on a training course in that.”

Possible concluding words at the end of a formal appraisal or even the ever popular “one to ones”, but ask yourself before you utter them: Do they need formal training or should I be giving them more coaching?

Individual coaching by a Supervisor, Team Leader or Manager for someone in their group is time consuming, occasionally difficult, but frequently what is actually required.

Training is excellent at introducing or adding to specific skills or knowledge, but to enhance the use of a skill, embedding it into a skill set or working routine is much harder. This is where coaching takes over. My own rule of thumb is that coaching a person in a stretching area requires 3 or 4 times the number of training interactions. Now I’m not talking about coaching in basics here, but if you have deemed training important to add to one of your Team members’ skills or capabilities, then failing to coach in it adequately just throws money away.

Now don’t be alarmed. It doesn’t mean you have to coach everyone in everything. Discuss and make clear where the coaching should be focused. Discuss it in those “one to ones”. Put a timescale on the coaching period, so that it is clear to both parties when you both think the coaching should be over.

“ I think that I should coach you in this for the next two months. At the end of that period you should be fine”. Reviewing progress as part of the coaching will help confirm or disprove that timeline.

So remember to ask yourself the coaching question before you search for the training courses.