Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Coaching’

If you do one or two role plays in a class, is that enough practice to master a skill?  Probably not.  That’s often why students do well in the classroom but can’t transfer the same level of performance to the job.  But I haven’t seen any companies that try to quantify the amount of practice.  They might set aside a certain amount of time, but not the number of repetitions.

I recently read Vince Flynn’s new book the American Assassin where the main character becomes highly proficient with a pistol after 20,000 rounds.  That’s a very specific amount of practice and might be a good guideline for other that follow.  I know that if you’d like to break 70 on a golf course hitting 25,000 golf balls is about right.

By the way, here’s what it means to hit 25,000 golf balls.  The average bucket has 85 balls.  So it’s around 300 buckets which is roughly 300 hours.  But not over your lifetime but in a relatively short period of time like a single summer.

I’ve heard to master a presentation that professional speakers charge money for, takes about 200 times to work out all the bugs and get the timing right.

So how many cold calls does it take to learn how to cold call?  How many customer complaints does it take to master customer service?  How many orders do you need to enter to reach a high speed without error?

Once you know this number, you can then build it into your training and coaching plan.  You can always shorten the number of repetition with good instruction, coaching and feedback.

Read Full Post »

Undercover Boss is a show about CEOs that go undercover to learn about their organizations. Here’s a link to see episodes . On every episode I’ve seen, new employees are turned over to an experienced worker to learn the ropes. This is true for factory workers, call center agents, salespeople and customer service to name a few.

This approach has some giant flaws that lead to many of the problems these companies have. Here are just some of the flaws:

1. High Variability

The training is different depending on who the new employee is paired with.  These companies have multiple locations so it’s different everywhere.  These experienced workers have also developed their own way of doing things to overcome problems or things they haven’t learned to do right.  They are passing along the good with the bad.

2. Too Much Sink or Swim

These new employees are often thrown into the job often interacting with customers on the first day.  When they make mistakes, which all new employees do, they are in front of customers.  Those who don’t pick up things quickly are turned over quickly.  It would be much faster if new employees were trained to do the tasks from simple to hard, easy to complex to build on success.  The overall problem with sink or swim is that too many people sink, an that’s expensive.

3. Lack of Training Skills

The people doing the training are doing a lot of telling and a little showing which is what most people do when they haven’t been trained in how to do on the job training.  They often do things they way they were taught which can often be the slowest and least effective way.  They also don’t have the tools and structure to do this training right because the company doesn’t have any.

What you see is that the bigger these companies get, the more the problem gets magnified.  They edit it to show the best of the best so most likely across the board it’s worse then you see.  The boss often puts these people on a council or work team to share their ideas.  It’s like a revelation that this might be a good idea.  It something that should have been built into their company decades ago.

Anyway, have some fun watching these shows.  Try not to cringe so much when you see how training is done.

Read Full Post »

Classroom training is still the predominant method for formal corporate training. Seminars and workshops are still very popular especially for smaller companies that aren’t ready or able to do a lot of elearning or web collaboration. I’d say that classroom training definitely has it’s strengths and limitations. To be an effective learning leader, I always recommend clearly articulating when and how to use classroom training. I’m going to start out with a few ideas or principles and maybe others will fill in the rest.

1. Interaction with Peers
I’ve seen literally thousands of comments written about workshops and seminars. The number one things that participants say they value is the interaction and networking with peers. Almost no one lists this as a primary objective but maybe it should be number 1.
2. Content Delivery
Retention levels are so low with lectures and expert delivery of information that it’s almost not work doing. I would guess that if you took an SAT today you wouldn’t remember most of it.

3. Feedback
Many things require that you get direct feedback from an expert in order to learn how to do something. Starting this feedback in the classroom is effective if it carries to the job.
4. Demonstrations
Some things you just have to see up close in order to really appreciate all the complexities. This is especially true if learning requires more than sight and sound.

Okay, that’s four…it’s your turn.

Read Full Post »

coach.jpgUploaded by mdt1960

In business you here terms like coaching, mentoring or even a buddy program tossed around and used interchangeably.  I like to look at these as three separate things that have a unique role and value.  Here’s how I define them.  A coach is someone who works with you to improve your performance.  This is what the coach is paid for.  This is often but not always the individuals direct supervisor or boss.

A mentor is someone who guides you through different situations sharing insights.  A mentor wants you to do well but isn’t paid to help you.  What and how a mentor works with you is negotiated and not mandated.  With this definition, it’s easy to see how you could benefit from both a coach and a mentor.  A professional golfer will have a coach who is paid to work with the individual someone like a Butch Harmon.  They have specific expertise and a well defined role to play.  On the other hand they might have a mentor who has been on the tour a while and can help them with things like how to manage all the different facets of tour life. 

A buddy on the other hand is a peer who usually is going through want you’re going through.  They have a different perspective than a coach or mentor.  This is a person with whom you can share and discuss experiences. 

So instead of decided which one is best, I find it works best to find a way to have all three.  If you’re building an onboarding process, this is an important part.

Read Full Post »

.Gene Simmons Interview 

Gene Simmons Interview,
originally uploaded by BAMCAT.

Maybe I need to stop watching celebrity apprentice but it brought to mind an age old agrument about the value of talent versus the value of team. (While there is no “I” in team, there is “Me” and “Meat.”

Okay, so here’s the point. In the last episode, the two teams had to make a commercial. One team did the typical team brainstorming and trying to work as a team. The other team was taken over by Gene Simmons and Steven Baldwin who convinced the others that they had 20 years experience in the field and that the others should go back to the room and relax. Guess what? Talent won over team.

Companies often use golf and a scamble format to show how four people working together can accomplish great things. But how would any scamble team ever put together do against Tiger Woods if you let him have the same number of tries? (Your team of 4 versus Tiger with 4 balls.)

In basketball where they try to match up talent in various positions, how would a typical team do against 5 Michael Jordans in his prime?

While there is synergy in teamwork, I think we sometimes miss the boat when we don’t see the power in the individual.

Read Full Post »

I’ve seen both these terms used interchangably and with completely different meanings.  I think it’s important to have a distinction no matter what you call them.

 To me a coach is someone who has direct responsibility for training and developing someone else, usually a subordinate.  It’s part of their job description and compensation.  “I do well, if you do well.”  “I want you to win and if you win I win.”

A mentor is someone who doesn’t have the resonsibility but wants you to do well.  They want you to win, but they may not win if you win.  This is a person you can go to for advice or ask questions.  A mentor is willing to help but doesn’t have to.

Which is best?  In the ideal situation, you should have both.  They offer something different and both can really help. 

I’d also add in a third player, a “buddy.”  This is someone who is going through exactly what you’re going through and provides support and resources as you learn.  In the Gallop survey about what employee’s value, having a buddy is top of the list.

Read Full Post »

tysonthumb.jpg 

So what’s a picture of Mike Tyson have to do with education anyway?

 Mike Tyson is a great philosopher.  He said, “Everyone’s got a plan…until they get hit!”

All the practice and role plays in a classroom setting try to prepare you for real life but it’s simply not the same.  The first time you try out your new customer service skills on an angry customer is just like being hit for the first time.  That’s when the real learning starts or people say, “that classroom stuff just doesn’t work, I’m going to try something else.”

Even as simulations get better, you don’t have the same level of pressure that comes with first hand experience.  What I recommend is that whatever you do in the classroom needs to extend to live practice.  This live practice also needs good coaching to help push through the potential loss of confidence with the first problem or crisis.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »