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Coaching As Part Of The Training Process

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Coaching As Part Of The Training Process

We all know that training is an integral part of our personal and professional development. But what about coaching? Coaching has been perceived as a lot of things, but up to recently, has rarely been synonymous with Training, especially technical-style training.

Some interesting facts have come from research over the years about the ROI (Return On Investment) of training:

  • Organisations seek immediate feedback from staff attending training, which is generally positive. They believe that the long-term effects are also positive and improve on performance
  • An increase in skills and knowledge is evident from the result of appropriate training
  • Other in-tangible benefits are also realised, such as improved morale, self-esteem, confidence and increased loyalty, commitment and performance

However, many organisations find that the training had little impact on the trainees, and their performance. This could be down to many factors including:

  • Lack of TNA (training needs analysis)
  • Politics within HR or amongst leaders
  • Skills or knowledge are not lacking but there is a breakdown in attitude
  • Lack of communication between decision makers and Managers/Supervisors
  • Incorrect understanding of skills required for specific tasks
  • Training not implemented correctly
  • Training too generic – not specific enough
  • Lack of support at organisational level

Ironically, the support a trainee receives will impact on success greater than the training itself. Consider the old saying “You can lead a horse to water… but you cannot make it drink” How can you coax a horse to drink? If it is thirsty, little coaxing is required, however if you know the horse needs to drink but he doesn’t feel like it, certain encouragement is required.

Like the horse, learners can choose to be disinterested, or not see the benefits, or simply believe they do no have the time to take a day out for training.

The Conscious-Competence Model is a great model to use to distinguish the stage of competency of a skill for an employee, and can be used to determine exactly what level of training is required.

It is the 3rd stage, Conscious Competence that the learning will stick the best, when the learner knows they have learned a new skill. This is the critical stage of support and encouragement, and this is the stage where coaching is imperative.

Coaching will ensure the learner understands why they need to learn, and empower them to take their learning to the next level. But most of all, the learner makes the conscious decision to retain the information.

The most important questions to ask a learner are  “Did you find the training helpful?” and “How/where will you implement this learning?”. The next step is to ask them if they need further support or guidance as they increase their self-confidence in completing necessary tasks.

Now, the learner is self-empowered to take responsibility for their learning, know consciously where to apply it and be confident that they can seek further support.

The coach’s work is almost complete.

Too often, organisations provide a “lip-service” feedback system some months after training is completed. This serves to comply with the requirements of the PDP (Personal Development Plan) of the learner.

It is important that the support structure put in place during the learning process is extended, and a proper evaluation is completed on a continuous basis for the benefit of the learner and the organisation. This will help expel the “fear of failure” an employee may have about their newly acquired skills, and the lure to revert back to old habits.

The coach needs to be present here, and encourage the learner to continue the implementation of the new skills. This is done successfully using active listening and providing feedback in a supportive and encouraging way.

So who is your coach when you are in a learning environment? Is it your Manager, your Supervisor, your peers, or do you use an external coach to aid your learning process? Share with us below!

Elaine Rogers is a Business Trainer, Coach and Writer. She takes pain away. She helps soothe the rough and tumble of running a business through education, information and coaching. And a bit of entertainment. Elaine hangs out at The Smart Train She provides online training and coaching solutions in the areas of MS Office Skills, Business Skills, and Soft Skills. She also provides exclusive content for her ever growing email list.

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  • A great post Connor, indeed it is important to think outside the box when using Social Media and Social Networking. You have provided some great titbits there.nSocial Networking is here to stay I believe, and like ATM cards, everyone will be using it in some form or other pretty soon, with out the fear of God himself.nI just posted a status on twitter this morning wondering if we will all have QR codes as our avatars within 6 months, what do you think? Will we become little black & white squares instead of funky profile pictures?

  • Who knows Elaine. It’s mad to think that QR codes have been around since the mid-nineties! They have really taken off though! Have you tried getting your own QR Tee-shirt? 🙂 I would consider it for the intrigue as many people may not know what it’s about!nnThe examples are very small really but it’s getting into the frame of mind and more importantly getting others on board into the frame of mind that you can use social media in any department to create innovation. Spread the word from department to department and get people on board 🙂

  • Hi Niall,nnI originally went to school beside that garage would you believe in Tullow 🙂 That’s a fantastic idea. Again simple in a sense but so clever. If you have to start looking to make up things to justify social media you’re in trouble – that’s a great way to target a market that exists through Facebook and take the fear out of picking up the phone if they want. Kudos! nnMy examples are really very small – but they’re about getting into a frame of mind. When people think of innovation they very often think of science and technology and futuristic developments. Innovation to me is an everyday approach and state of mind that we take when approaching our daily work 🙂

  • lol, small country! n

  • Bernard Kennedy

    Organic Media are providing an entry level product to create a Social Media presence for Irish businesses, give them a call on 415 1206nnBernard Kennedy

  • Hi Elaine, I think that coaching should always be a huge part of any training programme. Great coaching for me is about asking the coachee the right questions.

  • Facundo

    Interesting post Elaine. I wonder if you think the encouragement (making the horse drink) would be more effective coming form verticals/ pairs as opposed to the trainer.

  • Hi Niall, thanks for the comment.nQuestions are the answer as Zig Ziglar so aptly points out. he is referring the the sales process but it is the core of a coaches set of tools – the ability to listen at an empathetic level, and as you say, ask the right questions 🙂

  • Hi Facundo – do you refer to peer style learning? Indeed, it is always beneficial to team up learners as they really can and do help each other out. And brainstorming an idea can be as educating as (and mostly more stimulating than) reading about a solution in a manual. nnTraining is about facilitation, even in technical training, so yes you make a very valid point – thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Great post Elaine. My observation has been that training in isolation is not enough some kind of followup is required to bring people forward to ensure that they implement what is learned. nnMy experience however is that development is very much left in the hands of the individual. Yes we all must take responsibility, however it is vital that people are given the opportunity to be shown the right direction by people who know what it takes. Unfortunately from a time and cost perspective this often isn’t seen as a priority.

  • Facundo

    I actually was thinking about an even more common situation: The trainer delivers the programme and maybe some kind of follow up as Frank mentions below; after that, my question is if the motivation works better if it is encouraged by a vertical (the boss who insists on getting things done), a pair (an enthusiastic colleague who is told by the trainer to play this role with colleagues) or maybe the trainer coming back in some shape or form? It may be a combination of everything but was wondering if you had a preference considering how difficult it is to “make the horse drink” 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for telling the benefits about it. ntraining programs

  • Anonymous

     Really great post, Thank you for sharing This knowledge.

  • Parag

    Many companies have business or executive coaching programs. However they go about it in a muddled way and ignore the obvious idioms of sports and academics to inform their thought and action on coaching.
    If you wish, you could read my post, ‘the liberty and fraternity of coaching’, at

  • Hi Neil, Great post and explanation of what crowd-funding is all about. I love the the concept of crowd funding but wonder if it lends itself more to certain types of businesses/ideas. But as I think about it again, this may be down to the fact that it hasn’t really reached more main stream businesses just yet. 

  • Hey Niall, adoption seems to have been primarily in the creative space to date, however there is some huge money changing hands in some market niches. I’m involved with a mobile application development funding crowdfunder called and they are funding the development of paid and fremium mobile apps.

    Here in Ireland there’s a company called that seem to be funding everything and anything. There are also a number of debt/equity funding platforms out there which are more traditional in approach, where each member of your funding crowd actually own a piece of your company. Not sure I like that model as much.

  • Thanks Anton – yeah I agree completely and that’s backed up by feedback from a number of VC funds and angel investors that I’ve spoken to. Getting funded definitely skews the risk calculation in favour of the entrepreneur and while it in itself isn’t the holy grail, its a massive achievement and step in the right direction.

  • Brilliant post Neil, you explain it so well.  It is a lot like the likes of the charity funding for small businesses in third world countries for example

    One question; does that funding ever have to be repayed or is it basically an advance payment on a product/service that is being developed?

  • That’s great to hear. I love the concept all round and it’s so encouraging to see it flourishing – especially in the current economy – as so many people have great ideas but just don’t have the funds to see if they are winning ones. Have been checking out AppsFunder too after your last post – one to watch.

  • Thanks Helen.

  • Hi Mairéad, thanks for your comments. To answer your question, there has been an explosion of crowd funding platforms in the last couple of years. There are a lot of them out there now and there are a number of different business models they operate under.

    I’ve seen platforms that require you give your Funders a chunk of the equity of your business. Others just work on an almost voluntary donation system where the Funders don’t receive reciprocal value for their investment (some of the arty ones work like that). 

    The best ones in my view are the type that operate on the model I outlined in my example – i.e. the business owner retains 100% equity but gives his/her Funders a Return on their Investment. It doesn’t have to always be cash either, it could be cool stuff or kudos or membership to an exclusive “club” of supporters.

  • Excellent post and description of what crowd-funding is all about. I really like the the idea of crowd funding but wonder if it gives itself more to certain kinds of businesses/ideas. But as I think about it again, this may be down to the truth that it hasn’t really achieved more major river companies just yet. 

  •  The concept is good but i doubt its success. How many are ready to put their money into others business and that too without any major profit for them. But the idea of doing this kind of funding is interesting.

  • Sandra Crowe

    I got to say these are great tips indeed but if I may add in number 1 you must be also in the right place to make that start up like for example you would build an arcade you have the right time the right product / services but you are in the middle of nowhere so besides from the right time right product you must also be in the right place.

  • Hi Sian,
    Thanks, and yes, alternative lending is like a mine field, but there are many “safe zones” along the way. There are some great lenders out there that have really helped a lot of businesses with financing. Business owners just need to be clear about what they need and *should* be looking for, not just jump at the first open door.

  • intouchcrm

    Very interesting post Joshua. Working closely with many SME’s I know for sure that this article would be well appreciated! Keep up the good work!

  • Starting-up a business is really tough and stressful. It requires a lot of strategic plans, ideas and money involvement is always present. This money-saving tip is a good way to have in your small business. Knowing where will you spend your money and asking if it’s worthy to be spend is really important. It’s really great to share these tips because the survival of your business really depends on how you handle your cash.

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