30 Aug

The difference between training and coaching

The other day a friend mentioned that his business had brought in a training company to conduct some personal development programs with their staff. He commented that he was a little bit disappointed due to the fact that the trainer didn’t conduct any follow up after the training was completed.

Firstly let me say that I love hearing that businesses are investing in their teams, especially on personal development and soft skills training. I wish more businesses would do this.

Secondly, my response to him was as follows: That’s the difference between training and coaching. Quite simple.

So many businesses will do one or the other, but very seldom both. To get maximum return on your training investment, both disciplines, training and coaching need to be taking place within your business.

Training is all about teaching or introducing new concepts or skills. It doesn’t or very seldom alters the training delegate’s behaviour. They learn something new which can tweak their curiosity, but then the training ends and they go home. Perhaps there may be some altered behaviour change for a week or so after the training has taken place, but on the whole, most people will go back to their old habits.

To counteract this and to really get bang for buck I would highly recommend that coaching is introduced straight after every training initiative. Coaching is the safety net or the catalyst for change. The new skills are taught in training and the coaching is there to help reinforce these new skills after the training has taken place.

Naturally human beings find it very difficult to change a habit or implement a newly learnt skill straight away. It is even harder when that change is completed in isolation or not supported. We need help to stay on track and keep focused. This is the role of the coach.

A coach is there to help you define your habit change and then to support you through the change process.

To really set your team up for success, by all means give them the opportunity to attend training sessions, but then make coaching available to them afterwards.

Let them reinforce their newly learnt skills over time so they can then add the right value back into your business.

16 Aug

Coaching is not a swear word!

“I would like you to coach some of my team members, but I don’t want anyone to know”.  Wow, was my first reaction when I heard this from a manager last week. Besides my initial  surprise this request also made me feel sad.

I liken this kind of request to Richie McCaw doing an under the table deal with his head coach for coaching received or Usain Bolt carrying out undercover sprint coaching in the dead of night, so no one would know. Should I add a dark cloak, dark glasses and large brimmed hats to my business attire?

What is wrong with openly acknowledging the fact that you or your team members need help to improve?

I look at many of my clients and I see bright, intelligent and driven human beings who  want more out of their lives, jobs or businesses. They are prepared to look at their challenges and creatively think of ways to overcome the hurdles in their lives. It takes a special kind of person to do this inner reflection and coaching should therefore be celebrated, not hidden away as if it were a dirty secret.

Unfortunately this attitude is entrenched into the culture of many  businesses. There is an underlying expectation that every employee needs to be a specialist in all disciplines and heaven help you if you ask for help.

I am sure there are many reasons for this mindset, but I can honestly say it’s not helping anyone. By ignoring the need for coaching it causes frustration for both the team member and the business. Instead of employees growing within a business through coaching and training, they get frustrated and leave.

Think about your own team or colleagues. What would coaching do for them or what could it do for you? If coaching was part of your company culture, how would your business benefit?