Coaching is fast becoming one of the most effective ways of ensuring that
new skills learned on training courses are used back in the workplace. A number
of companies are now using targeted post-course coaching sessions to ensure
that learners really apply the skills they learn in the classroom.
We all know the story. We attend a training course, come back really excited
and ready to change, and only a month after the event we find ourselves back
where we were before.
We are all full of good intentions when ideas are new and fresh. But what
happens later when they are not so fresh, when you have questions or when you
come up against resistance? Coaching can be used to tackle these problems.
Cement learning after training
Research conducted by the International Personnel Management Association
revealed that after training, productivity increased by 22 per cent. However,
when training was combined with coaching the productivity increase was a
staggering 88 per cent.
Impressive figures, but productivity is not the only benefit to come out of
post-course coaching. Research has found that when learners receive coaching
sessions they have:
– used the knowledge delivered in the course and are continuing to use the
– created habits to incorporate the new learning
– involved their managers with the changes they have made and had their
performance assessed against them
– a greater sense of pride and achievement.
Learners also stated that they felt more valued as a result of the focused
individual attention that coaching gave them.
How is it done?
It is important that the learner, with their manager, establishes key goals
before the course is attended. By doing this, the learner starts to follow the
coaching process by setting the targets themselves. This creates a huge amount
of buy-in and sets the learner off to a focused and motivated start.
During training, the learner will devise an action plan to show how they can
use what they have learned back in the workplace. This ideally would be a
project or task that uses all or some of the new skills. It also means that
results are easy to see and measure.
Post-course coaching sessions are set at two weeks, six weeks and three
months after the training event. During these sessions, the coach will
encourage the learner to lead the conversation and discuss their work on the
action plan. Any questions or issues the learner has can be ironed out and a
revised or new action plan is written.
The final word
So, when effective training is coupled with formal coaching, the benefits
are truly maximised. Not only this, but if a manager continues to use a
coaching style as part of their performance management process, the benefits
attained from post-training coaching can be transferred to every aspect of that
learner’s development. This not only saves time and energy, but allows the
learner to really become focused and passionate about their own performance.
Effective Coaching by Myles Downey. Published by Texere (ISBN 1-58799-120-9)
By Diane Seaborne, director at training and coaching specialists
Transphorm Ltd, www.transphorm.co.uk