Reader reviews

This month’s reader reviews

Top coaching tips for pragmatists

Training manager of Claire’s Accessories Gillian Ince reviews: Go Mad About
Coaching by Andy Gilbert and Ian Chakravorty
Format: Book with free CD Price: £19.99 ( Plus £3 p& p)
From: Go Mad Research & Consulting Group
Contact: 01509 891313

One of many publications from the Go MAD series (MAD standing for make a
difference, by the way), this book is a must for all you pragmatists out there.
You know who you are; not interested in theory, just wanting to learn the model
and put it into practise as soon as possible. Take it from one pragmatist to
another; you certainly can with this publication.

You are instantly introduced to the Go MAD framework. This is followed by
useful tips, tools, techniques and templates on how to structure a coaching
session, as well as more than 200 extremely powerful coaching questions – all
of which can be easily understood and used immediately.

It is accompanied by a free 60-minute audio CD, which allows you to hear how
a real-life coaching session is carried out, and gives examples and exercises
to use immediately.

Overall, a very interactive learning resource for the novice coach or the
more experienced individual looking for practical, realistic ways to develop
their own ability or teach others.

Blended customer service training

Lucille Breen, director of human
resources at Genesys Software Systems reviews: Outstanding
Customer Services Skills
Format: e-learning courses plus a two-day workshop from blended learning
company Balance Learning
Designed and delivered by: Balance Learning
Contact 01453 769 601

As a provider of HR and learning-related software and outsourcing services,
our expectations of internal training are very high. We were interested in
testing Balance Learning’s Outstanding Customer Service Skills programme
because our own experience of working with customer learning programmes has
demonstrated the value of blended learning. 
The programme’s focus on customer service also matched one of our top
corporate values.  

Outstanding Customer Service Skills combines three dimensions:
separate e-learning courses, a classroom workshop session, and post-event
activities. We piloted it with 13 people, including our entire customer service

We gave the participants seven to 10 days to undertake the
e-learning element at their own pace (either at work or at home) and then
provided the hands-on training two days later. 
We wanted things to come together quickly to keep up the momentum.

The e-learning courses were very focused, entertaining and
enjoyable. They provide the necessary knowledge and illustrate the link between
outstanding service and long-term sales. We all rated them very highly, with
not one negative comment.  The
e-learning ensures that everyone has reached the same level before the hands-on

Balance Learning provides everything you need to run a classroom
session, including PowerPoint slides and even a trainer’s script. These can be
tailored to reflect feedback from the e-learning evaluations. Even non-trainers
could deliver an effective workshop from these ready-made materials.

However, we opted for two of Balance Learning’s three-hour
workshops. These taught six to seven people in each group, and were run by
Balance Learning consultants at our head office training facility.

Although a good trainer will always be able to run a good
workshop, we found the e-learning element really complemented the hands-on
session, which made for very effective learning.

For the last part of the programme, Balance Learning provides
customisable activities which can be e-mailed to participants after the event,
to reinforce the learning in practice. This provides a truly unique follow-up
approach which is guided and structured.

With the time pressures facing people at work today, it is not
always possible to take staff away from the workplace for long periods of

This programme offers a great way to condense training time,
and provides a very thorough and satisfying learning experience for all levels
– from junior members to the vice president. It proved so successful, that our
company is now going to run the training course for our entire sales team.

Comments are closed.