Pass it On: Coaching skills for managers

Format: 2 DVDs, course leader’s guide, group training workbook, self-study workbook, and PowerPoint presentation slides
Price: £1,299 DVD rental £299; preview £40
Video Arts

This year’s survey on learning and development from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development showed that 63% of organisations are involved in coaching activity, with organisations looking to create in-house coaching capability rather than recruit external coaches on an ad-hoc basis. Yet only 2% of respondents trained their line managers to do so.

This new humorous film from Video Arts aims to educate those managers languishing with the lazy 61%, and is said to demonstrate the way in which effective coaching can facilitate development through any organisation and create a personally rewarding experience for the coach.

The cast includes comedian Rob Brydon as Bill, a senior manager who has learned the error of his ways and now extols the value of coaching, and Will Smith (you’ll know the face, if not the name) as Ted, his junior.

We watch Bill coaching Ted in how to coach the keen, but unfocused, Angie. Along the way, many chirpy coaching messages pop up on our screens and on Ted’s PC – for Ted and the audience to take note and learn on how best to coach others. These messages include: “Promote discovery Provide a map and Let them explore”.

All these points are reinforced with support clips on a separate 11-minute DVD. I found these “extras”, as Video Arts calls them, to be lucid and most useful. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the extras are actually essential in helping an audience get best value from the main programme.

The impact of this programme is limited by the script. It was penned by comic writer and satirist Armando Iannucci, best known as a writer and producer of BBC comedy series I’m Alan Partridge. Consequently, the resulting interaction between the characters is humorous, but self-consciously so.

Some of the in-jokes between the colleagues grated on me, and quirky details such as Rob Brydon’s character, Bill, speaking via the PC when he is out of the office, seem too clever by half. But this is a well-intentioned film packed with solid, sensible advice. It is designed for use in short learning modules and can be built into a 90-minute, half-day or full-day course, and with the right amount of guidance from an learning and development specialist, it could prove to be a useful tool to kick-starting a coaching initiative.

Relevance? *****
Interactivity? ***
Value for money? ****

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