It happens so often in organisations – someone you know isn’t performing as well as expected. Someone else is about to be promoted and seems excited yet overwhelmed. Someone else really struggles with communication and team management. The examples are endless, but there’s often just one answer from management: let’s book some training!
Employees are human beings
And human beings are fascinating, yet very complex creatures.
They believe certain things about themselves, their colleagues, where they work and the world in general. The tricky part is, they often don’t realise what’s holding them back and standing in the way of whatever they would like to be or do.
Let’s talk about Theo
Theo is reliable, hardworking but ‘a little shy’. Theo’s manager believes he deserves more and is ready to step up – and gives Theo the chance to manage his own team. Theo’s excited, a little scared, and gets enrolled on the ‘How to be a manager’ training taking place next week.
A few months go by and people start to notice how anxious Theo is. His team feel that Theo is distant and unapproachable. Theo’s manager books him on the ‘How to be assertive and manage difficult conversations’ course. Theo does what he’s told, learns some interesting facts…but his anxiety doesn’t go away. His team feel nothing has changed.
Training in organisations is much the same. On paper, it’s packed with value. In reality, it rarely helps the trainee create lasting results.
The truth about training
Yes training can be informative and a nice break from ‘work’. Yes it gives us a lot of facts, strategies, and tools – BUT it doesn’t go deep enough to shift what needs to be shifted for an individual to truly change and improve.
‘One size fits all’ training is like a group exercise class at the gym vs working out with a personal trainer. Yes it’s cheaper, and you get a buzz working out with others. But is anything tailored to you specifically? Did the trainer listen to what you’re doing outside of the class? Did you feel too scared to mention you have a dodgy ankle/knee/shoulder and just felt you needed to ‘smash it’?
Training in organisations is much the same. On paper, it’s packed with value. In reality, it rarely helps the trainee create lasting results. What is needed for that is a change in their internal thought processes and this is where coaching comes in.
What if Theo had worked with a coach?
With the right coach Theo could have been open about what was going on for him. He would have had a chance to find out where his anxiety was coming from and how to overcome it. He would have been given the space to find his own way to improve the situation he was in. Feeling aware and empowered, he would be able to relate to his team better and learn how to get the best from them.
Going beyond the ‘work self’
You might hear it’s best to leave your personal life at home before you clock in each morning, but it’s easier said than done. What happens outside of work, impacts what we do at work.
If we’re ignored at home, then it will be really hard for us to lead and manage a team – because deep down we may have an underlying belief that we’re not important.
The majority of these ‘limiting beliefs’ are formed by the time we blow out the candles at our 7th birthday. This is when we decide, for example, that we’re not good or important enough. We then stumble through life finding pieces of evidence that support these beliefs. When we reach the world of work, the pattern continues, continually affecting how we feel and what we do.
How do companies benefit from coaching?
Coaching in organisations works in a triangle – there is the sponsor from the organisation (a manager or HR person), the employee and the coach. All three meet together at the start to agree goals and how the employee will track their progress with the sponsor. From then on, sessions are between the coach and employee only and strictly confidential. The initial meeting is an opportunity for the coach to clarify to the other parties what coaching is and what it isn’t.
By providing their employees with coaching, the company can show it’s investing in its people. But there is so much more to it than that. Happier employees are better employees. They start believing they can do things they couldn’t before and they feel supported by the company. As a result, they don’t want to leave, which lowers staff turnover and recruitment costs.
What’s powerful is the combination of both. Training gives your employees a toolkit. Coaching gives them the belief to make use of the tools.
Should we just replace training with coaching?
Absolutely not. What’s powerful is the combination of both. Training gives your employees a toolkit. Coaching gives them the belief to make use of the tools.
If you are investing in your employees don’t stop at training courses. Do it right and combine it with coaching. Your people will thank you for it.