In the past, people served machines. Today, machines free people to do what technology can’t: sell, service, and lead. As we explore this global shift from the industrial to the digital age, we cordially invite your voice in Developing the 21st Century Workforce™.
By Craig PerrinThis is the third in my five-part discussion with Kim Stafford, AchieveGlobal’s Director of International Development, on problems associated with coaching by managers. This week we ask, “Why do managers struggle to coach?”KIM: I think we agree on why managers struggle to coach. Companies hire and promote people for technical skills, not coaching skills. Learning to coach takes time and effort. You’ve mentioned other reasons: Most managers don’t see an immediate payoff in coaching. And some think if they coach too much, they won’t reach their measured goals.
But let me rephrase the question: Do managers even know what makes an effective coach? Do they know the difference, say, between giving feedback and correcting performance? At the core of effective coaching is an understanding of what coaching fundamentally is. For example, many managers think coaching is a big thing that takes a huge chunk of time. That just isn’t so.
The point is, if you have to learn how to read and write, you also have to learn how to coach. As organizations flatten out and become more virtual in nature, people don’t often observe good coaching. So even experienced managers have to learn what, when, and where to coach, along with how to coach.
CRAIG: You’re right. Many managers lack coaching skills. And that fact implies even more of the manager’s time to learn how to coach – on top of learning what their teams learn, observing performance, and actually coaching. You’re talking ideal world, and in the business world there are always other priorities. For coaching to take hold, most organizations need a profound cultural change – from a bottom-line culture, an immediate-results culture, to a coaching culture. And most organizations are either unwilling or unable to make that change.
At the heart of this problem that we describe as “no time to coach employees in what they learn in training” is something else: the training itself. Training is usually a big classroom event. It may be wonderful. People may learn a lot. But we agree that if they get no support after training, no coaching, employees are unlikely to use what they learn in their jobs.
What we need is a form of training that doesn’t rely on consistent coaching by managers, yet still encourages immediate and long-term use of skills. Good coaching is an enormous help, but training that depends heavily on coaching often fails. To meet the need often unmet by coaching, we need continuous learning, not event-based training followed by coaching. Short increments of training over extended time – and not all of it face-to-face - greatly reduces the need for managers to coach.
by Jack McDaniel
It does make sense for people to learn “human skills” by communicating with each other, but not necessarily in a face-to-face classroom environment.
A 2006 IDC report indicated that 70% of learning happens informally, outside a face-to-face classroom environment. This includes looking something up on Google, asking a question over the next cubicle, having water-cooler conversations, and communicating by IM, text messages, and so on.
Of the remaining 30% of learning, ASTD reports that 30% of that (one hour in every three) is involves elearning, often in a collaborative format. Josh Bersin’s data indicates that over 11% of firms already use collaboration through “communities of practice” to encourage employee learning, with interest building in on-demand approaches such as blogs, wikis, and discussion forums.
So yes, we are social beings and will continue to rely on learning from each other; however, there’s a lot more than face-to-face classroom training to meet our needs.
Data indicates that only 11% of people who watch this video think Todd's argument is stronger than mine. Seems to me I'm totally winning this virtual-world debate on the AchieveGlobal Island in Second Life.