Now I can already feel the breath of a few thousand UK coaches and trainers breathing down my neck, like, me a qualified trained coach even asking that question, why am I working as a coach if I don’t believe it works? Now I know the answers, but I think it’s pertinent with what is happening today in politics and with an unstable world (VUCA: volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous, US army war college), that this is the most relevant question that we can ask of each other. After all, as we know as coaches, you are only as good as your daily performance, and living on yesterday’s accomplishments is just ego speaking.
It is especially pertinent, with the stabbing of the policeman at Parliament yesterday (22.3.17), that we ask, are we learning anything from what we do as humans? Today I have read things on social media by some who say, “oh why are there so many bad people and horrible things that happen.” Yet there are those who say, “we must continue and this will not define us and our value for human life.” The latter I would say is the mindset I am touching upon with my opening question. That we make the best of everything we do, understand that circumstances will always get in the way, but yet look at ways to improve on performance moving forward.
So where does that leave us as the Training and Human Development industry? I am seeing more seminars run on ROI of coaching (return on investment) now more than ever. This, you would say, is wonderful, it means there is a shift in the Human Resource department to measure the effectiveness of coaching delivered. I would question this. Firstly when I speak to HR specialists in the industry, a lot of them say, “we struggle to get all of our managers on the courses because they are too tied up in the operations of the business, and those that do attend, do not have enough time after the course to implement their learnings.” This is equal to the mindset above of, oh dear why are there so many bad people out there.
Now, I know there are companies out there that continue to measure ROI, and are vigilant on re-visiting training implementation into the business, on regular intervals moving forward. However, I would be so bold as to say, this would be the minority not the majority here. I think as coaches and trainers we know why this is, we live in a culture of “quick-fixes”, “hollywood glamour” and “happy endings.” For this reason, we think we only need to do something once and then we’ve got it; plus if it looks good on the surface, don’t challenge it!
Yet as coaches we know that is, so not true, so why do we not insist on 3/6 monthly revisitations to the training? Why are we not insisting on weekly performance updates from managers? Why when we sign a coach/training contract do we not actually include quarterly reviews as part of the delivery, and charge for it as an automatic part of the programme? If we know as coaches that Forward Feedback (Marshall Goldsmith, Thinkers Top 50) is the only way of guaranteeing execution and effectiveness, what had us wimp out of this being a mandatory part of our coaching?
Donald. H. Taylor, Chairman of the Learning & Performance Institute has worked with senior executives the world over and says, “the most common complaint I come across repeatedly, is that these international executives just do not have the time.” If this is the kicker, why are we not addressing it, industry-over, and offering specific solutions to this problem? I would suggest from my limited research, that HR/senior managers are only interested in training and coaching when the “pain” gets too much, or the point of contact is an advocate of training, or possibly it “looks good” from a company “investment in people” stand point.
Obviously, I don’t know what it may actually be like to be the internal HR department in a company… where there are a thousand better ideas to invest limited money into, probably even more managers who don’t want to hear what you have to say about some “engagement training” that puts them on an assault course in the middle of nowhere, so that they might bond with colleagues? Then they have to go back to a desk stacked up with complaints of “why were you swanning off somewhere when there was real work to do?”
But I do know this, whilst we act like the people who are only there to put the fires out, and at the same time are not taking ourselves as seriously as the financial or sales function of a business; we will continue to deliver one-off courses, to half-disengaged rooms, and employees with no real understanding of how to forward implement training learnt. Of course, this is down to the people in the room and how it has been communicated as a piece of training. However, it is up to us as trainers and coaches to “be the difference” the course will make, and begin to deliver products that can be measured, regularly re-visited and taken very seriously as the life and death of a business.
Coaching is not an accessory it is the entire mindset, culture and goal achievement for any business. You want a workforce who no longer complain about having no time? Then take up a training course with me or any reputable coach reading this article, and they will transform your mindset. You will understand that time is not the issue, it is about space for your thinking, prioritising the “important’ and “habitualising daily” a successfully executed plan.
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