By Gillian Jones
This week I have been working with a client who needed help with their rapidly decreasing training budget……their question was “how do we get more effective development but using less money?”. I suspect there are many others of you out there who are battling with this question too. And this is where my journey into coaching culture strategy really started – helping clients move away from the traditional training catalogue to utilise other resources and methods for developing their people.
If you really need to do “more with less” it is critical that every penny of the training budget is maximised. For many organisations it is also vital that the internal knowledge is shared in a systematic and “just in time” manner, as many training courses will not be able to add the specific knowledge element that will come from internal business personnel. This information, combined with the need to take into account learning styles, time off the job, and the need for” just in time” learning means there is more complexity to delivering development options than simply providing a course curriculum. Developing a coaching culture pulls all this together as it focuses very much on development needs as opposed to training solutions.
Development needs can be met in many different ways but the first step, of course, is to truly understand what the need is. This is a major mindset change for many organisations, for training departments, for managers and for individuals and therefore it needs to be launched effectively. Managers will miss the ease of the calendar curriculum of training courses and individuals may not see other solutions (as opposed to training) as development.
Organisations that have a coaching culture recognise that development can be selected from a whole range of activities including;
- Manager coaching
- Peer coaching
- Role play sessions
- Action Learning Sets
- An internal pool of accredited coaches
- Case studies
- On-line videos and presentations
- Job shadowing
- Trained internal career coaches
- Lunch and learn sessions
- External networking
- Executive Coaching
- Involvement in projects
- Modelling successful people
And many others.
But it isn’t as simple as just putting the training calendar temporarily out of reach. When we work with organisations to implement a coaching culture we introduce them to some key steps to creating a curious and engaged workforce who constantly seek development;
- Mindset change for both managers and employees. Managers need to change their mindset to take more responsibility for supporting the person to identify and engage in development activities. Employees need to take responsibility for their own development and career planning
- Creating a robust development log for employees to record and plan their development journey linked to their aligned career aspirations
- Effective on-boarding that gives the message early to employees that their career is their responsibility
- A performance review system that supports the identification of development needs rather than training courses; managers will need training on how to ask the right questions to allow people to discover this
- Re-enforcing the message at all potential opportunities that development is about needs and not training solutions
- Collaborative intelligence champions that help people to find opportunities to work together
- Ensuring sufficient follow up takes place on less formal activities
- Checking on the quality of development given e.g. peer coaching through more formal evaluation processes
- Ensuring that people have routes for discussion where they are unsure of where to find development
- Giving even clearer links for the development to organisational strategy
- Giving people a methodology for Action Learning Sets to ensure that they are focussed
- Focusing on creating a useable and practical process for continuous learning (i.e. lessons leant , after action reviews)
The benefits you will see are multiple, people will be more productive as they receive the right type of development at the right time, team members will be more motivated to seek ways to develop themselves, managers will discover more about their team members, their motivations, working styles, knowledge will be shared more freely and lessons learnt and acted upon. And your training budget will be spent exactly where it is most needed…….