By Shalini Ramakrishnan, Director of Product Marketing

Benjamin Franklin famously said, “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest”. 

If organizations know that investing in one thing could increase employee productivity by 200%, wouldn’t they do it? So, what is this magic bullet that delivers such a productivity wave? The answer rests with ‘training’. 

It is no surprise that employee development initiatives like training are becoming an essential arsenal in the HR ammunition box. 

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Companies investing in training and development have a 218% higher income per employee and a 24% higher profit margin than companies without formal training programs. 

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If this is the case, then shouldn’t establishing a training program be enough to drive organizational success? If yes, then why do so many training programs fail?

Do your employees need training or coaching? 

There is a subtle difference between training and coaching. 

While training is focused on knowledge transfer, coaching is about enhancing skills and knowledge. Let’s take culinary skills as an example. Basic culinary skills can act as a foundation on which we layer general training to learn how to bake the perfect cheesecake. But not all cheesecakes are created equal. And the more you train to make the cheesecake, the better you will get at it. So, a person is taught the essentials needed to bake an acceptable cheesecake over a period of time. 

But what happens when this training is complemented with coaching from a veteran baker? Not only will the person learn to make the best cheesecake but will also learn the tips, tricks, and secrets that take a cheesecake from ‘ok’ to ‘oh wow!’

Training, owing to its basic structure, attempts to ensure that learners will remember the knowledge and apply it. 

But humans usually have very short attention spans. As such, day-long training programs usually fail to make an impact simply because humans don’t remember very well

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70% of new information gleaned from a training program is lost within a day. People forget 50% of the information received from a presentation within an hour!

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With organizations investing billions on training each year, these numbers don’t evoke much confidence. It almost seems like pouring water into a pot that has a hole in it. 

The only way to plug this hole is by coaching since coaching helps to overcome the forgetting curve by ensuring information is repeated at intervals to strengthen and reconstruct memory.  

Why coaching works 

Coaching brings about sustained change because of its very nature. 

Coaching conversations are continuous and, hence, more impactful. 

Coaching is a focused effort and helps employees with the tools they need to navigate their work successfully. The relationship between the coach and the coached (the Jedi) is development-oriented and helps employees identify challenges and opportunities for career growth.

Training could use a little help

HR departments globally are now under pressure to increase the impact of their training initiatives. However, it is myopic to look at training as an activity to just navigate the skills gap. 

Reskilling and upskilling initiatives have become organizational prerogatives. Yes, training can help your employees increase their technical skills knowledge. But the effectiveness of the training program rests on how the knowledge is ‘applied’. 

Technical or any hard skills training can be called successful when employees use this knowledge. They will only be compelled to remember what they learn and apply it when they understand how these skills impact them personally, professionally, and the impact it makes on the organization. 

Clearly, training needs to be complemented with coaching to ensure that organizations are filling their leadership pipeline with employees who have sound technical skills complementing their power skills. Hard skills training is not sufficient to ensure that employees develop the right skills to become forward-thinking, progressive leaders who take the organization further down the path to success.

The objective of all training programs is to ensure that the organization is future-ready, capable, productive, and agile to battle out today’s competitive landscape. And coaching can help an organization develop employees who are not only proficient in their technical skills but also have the capacity to lead the organization on the said path of being future-ready.

Coaching – this is the way the cookie crumbles

Coaching is the silver bullet that helps all the parties invested in it. 

Coaching the managers can lead to high-performing teams since coaching helps managers understand why and how to lead by example. It helps build their EQ, resilience, strategic and critical thinking skills and helps them become better team leaders.

Also Read: If You Want to Win the War for Talent, You Must Train Your Managers to Lead

The employees obviously benefit from coaching – be it for hard or power skills. 

  • Coaching is a continuous process and is directed to bring about behavioral change.
  • It is heavily focused on how learning is not only acquired but also how it is ‘implemented’. 
  • Coaching does not stop when the presentation ends. It stops when the ‘learning’ from the same has been internalized. 
  • High motivation and productivity are by-products of good coaching.

The organization naturally benefits from robust coaching practices since its managers and leaders have the coveted balance of technical and power skills needed to lead the organization towards success. 

Highly engaged employees and elevated levels of employee experience influence people to become more invested and put in discretionary effort. High productivity levels and greater innovation capacity come as a result of the same. A higher ROI on training efforts and a positive impact on the bottom line are the natural outcomes of coaching.

It’s time to modernize coaching 

A one-size-fits-all approach never worked for anything, and it does not work for coaching as well. 

HR departments need coaching programs that improve productivity and performance by reinforcing learning, extending eLearning, and increasing employee engagement. This becomes even more relevant as we delve deeper into the age of remote working or working from home. 

Basing coaching decisions on guesswork becomes counter-productive. In the age of personalization, organizations need to deliver personalized and skill-specific coaching continuously and iteratively. They also need to grow in-house skill sets to complement external coaches to increase their coaching footprint. How can they achieve this?

The answer lies in modern technology. Coaching has to be now modernized and the only way to do so is by leveraging an easy-to-use and comprehensive AI and Machine Learning enhanced AI platform such as NumlyEngage

It comes with custom program templates and rich engagement tools that help organizations identify skill gaps and pair Coaches and Jedi for each skill.  Built-in and customizable processes enhance coaching relationships. 

  • AI-enabled bot addresses individual skills gap and identifies their learning process. 
  • Through personalized, contextual ‘nurture actions’ help in increasing the efficiency of the coaching program. 
  • AI and Machine learning algorithms help to pair the right coach with the right Jedi, which contributes to better coaching outcomes.
  • With the data analytics capabilities, such a platform can assist organizations in understanding the effectiveness of their coaching programs, the outcomes, and the path to course correction by using actionable insights from rich analytics on employee engagement, performance management, and much more. 
  • HR teams can also benefit from the platform’s deep engagement insights to manage, develop, engage, and transform the entire employee experience. This becomes even more relevant as we are diving deeper into the age of remote working and distributed teams. 

There is immense pressure to ensure that employees, irrespective of their location, are engaged, motivated, and skilled to boost engagement and productivity. Organizations also need to keep their employees connected through shared values and ensure that they  are bound to the organization by common work principles and attitudes. 

Coaching is an effective way to drive engagement with today’s employees to make them feel connected and to help them remain engaged to contribute positively towards the organization’s health.

Upcoming Webinars - Engaging and Up-Skilling Your Employees From a Distance

3rd and 17th December, 2020