I once read a statistic that said only 16% of participants in training courses transfer their learning in a way that improves performance.
Whilst clearly, the difference between what you learn in a management training program and what you actually then apply in practice is proportional, I just hadn’t realised that it was this low.
Let’s face it we have all been there. We have spent time away from the office on a training and development program, we have listened to some great stuff around how we can improve our performance or that of our teams, we have left the course full of resolve to transform the way we work and really make a difference using all our new training.
Then we arrive back in the office. Emails have piled up, problems need solved and suddenly rather than implementing all of our new knowledge we are suddenly playing catch up.
Whilst the training hasn’t been a complete waste of time because clearly some of what we learnt does get implemented, there is a huge percentage that doesn’t.
Of course we may not agree with everything we are taught on courses, so are unlikely to implement those aspects. However, there will be many more aspects that we do agree with but then fail to implement. Why is this?
Time – we are all busy and trying to find time to implement new practices or developments can add to that time burden.
Resistance – some of our training may require changes in the behaviour of others who may be resistant to the change. We may not want to deal with this resistance.
Clarity – How many times have things seemed very clear in the training, but once you are outside the training room and back in the office it seems a lot less clear what you need to do.
Resolve – Over time our resolve to implement the list of things we left the training course with dissipates. Once we have actioned a few things and got over the initial high that we left the training course on, the rest of the list can simply get forgotten.=
So How Can We Overcome These Issues And Increase The Effectiveness Of Management Training Programs?
One very effective solution is to use an executive coach or mentor
This can be achieved either by setting up an internal company mentoring scheme or by using external coaches or mentors.
So How Exactly Can An Executive Coach or Mentor Help?
Time – Tasks that have completion deadlines are likely to get completed. When you know you are on a deadline and will be held accountable if you miss that deadline then you are more likely to stay on track and complete the task.
When working with an executive mentor the first stage would be to set out measureable, timebound goals that need to be achieved during the mentoring process. These goals and targets could be a combination of training goals set before the training and those identified as a result of the training. These can then be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure they are achieved.
Practice – No matter how good the training, it is unlikely that when you come to put it into practice that you will get it right first time. Working with a mentor enables you to practice new skills and to refine these.
By having a coach or mentor as an impartial observer they can provide feedback on how you can improve and thus increase performance effectiveness.
Experience – One of the key benefits of working with an executive coach or mentor is that they can bring a wealth of experience. They can use this to not only enhance the knowledge gained in the management training program, but can also use their experience to advise on how to overcome any barriers and resistance met when new initiatives are introduced as a result of the training and development.
Soundingboard – At the end of a management training program, despite all delegates receiving the same training, each delegate will have their own ideas and unique way of how they will implement that training. An Executive Coach or Mentor can be a great resource in this situation to act as a sounding board for these ideas. The executive coach or mentor will probe and challenge to ensure the idea is well thought through and help identify any potential problems that may arise.
Equally important is the fact that the coach or mentor can help to build confidence. Too often good ideas fail to be implemented because someone lacked confidence in their own ability to come up with a good idea and to act on it.
At the end of the day one of the benefits of encouraging participation in management training programs is to show the employee that you value them and are prepared to invest in them. By doing this you are then more likely to retain that employee.
By reinforcing the management training program through the appointment of an executive coach or mentor you are in turn reinforcing the fact that you value that employee and thus improve not only management performance but also retention.
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