How to Get 300% Greater Training Results

Let’s be honest, most training is full of information and “good stuff” that doesn’t lead to lasting behavior change. The most powerful way to see behavior change is to provide follow-up coaching. I have successfully implemented easy (and free) ways to follow-up training events with coaching.

How to Get 300% Greater Training Impact

I measure training results by the amount of application participants make. Application is behavioral change. Too often, my problem is not a lack of knowledge; it is too little living out of that knowledge. I have found ways to help training participants change in amazing ways.

It is not difficult to know a thing; what is difficult is to know how to use what you know.” – Chinese philosopher Han Fei Tzu

Training Results Through Follow-Up Coaching

Follow-Up coaching comes after a training event. One organization studied(1) the results of only training vs. training with follow-up coaching. Training produced 23% better performance, but training with follow-up coaching produced 88% better performance. That’s a 300% difference! How much profit, efficiency, time-saving, stress-saving, etc. would that mean for you and your organization?

Training events provide the rationale, knowledge, and inspiration to change. Follow-up coaching provides real-life application help and accountability over the weeks or months following the event. The two are a powerful combination.

Revise Training with Behavior Change In Mind

Get clear on the actual desired behavioral changes. Make plans for the training to be followed-up with coaching. Doing this is actually easier than it may sound.

  1. List the application points of the training. How do you want participants to behave differently? Don’t worry about what you want them to “know,” focus on what you want them to “do” – the behaviors.
  2. Go back and revise the content of the training. Edit it to focus on the behaviors you want to participants to adopt. Cut the extra “good” things, particularly information. Focus.
  3. Create time during the training for participants to plan their implementation. Including time for participants to share their implementation plans with somebody else for feedback.
  4. Write a series of coaching questions to be asked to participants over the next couple of weeks or months. With these questions in hand, just about anybody can do the follow-up coaching.

Easy Ways to Provide Follow-Up Coaching

Provide follow-up coaching using the questions you created. Aim for weekly contact for 6-8 weeks, beginning the week after the training. This can be done in person or at a distance via Skype or a conference call line. Here are a few ideas for how to follow up:

  1. Form participants into groups of 3 and give them the follow-up coaching questions. Ask them to “peer coach” each other. Provide some guidelines for sharing, encouraging, asking for clear action steps, etc.
  2. Supervisors can facilitate discussion of the follow-up coaching questions with individuals, groups, or teams.
  3. If you have internal coaches, or can afford external coaches, have coaches follow-up. The coaches need to be clear about the behavior change objectives. Coaches can meet with 1, 2, or 3 participants at a time. (More than that doesn’t work as well.)
  4. Create a series of emails to be automatically send to participants. Write these emails to inspire and cause reflection. Spread out the follow-up coaching questions. Include stories of past participants’ success.
  5. Create an online forum or bulletin board where participants can ask questions, share their experiences, and help others.

Obviously, more personal approaches are better. How about using 2 or 3 ways at the same time? Half the power is in using questions to surface the training topic again and again following the training.

I’ve implemented follow-up coaching with training events I have led and have seen fabulous results. How about giving it a try? And let me know how it goes.

Question: How have you seen training events effectively followed-up? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

(1) Source: Olivero, Bane & Kopelmann; Public Personnel Management; Washington; Winter 1997; ISSN:00910260

    Keith is President of Creative Results Management. He helps busy leaders multiply their impact. Keith is the author of several books including The COACH Model for Christian Leaders.

    Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. You own your comments but give me permission to use them. See My Comments Policy.

    Read my Permissions Policy to know how you can use my posts.

    • Matthias Holighaus

      Thanks for that post, Keith! As I am involved in lot’s of training events and write the curriculum for some of the seminars I agree that this is vital for success. Someone even said in a book that we are wasting 89% of our “Training Dollar” if we don’t follow up properly. Wow! So better change our training culture…

      • I cringe thinking of all the training I’ve led without any follow-up. Lets change that Matthias!

    • Karin Knutson

      Keith, your article states so clearly our objectives of Advancing Leaders International approach to training and coaching educational leaders in Africa. In fact, we stay for a month coaching our leaders and teachers after training. One aspect I am writing about in my TPI (training and performance improvement program) is that in some cases we are mentoring more than coaching. I see coaching more applicable when we believe the client has the experience to draw from. I am enjoying your new site. Best wishes – KK

      • Whether mentoring or coaching, follow-up is needed to maximize impact in the lives of the participants. I prefer to coach the application.

    • Charles Hooper, Jr

      Life on Life Ministries does three clinics with church teams who desire to ignite a life on life missional discipleship movement in and through their churches. We include a monthly learning community (group coaching) to keep the momentum going. This follow up has been the main reason why these pastors are able to stay on track! Great article Keith!

      • There’s nothing like ongoing coaching to keep us on track. Thanks for sharing Charles!

    • Katie

      The Core Coaching Skills training I did with Creative Results Management, was the first training I ever had that had a follow-up coaching/training element. I remember what a huge difference it made for my learning, I really incorporated what I learned into my life as a result. I remember thinking, I always want to incorporate some type of follow up in all the training I offer. This article gave me lots of new ideas to use in future training. Thank you.

    • Pingback: My Top 10 Posts From 2013 - Keith Webb()

    • Pingback: Plan Awesome Training Events! 6 Steps to Reduce Your Risk and Stress. | Keith Webb()