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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- Supervisors can facilitate discussion of the follow-up coaching questions with individuals, groups, or teams.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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