Instead of a manager simply deciding upon training needs at random, or signing off the same training programme because that is what they have always done at the firm over the years, it will nearly always be far more beneficial both for the company and the individual employees themselves if the manager uses business coaching to identify specific training needs.
By talking to employees directly and discovering which areas they are proficient in and, more importantly as far as training needs are concerned, which areas they are lacking skills and/or knowledge in and so require training to improve, will result in a much greater return on investment.
It may be that they have already received training designed to cover this topic, which makes the manager believe that everything is fine, when it may be the case that additional training is required to bring the employee(s) up to the level necessary to carry out their workplace duties to the best of their abilities, or to a level which is needed to comply with any applicable legislation and regulations such as health and safety or environmental requirements.
Employees will often wait to be told by management that they are being signed up to a training course, when in actual fact the forum provided by a business coaching session gives these workers the opportunity to speak directly with a manager who should be giving them their undivided attention about what sort of training they themselves feel they need in order to be more productive and to do their job more effectively.
By engaging in business coaching sessions at an early stage, potential problems can be identified and training be provided before those problems bring about an issues which negatively impacts performance or incurs costs to the company. In business, as in most things in life, prevention is far more preferable that having to react to a situation when it has already taken place.
New employees are probably the group in a business who are most in need of training and business coaching. Even if they have come from another organisation in the same industry and have been doing the same job, they have not worked for your organisation, and so throwing them straight into their duties without any form of initial training will likely cause additional stress over and above the anxiety that comes already with starting a new job!
Not providing them with any induction training or on the job training is also likely to mean that they will require longer to settle in and feel comfortable in their new surroundings, which if they were to feel comfortable would then enable them to really tackle their workplace duties and/or introduce changes to improve the efficiency of existing processes.
Business coaching can be introduced and utilised in conjunction with training to evaluate how well the new employee is settling in to their new position, as well as identifying any gaps where there is a need for additional training and development in order to increase their effectiveness at fulfilling their work duties.
Of course, new employees may have come from a completely different industry and know very little about what is going on at their new place of employment. In this situation, training and development will usually be even more necessary in order to bring them up to speed.
Along with workers who have previously been employed in a completely different industry, new employees may also include young people coming straight from school, college or university. Whilst they may have an abundance of theoretical knowledge acquired from textbooks, they will not have any practical experience and they may have gaps in their knowledge of things which were not taught in the educational institution but are vital for the correct and safe undertaking of their workplace activities.
A key challenge for any company employee, no matter how high or low they are in the company hierarchy and chain of command, is having to adjust and adapt to any change in their job role or situation.
Many people struggle to deal with change in their lives; even those which are normally viewed as positive ones such as a promotion to a more senior role with increased responsibility. The sense of uncertainty as to what the new state of affairs will entail, doubts about whether they are truly capable of fulfilling the role and fears about what would happen if things were to all go wrong can not only make some people apprehensive of change, but also cause others to flat-out resist any kind of change for as long as possible.
A fear of change can contribute to health and safety issues amongst individuals, most notably issues regarding their mental health and wellbeing with a fear of change often causing problems relating to anxiety, worries and fears about the future. Often overlooked for many decades, issues surrounding psychological and mental health are being recognised as a vital consideration for managers to be aware of just as much as physical health and safety hazards such as hazardous substances or sharp blades from machinery are.
Business coaching can be used to great effect to tackle worries and fears regarding new situations and changing roles within the company, especially when it is combined with relevant training, for example first line management training for a person who has been promoted to a managerial or supervisory position for the very first time in their life and is unsure what skills they will need.
An experienced business coach can discuss the issues and worries that the individual has, and work with them to devise suitable action plans and goals to tackle them. Not only will this help to allay their fears, but should also hopefully make them feel positive about the new and exciting challenges ahead of them, spurring them to tackle them head-on rather than worrying about them.
Along with improving employee performance, paving the way and facilitating the smooth transition of a person moving job roles is another important function of business coaching, and is just one of its many benefits.
A large number of managers make the mistake of promoting or moving a person from one job role to another without providing them with sufficient training. By failing to provide this, the employee is often left trying to muddle through as best they can. Not only are they likely to feel as if they are not able to satisfy the requirements of this new position and possibly ask to go back to their old one, even if they do stick with it they are likely to produce work which is not as good as it could be had they been provided with training.
Not only should training be given, but so too should business coaching between the employee and their manager. By utilising the forum and dialogue in the business coaching sessions, employees will have the chance to state the difficulties they are encountering. Managers will be able to identify (or even be told directly by the employee) the areas where there is a need for training in terms of developing their skills.
An example of a specific job role which will require training for those new to the position is sales. Very few will be born with all of the skills necessary to be a proficient salesperson. Not only must a person be outgoing and have effective communication and influencing skills in order to obtain interest and close the sale, but they must also have excellent knowledge of the product in order to feel confident about selling it and to answer any questions potential customers may have. They may also require slightly different training depending whether they are selling the products over the telephone or face-to-face.
Training and business coaching should be put into place and performed both before and during an employee's transition to a new job role. This will maximise the probability of the employee being happy and sticking with the new position, but also enabling them to do it well for the benefit of the organisation. Providing training before the employee commences their new job role will allow them to adapt to the changes and settle into their new role much faster and with fewer initial problems once they begin.
Along with training being important for acquiring new skills and refreshing or refining existing knowledge and skill sets, another of its important uses is to reduce mistakes and improve quality.
Whether there has been a recent spate of mistakes which has led to an increase in waste and costly write-offs, or if it is just an objective of management to improve the quality of the product or service and/or reduce the number of defects or rejects from the production line, by providing training to employees the company can achieve these desired outcomes.
As far as errors, mistakes and rejected defective products are concerned, it is likely to be the case that the problems stem from a lack of training.
Workers may not have all of the required knowledge necessary to assemble a product, especially if it is a complex one, or they may not be completely proficient in a skill that is required in order to manufacture the item to the expected standard. Not only can this lead to poor customer satisfaction, it can also affect the health and safety of people.
For example the products themselves may cause a danger if they are not assembled correctly such as being a fire hazard or causing injury if they were to fall apart. Alternatively if the products themselves are safety equipment, any defectiveness in them can have serious repercussions as it may lead to death or make an injury worse which may not have occurred had the safety product done what it should have.
Training can also be utilised to improve quality. Improving employee's knowledge of certain techniques and methods can result in them producing better quality work, not to mention increasing their productivity.
Training is often provided in conjunction with business coaching. Whilst training teaches new skills or re-affirms knowledge which a person may have forgotten, business coaching allows the identification of barriers and subsequent action plans to overcome them to be determined. It is for this reason that training and business coaching go so well together and form a powerful combination for developing the workforce of a company in order for it to achieve its objectives and goals.
In many businesses, particularly smaller ones, there are likely to be certain tasks and functions which only one person has the knowledge or ability to carry out. Whilst this may work fine for the majority of the time, whenever that person is away from the workplace the task will not get done. If it is a critical component of a process, the entire operations of the business may come to a shuddering halt whilst they are absent.
Examples of important functions which only one person may know how to do include updating the company website, processing payments, accessing the bank account to advise customers that their payment has been received etc. In manufacturing companies where a highly trained and skilled artisan is the only one who can perform a certain task, the whole production line many have to stop when they are not there.
Companies where only one person can do a task are too dependent upon this person and are in a vulnerable position. Whenever they are on holiday or call in sick it can mean that things do not get done which either have negative financial consequences for the company or cause customer unhappiness and complaints when nobody can deal with their queries. Having a website that has dates which have already passed or information which is out of date looks unprofessional and may put off potential customers.
In order to combat this reliance upon a single person the company should train others to do the work. Even if they cannot do the task to as high a standard as the other person or do it as quickly, it will at least allow the company to function until they get back.
Often managers find out the hard way that only one person can do a task... when that person is absent from the workplace for the first time. However an important skill of management is to anticipate problems and take steps before they occur, and managers should attempt to consider what each of their employees does and determine what would not be able to get done if that person was off. They should then implement training to allow others to carry out these duties whenever the need arises. This can also be beneficial if there is a temporary surge in demand which means that the original person requires assistance, as two people are now able to do the task and to share the workload between them to clear any backlog.
The BCF Group have evolved from the Business Coaching Foundation, which was established in 2001. We have leadership development and business coaching at our core. Having representation from global learning leads, executive coaches and talent development specialists, we deliver accredited people development programs.Find Out More
Please see below for some related courses and qualifications which you may be interested in:
The ILM Level 7 Qualifications for Senior Level Coaches and Mentors are designed for senior leaders/managers (or those working in a training and development role) who are regularly coaching or mentoring at a senior level.
It is for those executive coaches who wish to accredit, validate or enhance their skills with an internationally-recognised executive coaching qualification.
Based on our extensive work and experience with leaders, both in the private and public sectors, this ILM Level 5 Coaching and Mentoring programme has been designed to develop the capability of leaders to positively impact the performance of individuals and teams.
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It covers problem-solving, decision making, workplace communication and leading, and motivating teams effectively, among much more.
This course has been designed for those who are new to management or who are about to take up a management position.
Run over a single day, the course covers a wide range of topics to give new and inexperienced managers a good understanding of the foundations needed to begin their journey as a manager.
It includes modules on communication, managing your team, managing yourself, delegating, setting objectives, planning and personal development.
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