Time Management Training
In today's fast-paced business world, time management training is becoming an increasingly important part of management development. Management training courses give new and experienced managers the skills needed to succeed and prosper. A managerial role will result in numerous tasks needing to be completed which can be overwhelming, particularly for first line managers who are new to being in charge. Learning time management skills will allow them to work efficiently and productively.
Who Needs Time Management Training?
The busier you are, the greater the need for prioritising tasks. Time management is concerned with managing the use of your time in order to ensure that you use the time available as effectively as possible. A range of skills and techniques are utilised which ensures that tasks are prioritised and do not take up more time than they are worth.
The first step in effective time management is planning. Writing down a plan of the tasks that need doing will ensure that nothing is forgotten as the timeframe progresses (morning, day, week, month etc) and the work is done. Planning will also allow you to prioritise the more important tasks first, which may mean sacrificing non-essential tasks, or highlighting opportunities for delegation to subordinates.
Delegation and Assertiveness Form a Key Component of Time Management
Time management cannot exist without also looking at two other areas: effective delegation and assertiveness. These two factors deal with the same fact, which is that no matter how great your time management skills are, taking on too much work which is simply impossible to achieve in the specified time frame will lead to missed deadlines and elevated stress levels (which could be damaging to health).
Delegating tasks to others will alleviate some of the burden. Often, a person can spend so much time worrying and thinking about all the tasks they have to complete that they use up a lot of time that could be spent on actually achieving those tasks! Like time management, delegation is a skill and a mindset which sounds simple in theory but is much trickier to implement, as managers are often reluctant to delegate for fear that the work will not be done correctly, or that they have to spend so much time checking that it has been done right that they may as well have done it themselves in the first place.
Assertiveness, or in terms of time management, the art of "saying no", is also vital for ensuring too much work for the time period in question is not taken on. If someone is the type of person who is afraid of hurting a colleague's feelings or aims to avoid conflict in the workplace, they may agree to do too much. As well as missing deadlines, it can also lead to poor quality work for the tasks they do complete on time. In the long term, this is no good for either the individual themselves with regards to stress levels, or the company as they may get a reputation for poor quality products or service.
How Much Time is Required for Training and Business Coaching?
Training Time Varies from Person to Person
The amount of time that is required for a programme of business coaching or the training necessary for a person to become proficient in a certain skill will vary tremendously and is dependent upon a number of different factors.
Amount of Information
One of the most obvious is the amount of information that is to be taught during the training course or session, as the more there is the longer the time needed to impart it all, not to mention the probability of the delegate requiring more time to understand and get to grips with it all than the person providing the training - who is already knowledgeable about the subject - expected or anticipated.
The personal attributes of the individual being taught will also play a key part in how quickly they get up to speed and reach the level that the manager desires. Their enjoyment and liking of the subject matter will greatly affect the speed at which they learn, as it will be much harder work trying to train an employee who has little interest in the new duties that are being forced upon them than it will be to train somebody who is passionate about the subject, is keen to learn all they can and will be far more motivated to do any extra research or home studying as needed.
The complexity of the topic will also be an issue as a simple task or concept will take less time to train and understand than a complex one with many variables associated with it.
The Trainer/Coach Needs to Assess Each Person Individually with Regards to How Much Training is Needed
Rather than the trainer or coach simply deciding beforehand how much time should be required, or trying to cram everything into one session regardless of how much information needs to be imparted, they will need to continually assess their delegate's understanding and be flexible with regards to the addition training and support that may be necessary.
Making Use of Business Coaching and Training Courses Together
It Doesn't Have to be One or the Other
A lot of managers think that they have to choose between engaging the services of a business coach to provide business coaching sessions with their employee(s), or putting them onto a training course. Although this may sometimes be done out of necessity due to either budget or time constraints, often it is because the manager believes that one or the other will suffice. Whilst they share similar objectives in terms of developing people and enabling them to be more effective in their job role, business coaching and training courses achieve this goal in two very different ways.
Business Coaching and Executive Coaching
Instead of teaching an individual new information as is the case on a traditional training course with a tutor, business coaching and executive coaching sessions usually take the form of one-to-one meetings between the person and the coach, during which all or some of the following is discussed, depending upon which stage the sessions are at:
- The issues and current circumstances which are holding the employee back from maximising their potential and reaching their full effectiveness in their job role.
- Once these reasons have been established and discussed, action plans can be created in a joint collaboration between the business coach and the coachee, where goals and objectives are determined, the method in which they will be achieved, and perhaps most importantly of all, why it needs to happen. Rather than the coach simply telling the person what to do, they will engage the individual and ensure that they are a major contributor and take the lead in this important process in order for them to take ownership of the plan and increase their "buy-in" to the task. By doing so, the probability of successfully achieving the goals is significantly increased rather than the person having to implement a plan which has simply been dictated to them.
- A review of how successful the person has been in putting the changes into practice and what levels of success or otherwise they have achieved. If they have not been making much progress, it may be the case that the goals and objectives need to be refined and further developed.
- If they have been successful in implementing changes, evaluating how well those changes have been in achieving the original goals which were set such as to increase their effectiveness in the job role. Evaluation and reviews are a vital component of the business coaching process.
Whilst executive coaching and business coaching sessions are centred primarily around discussions and action plans, unlike training courses they do not teach any new information or refresh existing knowledge. Training courses are available on a wide variety of topics like health and safety training, management training, employment law, sales skills... the list is endless, but the information which they provide to attending delegates can be detailed and highly beneficial for their current and any future workplace requirements.
Combining Business Coaching and Training Courses
So whilst it can be seen how providing one or the other can be beneficial, utilising the benefits of both in unison will often result in a highly knowledgeable and highly effective worker who can provide tremendous benefits for the organisation and the achievement of its objectives.
Should Employees Find Their Own Training Courses?
Employees Who Are Involved in Their Development Decisions Have More Motivation for it to Work
In certain other business coaching articles such as Why Development Plans Should Be Comprehensive we highlighted the fact that individuals take much greater ownership of action plans when they have been involved in the creation process. They are likely to be far more motivated to make the changes and work hard towards achieving those goals and targets than they would if they simply had them dictated to them and were told to get on with it.
We have also seen that business coaching and executive coaching sessions which have the primary purpose of increasing the effectiveness of the individual in certain topics and situations are much more successful when provided in conjunction with relevant training courses.
For example, if a new manager is being coached to improve their performance in a managerial position, as well as developing action plans with the business coach they would also benefit tremendously from attending a first line management training course which actually teaches them useful information which they can use in their new job role as a manager. This is particularly true if this is their first managerial position and they have not previously had any sort of managerial training before. If they haven't, then no matter how comprehensive the business coaching and the action plans created, if they have little or no knowledge about management issues then they are likely to struggle to become an effective manager, or at least will make a lot of avoidable mistakes initially whilst they learn.
Should Employees Find Their Own Training Courses and Business Coaches or Let Managers Do It For Them?
So if employees should be involved in the creation of action and development plans, it begs the question as to whether they should also be responsible for finding and sourcing their own training courses too, or whether their line manager or even the business coach themselves should be the ones to suggest an appropriate course for them.
There will be no definitive right or wrong answer to this question. Whilst it may sometimes be a good idea to allow the person to research and find a course which they feel would benefit them and be a productive use of their time, there may be other times when their manager will have a better idea regarding which training course will be most suitable for the person, particularly if they have put other new managers on it in the past and had a high level of success.
It may be the case that everybody - the individual, their line manager and the business coach - all have an input into which training courses they believe will be most suitable and provide the most benefit for the person, as sometimes more than one course may provide maximum benefit.