When considering changing work, technical and delivery practices, training is one way to help that process. I can hear you all waiting for the ‘but’…..in fact it is an ‘and’. Training is not a change programme it is only an element of a change programme and coaching is probably a more important component.
Coaching, as we describe it, is different to mentoring. Coaching is supporting someone to understand how you implement a change of work practice, the application of new skills and improving those that you already have. Mentoring is a senior/experienced person in an organisation taking someone under their wing to help develop that individual within the organisation. The ‘right’ definition is only important so it is clear what this article refers to.
When Radtac first engage with organisations we often experience the desire from the customer to tell us ‘What’ they are doing. This is not always delivered with a clear expression of ‘Why’ they are doing things. Coaching is all about ensuring that the ‘why’ you are doing things can be achieved through the ‘how’. Coaching enables the translation of the Vision – ‘why’ - that you have articulated into the strategy – ‘how’. The tactics - ‘what’ – of implementation is just that, what tasks you are doing to affect the delivery of ‘how’. Good training is aimed at the ‘what’, great Coaching is aimed at “Why” and “How”.
Coaching demands that the coach enables the recipient to be the best they can be, that they focus on doing the right things before doing them right. Most transformations and change programmes when boiled down are simple on paper. Do things that the end user/purchaser of the products want, in the order that gives them most value, early, in the most efficient way. Coaching supports you, the team and the organisation to adopt innovative and improved ways of working to achieve these goals.
So the value of any training is only achieved if that learning is coached and adopted into practice. It is probably true to say that most people would benefit first from some coaching before they start any training. If you look the logic above it is clear that your need to work with the elements that are coached before you understand the ‘doing skills’.
Radtac use Coaching in our ‘Three Wall Workshops’ and our ‘Kickstart’ tools to support teams to get them to ‘change’ or be ‘improvement’ ready. If that approach is not adopted it is our experience that all the training in the world will not be as effective as it could be.
It is interesting to note that many athletes have the skills and capability to be great; few achieve greatness without a coach, and sometimes a series of coaches.