Does Coaching Increase Learning Retention?

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Remember the last time you sent an employee off to attend a management or leadership training course? Your company chose to invest in growing and developing this employee for their own good as well as for the potential improved performance the company would receive from the newly trained, motivated and inspired employee.  After your employee returned to the regular day in and day out duties and responsibility of the job, they probably thanked you for the learning opportunity.  Maybe they shared a great resource, new insight, or more creative way of thinking that they picked up at the training session or conference they attended.  You might have even gone a step farther and asked them to share some of what they learned with others on the team in your monthly department meeting.  You had high hopes that this newly trained and inspired employee would become an even better supervisor or manager than they had been before.  Then, fairly soon, and rather abruptly, things were back to normal.  Business as usual.  The same supervisory and management traits the employee already had simply kicked back in, and your hopes that they would be a better leader faded into the background of everyday work responsibilities.

What if there were a better way to see learning and motivation from training sessions and conferences translate into positive changes on the job? What might that look like and how might it be accomplished?

At Leader Discovery we have found training and development is more likely to be retained and applied on the job when it is followed up by individual coaching sessions for the employee who attended the training.  We have started to incorporate follow-up coaching sessions with our leadership workshops and programs, yet most of the other learning and development solutions available, including conference breakout sessions and onsite leadership institutes don’t necessarily offer follow-up coaching. Some programs that do include coaching provide it as an expensive add-on rather than making it available to all participants. So, how can an organization take advantage of follow-up coaching to help their supervisors and managers implement the learning on the job? Here are some suggestions.

  • Talk with the trainer or the company providing the training.  Ask if they offer coaching services or can recommend a coach to help with retention and application of the training so that the learning is transferred to the workplace.
  • If you are developing and delivering training in-house, design coaching by in-house staff, by managers trained in coaching skills, or contract with a coaching professional and ask them to integrate a coaching program that works with your in-house training.
  • Hire a coaching professional to train human resources staff or supervisors and managers in coaching skills, so the follow-up coaching can be done by your own team members.

I am sure there are other solutions.  What have you tried in your organization to help supervisors and managers retain their learning and transfer the new knowledge or skills to their day in and day out job responsibilities?