Employee onboarding and continuing education is a critical part of a successful company. With all of the training and development tools out there, it is easy to forget that one of the most effective tools we have is the ability to coach.

Adding coaching into your current training and development program can have many benefits. It can help new employees absorb material and feel more connected to the company. There is also a positive effect on current employees, helping to show investment in their continued professional development.

This article will outline:

  • How coaching increases the effectiveness of online training
  • How to build an effective coaching program
  • 3 ways to integrate and execute coaching into online training

Let’s dive into why coaching is such a powerful accompaniment to training and how to build and execute an effective coaching program.

How Coaching Increases The Effectiveness Of Online Training

Harvard Business Review recently explored Why Leadership Training Fails and came to the conclusion that the benefits of short-term training with no other organizational support will be short-lived. There are several additions to an online training program that increase the long-term effectiveness of these initiatives, one of which is coaching.

The article asserts that training has better long-term results when businesses add “day-to-day coaching and process consultation” to their training.

Some of the key benefits of coaching:

  • Enhances learning as it gives learners a chance to review and apply their knowledge right away. Both live and virtual coaching sessions involve repetition and reinforcement of material covered in training.
  • Learners have a chance to ask questions and clarify anything about which they are unclear.
  • Employees can discuss issues that are preventing the implementation of their training and create solutions
  • Helps employees see learning as an ongoing process rather than something that begins and ends with training.

How to Build an Effective Coaching Program

Here are the main steps for building a coaching program that helps learners get the best possible results from their training. 

1. Identify the Objectives of the Program  

Decide exactly what you want to achieve from your coaching program. You should look for problem areas in your training. Are there specific issues or skills that are challenging for employees to retain after training? These are areas that coaching can help with. You might also have goals such as better results on compliance training for your industry.  

2. Provide Training for Coaches 

In order to help learners, coaches need to be thoroughly familiar with the training material. It’s important to choose coaches who are highly motivated, have excellent communication skills, and who are committed to keeping up with the latest training requirements. Ongoing training for coaches should include analyzing results and paying close attention to feedback from learners. This will help coaches adjust their techniques to meet learners’ needs.  

3. Communication About the New Program 

In order for coaching to be effective, people have to know about your coaching program. To get maximum participation in the coaching program, spread the word in as many ways as possible. This includes:

  • Company newsletters and emails.
  • Discussion at meetings.
  • Printed reminders on bulletin boards.
  • Remind employees during face-to-face conversations.

When communicating information about coaching, it’s important to present it as a benefit rather than an obligation. Coaching gives employees a chance to improve their skill sets, perform their jobs more effectively, and advance more rapidly in their careers. Emphasizing these advantages will motivate more employees to sign up for coaching.

4. Schedule Coaching Sessions 

Once you’ve created the program and found the right coaches, it’s time to actually schedule sessions. These should complement the regular training. Ideally, coaching should be customized to the needs of individual learners. Some people will need more sessions than others. The key is to make the coaching available to whoever needs it and to make sure people feel comfortable asking for help. If you use virtual coaching, scheduling is much more flexible.  

5. Support From Leadership

As the Harvard Business Review states, “HR managers and others find it difficult or impossible to confront senior leaders and their teams with an uncomfortable truth: A failure to execute on strategy and change organizational behavior is rooted not in individuals’ deficiencies but, rather, in the policies and practices created by top management. Those are the things to fix before training can succeed longer-term.”

When making organizational changes or implementing new initiatives, there are other elements of the day-to-day organization that needs to change. Those changes are best implemented and sustained when they are supported by senior leadership.

To promote the success of a coaching program, make sure that, in addition to great coaches, the business processes and senior leadership support the program. Do employees have time to include coaching sessions? Do coaches get training to be effective? Do senior leaders recognize great coaching and employee improvements? Does upper management promote the coaching program? 

6. Evaluate Results and Adjust 

As with your training programs, it’s essential to constantly measure the results of coaching and make any necessary adjustments. You can compare the performance of employees who have had coaching with those who hadn’t. It’s also helpful to get subjective feedback from those who have had coaching and ask for suggestions on possible improvements. Over time, you’ll be able to refine and improve coaching.

3 Ways to Integrate Coaching Into Online Training

There are three overlapping strategies for integrating and executing coaching into your online training program. 

1. Virtual Coaching 

Virtual coaching is one of the most convenient and flexible types of coaching. As with online training itself, learners can access the coaching from any location. Virtual coaching has some drawbacks by not being in-person, however, there are also several advantages. Coaches can record sessions for employees to view later, and it is great to use if employees are working remotely.  

2. Rehearsal Coaching Integration 

Rehearsal training is a powerful technique to prepare employees for workplace scenarios they are likely to encounter. This can be effective for many situations such as sales training, customer service training, or for any type of training where it’s helpful to recreate real-world conditions.

Video role-play is an especially convenient type of rehearsal coaching. With video role-play, coaches record scenarios and employees record their responses. Coaches can then spend time reviewing and constructing feedback to improve their responses.  

3. An LMS With Chat

As you probably know, a learning management system (LMS) is a way to organize and assign training to your learners online. Integrating an LMS with a chat feature is a great way to combine coaching with online technology. Learners that need advice or have feedback or questions about training can quickly connect to more experienced employees.

Get Better Results From Your Training With Coaching

Every organization that conducts training is looking for ways to improve results. A common problem is that once the training is over, learners start forgetting. This can be especially noticeable if there’s a gap between the training and the need to implement what was learned. Coaching is a way to address this problem. Coaching and training go hand-in-hand. With today’s technology, you can implement virtual coaching methods that strengthen and reinforce training. This will help to keep everyone up to speed on training materials and make it less likely that anyone gets left behind.  

About Knowledge Anywhere

Knowledge Anywhere is an eLearning company focused on providing flexible, modern learning and development solutions that enable organizations to harness the power of an engaged, knowledgeable workforce.

Our Learning Management System, Virtual Reality Training, and Course Development services, combined with our experience and customer support enables our users to create a learning and development program that boosts sales and drives company growth.

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