Two things, may be three very quickly. One, I got a couple of “spot on!”, “insightful!”, “profound!” and “thank you for sharing” feedback on part 4. Ronke Olaniran, my own person, grandma Titi Ashiru, and an encourager, Tokunbo Smith who posted a beautiful encouraging comment that could pass for a foreword in any book, thank you all for reading. As for your comment Mr Smith, I’ll keep it closely to my heart to be part of my guide as I continue by the help of the Holy Spirit in this venture. A professional colleague, Jubril Saba once encouraged me that doing this is a rewarding art of ‘giving back’. To our great God be all the glory. Secondly, thanks J.O.J for your inquiry on the Kirkpatrick certifications. Like I said, Google has made life so easy, just Google it! I got certified in the UK some years back. Jim himself was the sole facilitator. We were only two Nigerians in that class of about forty international participants. You may also check out their books, I got a couple from Amazon. I have particularly enjoyed Training on Trial, AMACOM 2010 and Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Training Evaluation, ATD Press 2016.
Thirdly, I wouldn’t want us to lose track of how we got here (part 5!). We have been discussing the subject of Performance Coaching. It is inexhaustible. Performance coaching is not a title or a stand-alone job role, and it is not a hierarchy. It is not a position you find in corporate structures or organograms. It is an imperative, a responsibility, a must-have ability, an essential competence that gives you the edge and enables excellence in your role no matter what it is and where situated – front office, back office, customer-facing, back-end, C-suite, outdoor, indoor, etc. From the onset, we identified four key competencies that a performance coach needs to impact the business and her team members to include training effectiveness, career coaching, confronting, and mentoring. A promise is meant to be kept so let me continue today still on training effectiveness with the discussion on the laws of training and/or teaching as promised in part 4.
However just before the laws, please permit me to do a quick-read of the constituents or components – the input and output of a sustainable performance coaching process. These would include the following inputs: the manager or team lead – he is the lead actor; the employee or associate or team member; the environment – a mutually beneficial relationship between the first two, leading to what we call synergy (2+2=5 or more!); this is then followed by the manager’s dexterity in putting to use the authentic performance coaching skills of mentoring, career coaching, training effectiveness; and the leadership art of confronting. The outcome/output would of necessity include the essential elements of self-esteem, rewards, and improved personal and organisational performance. These are all the issues we would touch on before we wrap up this title of Performance Coaching. For the coaching and mentoring bit, it is my pleasure to refer you to a couple of previous essays on this column. We would do six of the laws in this part, elaborate on synergistic relationship next, and then wrap up this subject matter with the leadership act of confronting without confrontations. We have spent this much time on training effectiveness because it is so crucial a leg in the whole process. Thanks for coming along.
The seven laws of teaching (by the way, my attention has been drawn to the fact that there may be more, please let’s find them. The more the merrier) help a performance coach do the very important work of training and facilitation effortlessly and better. A knowledge and professional use of the laws would help in the choice of vendor-consultants and in building your in-house faculty. It facilitates a result-oriented approach to spending your training budget ensuring that you fulfil the mandate of learning and development as an investment. A dangerous practice in the industry is the indiscriminate use of quacks thus turning training into one of the commonest and frequently abused settlement-syndrome items of patronage to ‘friends’ and ‘retired’ colleagues. This trend has continued because of lack of knowledge, and also due to intellectual laziness of some practitioners or lack of a HR agenda deriving from the corporate strategy where learning expectations and outcomes are quantifiable, well documented and a very high KPI (key performance indicator) item in performance management.
The number one law is the Law of the Teacher or Manager or Performance coach and it says teachers or trainers must have both knowledge and experience in the subject they are teaching. You’ve got to convince your audience you know what you are talking about. It’s never enough to just ‘download’ and move on. Trust me, your participants, learners, employees or audience place so much value on knowing that the stuff they get from you are from real life situations or what we call experience, rather than just book knowledge. As a performance coach, if you don’t have it, get the best of those who have it. It is called outsourcing.
Law number two is the Law of the Learner – learners, students, or delegates must pay attention to what is being taught. Performance coaches, facilitators, and trainers help learners to pay attention by being creative with the use of appropriate ‘diversionary’ tactics like games, exercises, syndicate discussions, video clips, etc. They are ever alert to arrest any appearance of ‘presenteeism’ in class. We had earlier defined ‘presenteeism’ as the wandering art of being here and yet not here either in thought or physically. Your audience is thus learning without making a great deal of effort to concentrate on the learning process. Breaks and refreshments are also provided for longer sessions. After all, Epictetus said what is learned without pleasure is forgotten without remorse.
Law number three is the Law of the Language. Simply put, this law stipulates that training must be conducted in plain, intelligent, understandable language especially for the learner to comprehend what is being taught. Otherwise it is a waste of money, time, energy and other resources. Basic principles of communication must be observed and fulfilled – a message goes forth, received, decoded, and feedback received. As we boldly say when staking our reputation, if the learner has not learned, that is, received, understood and commit to applying his/her learning, the trainer or performance coach has not performed.
Law number four is the Law of the training session – training must be tied to a frame of reference that participants can understand. Any new materials must be linked to something they are familiar with, such as an experience, a related topic, or a mastered process. We do a disservice to our audience when we fail to situate our examples in a relevant manner to their operating environment. That is talking over their heads. Even if your organisation is a global entity, each OpCo (operating countries) still has its peculiarities, its political economy and its socio-cultural idiosyncrasies. One of the reasons a good friend of mine, Dr Charles Ugwu steadfastly counsels for ‘best fits’ over and above ‘best practices’ in his sessions.
Law number five is the Law of the training process and it posits that the best learning process challenges trainees, employees, associates, participants to study for themselves. Performance coaches and impactful trainers do not just hand over ready-made information. Participants are challenged pre-training, and may be during training depending on duration, to search out some truths on the subject matter. In BezaleelConsulting, this forms part of our pre-conference resources and graduate development modules. By the time the training proper kicks in, our audience is no longer entirely at the novice level on some of the modules. In turn, a performance coach trainer makes the materials colourful, even in one colour, presentable, readable, and exciting enough to stimulate participants to seek out, understand, and master the information. As such, these resources would be much more memorable than if just dumped on them somehow.
Law number six is the Law of the learning process – this law stipulates that resource materials must be applicable to, and apply-able on the job, and employees or trainees must know how to apply them, only then is training effectiveness switched on. You would agree with me that some of the problems of our tertiary education in this part of the world could be traced to curriculum and learning that are not relevant to the business world. Winning organisations keep spending millions to re-train our graduates in their numerous Graduate Development Programmes. However, a team lead or manager who is desirous of raising her game to the level of a performance coach would help associates apply new knowledge through various channels like team refresher courses – quick sessions of sharing and resolving difficulties experienced while applying new knowledge.
Such sessions are avenues to discuss problems encountered while applying learning; input and ideas generated that may improve subsequent curricula, etc. With the use of electronic devices, pocket notepads and stick up notes, daily logs and journals, trainees and employees are encouraged to log or record circumstances and events evolving while applying their learning. In the eighties, we used ‘Apex Mill’ pocket notebooks, you dare not be caught without one in your pocket at all times. The world has moved on, this generation now uses stick up notes and electronic gadgets to record incidences. There are other channels available for managers who are interested in developing subordinates such as what we call ‘course-wares’ – laminated cards with important notes to keep them afresh in employees’ minds.
To be continued… Shalom.
Acknowledgement/Sources of Resources for this article:
- BezaleelConsulting/Olusegun Mojeed: A compendium of over 25 years of manuscripts of my thesis and lecture series in Talent Management and People Matters (unpublished yet), BezaleelConsulting Group Library bezaleelconsultingrw.com
- Jerry W. Gilley & Nathaniel W. Boughton: Stop Managing, Start Coaching, Irwin Professional Publishing, 1996
- Foursquare Gospel Church: Sunday School Workers-In-Training/CDC 3 Manual