A Proactive Approach to Coach Training

Over the past 9 months, we have had the pleasure of working with a global client who is training HR professionals to use a coaching approach with their internal clients. So far, we have trained over 100 HR professionals through 5 global trainings, 3 days each.

From the beginning, our sponsors within the company have been very forward thinking. As a way of starting the learning process, the company decided to give each participant a pre-training call, with the purpose being 3-fold:

  1. To get to know each other before the training
  2. To start understanding what coaching is moving forward within the company
  3. To listen for the participant’s natural coaching style and tendencies

What has happened as a result of these calls has been remarkable.  We have indeed gotten acquainted on the calls, which has helped get started smoothly during the classroom training.

Regarding the second purpose, during the calls, we are discussing some key differences between coaching and a more traditional HR style.  We’ve had great comments about what people take away from the calls, including:

  • “This has been so valuable. Haven’t had a pre-training experience before, and it’s really made me think.”
  • “I like learning to ask questions instead of telling others what to do.”
  • “Your comment about going to past really helped me ‘look through the window’ to the solution.  For the future, I don’t really have to know all the background.”
  • “I need to let people think! I don’t need to tell everything to them.  I will need to deal with my impatience.”
  • “The main learning for me is to stand back and shut up, not impose my solutions.  I’m going to need some duct tape!”

In addition, the third purpose for the calls is for the facilitator to listen to each person’s natural coaching style and tendencies in order to give specific feedback on the style.  What has been interesting about this is to hear from participants about the impact of receiving feedback. Most people only get corrective feedback, and there are many others types of feedback that can be useful. Here are some comments from participants:

  • “No one has given me feedback on my style before. It was very helpful.  And, now I understand more about the training.”
  • “The feedback really encourages me and motivates me to be better at coaching.”
  • “Today’s feedback is making me think really hard.”
  • “Your comments about my behavior and conversation style are very important. It’s magic for me.”
  • “No one is giving me this kind of feedback.  I am just told what is wrong.”

What are the learnings so far from the past 9 months?  Two learnings that stand out are that a pre-training call can be helpful at a variety of levels, and that people really value feedback.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could arrange for pre-training calls to start the learning process? They seem to be very helpful. And, we definitely can certainly give feedback more often, especially knowing that the feedback doesn’t have to be corrective in nature.  People thrive on feedback, which is part of coaching.

One thought on “A Proactive Approach to Coach Training

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