The moment a manager mentions role playing, most employees roll their eyes and prepare for the boring and possibly embarrassing moments to come. Rarely is role playing viewed as the effective and useful coaching tool that it is. When set up and used correctly, role playing is one of the most helpful ways to train and develop your employees.
What do you need to have good role play session?
-Make sure that you have a list of different role playing scenarios, including different variations of your product, different attitudes of the customer or client, etc.
-Have a checklist of things that should be accomplished during the role play for the observers to follow and take notes on.
-Have a pre-determined amount of time afterwards for review.
-Make sure it is an environment where people feel comfortable and aren't afraid to make mistakes.
How often should role playing occur?
Role Playing should be schedualed as a bi-weekly or monthly practice.
Look at what athletes do as far as their practice schedules and take your cues from them. All athletes practice almost every day, but once every week or two, they will have a mock competition where they practice exactly what they will be doing at a real meet or game. Basketball players will have scrimmages, runners and swimmers will have days where they go through their events as they would in a competition. They do this to not only get a feel of what could happen during their game, race or meet, but to get used to the pressure and correct any mistakes now before the event. This is the same with role playing, it is a realistic practice session that helps to prepare employees for the real thing, and this should be scheduled consistently.
Role playing is an important coaching tool that should be practiced and put to use more often and with more enthusiasm. It helps the employees prepare for what types of situations they may encounter in the real-world.
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