Obviously I am focused on the manager's coaching conversation. The major thing that we need to realize as training and learning professionals is that it takes one conversation with the manager to either support or not support our training and learning initiatives.
Here are the top 4 reasons as witnessed in the last 60 days:
- "Come into my office" - This is the typical engagement manager has with an employee. They bring the employee into the office to provide them constructive feedback or something they need to work on. After great training class are learning initiative this absolutely can make or break a person's ability to retain and apply what was taught. Constructive feedback can resonate with employees especially when they don't agree with it or feel it's coming out of left field.
- The Manager "Here is What you Need to Know" Approach - Managers often lead with what worked for them as a way of coaching when in fact it discounts the employees frustration or their desired way of doing things.
- Feedback Freddie - One of the most common things that occurs with coaching is when managers redefine what coaching really is. They provide continuous feedback without ever asking a question and often walk down the hallway to tell a coworker they just coach somebody. What they really did was just provided a huge bag of feedback.
- "What you need to do is…" - This approach occurs when a manager transfers the ownership of what an employee needs to improve. Yes, the improvement requirement does rest with the employee but this type of statement distances the manager from participating. Most people would be willing to go up a steep hill as long as somebody did it with them.
After training occurs employees go back to their normal workplace. This is where they interact with co-workers and their bosses. Very simple day-to-day conversations can alter the adoption and application of what was taught in a great training class. One of the things we teach in our coaching to confront thoughtfully and professionally program is to maintain a level blood pressure so employees do not read into emotion. For example, if a manager is really frustrated with an employee and it shows that employee will become extremely aware of not only the emotion but what they need to cracked to make sure the managers no longer frustrated with them. This will become their major source of focus. What goes by the wayside? The training and learning!