The Progress Coaching Blog

    9 Attributes Required for Training & Coaching Success

    July 21, 2015 Posted by : Tim Hagen
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    Training leaders and their staffs know it’s tough when we get employees who need to attend training but are not in the right frame of mind to embrace the training. So often, training is evaluated in terms of did the instructor know the material, did the course meet expectations, etc. I think the industry needs to start evaluating and implementing guidelines for learners and their responsibility when receiving training and / or coaching. A person who does not like their job will not be as engaged a learner as someone who does love their job. An employee who lacks motivation or attitude will not retain content as aggressively as someone who possesses a positive attitude and are self-motivated. We are so focused on the delivery and content the evaluation process tends to be focused on training departments and their staffs. I think it would be very interesting to evaluate learners, their attentiveness, their grasp of content, their willingness to learn, etc. We share in the responsibility so the evaluation should as well.

    Now training departments are being asked to get managers engaged in the process of coaching and rightly so, but managers will face the same challenge training departments do. The employee must share in the responsibility to learn. Every manager and coach knows the daily struggle of scheduling their coaching sessions. “Today I have to talk to Mark about handling angry customers, and then I have a coaching session with Jen about up-selling and cross selling, then I need to find an article for Brian to read about customer service, etc.” The list continues, every day coaching each employee in different areas, trying to improve their skills overall. These managers are only coaching to the targeted skill or performance areas. These areas are important, however, there is another set of Attributes that can and need to be coached. We call these the Foundational Attributes.


    The Foundational Attributes are concepts like motivation, attitude, and feedback acceptance, to name a few, which help lay the base for an employee work. Coaching these Foundational Attributes helps employees to gain confidence, understanding, and skills to manage problems and projects in the workplace all on their own. Improving an employee’s Foundational Attributes is like developing the foundation, once that is done, an employee is ready to be coached in the targeted areas and will better receive, retain, and utilize the coaching they obtain.
    There are 9 Foundational Attributes, attitude, confidence, connectivity, engagement, feedback, motivation, progress, relationships, and self-development. Each of these is a learning barriers, an employee’s strength or weakness in each category can enable or disable an employee from higher productivity. An employee who excels in each principle is an employee who excels at his or her job. An employee who struggles with certain Attributes may have difficulty reaching their goals, progressing, or fitting in to the company.

    The 9 Foundational Attributes are all related. When you coach to one, you improve multiple. For example, one story that represents the Foundational Attributes is a young sales rep our company coached years ago. The sales person’s results were extremely low and I noticed the employee possessed a very negative attitude as well as was ostracized from the rest of the team. He was an outsider. The first month of coaching I had him perform random acts of kindness for his teammates. The manager initially was none too pleased when in fact the teammates started to accept the salesperson. Sales went up dramatically but the manager and I never addressed the targeted skill areas during the first few months of coaching. We coached to his attitude as well as his relationships within the workplace which certainly gave him greater confidence, engagement, and overall connectivity to the company as a whole.

    Attitude: This means attitude towards work, towards other employees, toward the company, etc. An employee’s attitude sets the tone for the rest of their work, and a bad attitude can lead to less than exceptional work. Increasing an employee’s attitude helps to improve their relationships, connectivity, confidence, feedback acceptance, and progress.

    Confidence: A lack of confidence means there is a fear, the only way to get over this fear is with practice and positive reinforcement. When an employee’s confidence goes up, their motivation, engagement, attitude, and progress go up with it. They feel empowered and ready to accomplish whatever task they have and to do it well.

    Connectivity: This refers to an employee’s connection to their job, their teammates, their boss, and to their organization. Connectivity is essential for employees to stay motivated and achieve their goals. When you improve connectivity, it also builds motivation, relationships, confidence and progress.

    Engagement: This one is big. When an employee is engaged, the results are limitless. An engaged employee produces outstanding work and continually makes progress. In the Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends research of 2014, 78% of business leaders rated engagement as extremely important. Engagement leads to improved self-development, relationships, relationships, attitude and progress.

    Feedback Acceptance: Coaching is about feedback, without feedback employees would not know what they are doing well and what they need to change. The goal of feedback is for it to be received in a way that the employee gains something from it. Feedback by itself is useless, but feedback that is accepted and applied to a task or situation can make a huge difference. When an employee is able to accept feedback in a positive and helpful way, they can improve their motivation, confidence, self-development and progress.

    Motivation: This is another big one. When an employee is motivated there isn’t anything they can’t do. An employee who is motivated is ready to take on the world. When employees are motivated they get more done, and overall, they do a better job. Coaching an employee to increase their motivation also increases their confidence, feedback acceptance, self-development, engagement, and progress.

    Progress: You may have noticed that progress has been mentioned in every principle so far, and, spoiler, it will be in the ones to follow as well. Progress is a result of the improvement of each of the other Foundational Attributes. The purpose of coaching is progress, we coach employees to help them progress toward their goals, which helps the company progress toward its goal. Progress is also the number one motivator, everyone wants to improve. Progress is a Foundational principle because it is the result of the increase in each of the other Foundational principle, and when someone coaches to increase progress, each of the Foundational Attributes increases as well.

    Relationships: This one is a little different from the rest; this is more focused on an employee’s relationship with their teammates and with their manager. It may seem less important, but if you think about it, if an employee has one bad relationship can negatively affect the work they do with that person, lower their progress, their motivation, and their attitude. Now they are low in four of the Foundational Attributes and are producing work that is less than their best. Having good relationships can increase motivation, feedback acceptance, engagement, connectivity, and progress.

    Self-Development: If an employee is not invested in themselves, then how can you as a manager invest in them? Coaching to increase and encourage self-development is vital to the company and to the employee. Increased self-development can lead to higher confidence, engagement, motivation, feedback acceptance, and progress.

    Once an employee has a strong background in the Foundational Attributes, they are ready to be coached in the performance areas. These Attributes allow employees to be more accepting of training, more understanding of coaching, and more willing to put both to use. With these Attributes employees are enabled and excited to reach their goals.


    Learn About Our System That Measures The 9 Foundational Attributes: click here

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    About Author

    Tim Hagen
    Tim Hagen

    Tim Hagen founded Progress Coaching, a Training Reinforcement Partner Company, in 1997. His entrepreneurial career began in college leading to positions in sales, sales management, and sales training for small and large corporations, and eventually ownership of several training companies. Tim is often a keynote speaker at companies teaching the value of coaching and conversations in the workplace. He possesses a unique combination of hands-on experience, academics, and innovative insight to solve the industry’s most common challenges specific to workplace performance. Tim holds a bachelor’s degree in Adult Education and Training from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

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