Business has become more competitive and complex. People need to have broad, deep knowledge across many competencies and skills to reach peak performance. Teams need continuous enablement and corporate coaching.
However, individuals and managers don’t have large amounts of time to devote to learning and coaching. And to make matters worse, people are burning out faster than ever, resulting in high turnover and costly onboarding. A recent Gallup poll of more than 1 million employed U.S. workers concluded that 75 percent of workers voluntarily left their jobs because of their bosses — not the position itself. This shows how critical it is for employees to continuously feel supported and developed by their manager.
The best leaders in any profession care about the people they lead and are committed to becoming strong coaches to help their team and individual employees reach their full potential.
But what, exactly, should managers be coaching their team members on? And how can they best measure the results of their time and effort? By building a culture of success, brick by brick, through corporate coaching by focusing on the ABCs — attitudes, behaviors and competencies — that will drive the company culture forward.
Develop a coaching conversation tailored for personal development by focusing on knowledge, skills and behavior gaps. Shift focus away from the result and encourage people to work on the controllable and proactive behaviors that will yield the ideal outcome.
As football coach Bill Walsh said: “Concentrate on what will produce results rather than on the results, the process rather than the prize.”
But when you’re managing a team of people with varying strengths and skill sets, creating and implementing a results-oriented coaching plan can be difficult. This is where data-driven learning technology like best-practice microlearning solutions can provide organizations with a serious competitive advantage. They deliver an intuitive, real-time data set to coaching managers that informs them who to coach, what to coach, and when to coach. This data streamlines corporate coaching and makes it more meaningful when it can address the unique knowledge gaps, behaviors, and competencies of each employee.
But not all microlearning platforms are created equal, and not all managers have had formal training or are natural coaches. Many managers come up through the ranks as good performers in their field and are promoted. Best-practice microlearning helps “coach the coach” by identifying proficiency gaps and learning engagement metrics for each employee. This guides managers to shape personalized, timely and objective conversations with their team members as these insights surface. Plus, it can be very powerful to evaluate employees against their peers by identifying cohorts that may benefit from targeted coaching or re-training in order to lift the overall proficiency and performance of the team.
Having detailed information about participating employees’ performance enables managers to coach within the daily flow of work, as well as at the next performance appraisal or even the next one-to-one. Frequently encouraging team members who are doing well, supporting those who need help in specific areas, or recognizing employees who are improving can meaningfully impact day-to-day performance and professional development.
It’s also important to note that learning and development is only effective it if truly engages the learner. If a team member is not participating in the learning experience, it may indicate 1) disengagement, 2) that extra support is needed, or 3) an employee who feels they have already mastered the skills and knowledge needed to do their job. Whatever the reason, by surfacing learning engagement insights, a manager knows to at least start a conversation and work with the employee to create a unique learning and engagement path.
To get a first-hand look at how a real-time, data-driven microlearning solution works, let’s take a look at this case study from Qstream.
An organization’s sales team participated in a series of L&D initiatives covering four areas: competitive responsiveness, competitive differentiation, messaging proficiency, and product proficiency. The learning took place on the sales reps’ phones or within their CRM through scenario-based Q&A challenges that engaged them in a fun and interactive way — like a game or competition.
Who to Coach
Sticking with the above example, the below proficiency heatmap shows individual and team results from a Qstream relating to the aforementioned areas.
Individually, a quick glance shows that Rose Peake needs help in all skills; she only has a 22 percent proficiency rating across all four areas. It could be that Rose is new and is still to go through sales onboarding, or that there is serious underperformance issue. Either way, managers have the insights to know she needs support.
What to Coach
Rose struggled in all four areas, so she needs the most coaching individually. But overall, the team showed low proficiency on questions and scenarios regarding competitive responsiveness, netting only a 50 percent proficiency rating and indicating a key topic where more coaching, or possibly even re-training, is needed.
When to Coach
This Qstream program took about six weeks, with participants receiving questions three times a week. The ongoing answers to the 18 questions in the Qstream challenge helped the managers understand in real-time throughout the course how their team members were doing, and could take immediate action as soon as Qstream triggered a coaching recommendation. By coaching within the daily flow of work, the employee can benefit from putting that new found knowledge into practice that very same day, again shaping the behaviors needed to form longterm habits.
In this scenario, a manager could shape a more meaningful one-on-one conversation with Rose about how to improve her sales proficiency. Similarly, during the next team call, the manager could have brought up competitive responsiveness as a refresher session or trigger an action to the team to refresh their competitor knowledge. Alternatively, the manager may want to use the data to gain support from sales enablement and training to run a more detailed Qstream to specific improve competitor responsiveness.
As this example shows, adding microlearning solution to complement other L&D initiatives arms managers and team leaders with data to Always Be Coaching efficiently their team’s Attitudes, Behaviors, and Competencies.
The ABCs are one of five microlearning principles that can impact employee behavior and, ultimately, business outcomes. Register for this free webinar to learn more.