The learner has to take part in that equation and so does the leader of the learner. As a matter of fact, that leader can have an incredible impact in helping people grow…more than they may know.
The challenge is to provide the leader of the learning with that information so they understand their role. As learning professionals, we may need to be very direct in telling them that they are actually the linchpin to helping their employees develop. Too often, the managers believe that it is just up to the employee and if there is little employee development over time, it is the fault of the employee or the training program.
We have an opportunity, really a responsibility, to educate and train managers to be effective coaches. This may be a role that they have not performed often, and if they have, maybe they have not done it very well.
1. Language. Help them see themselves as coaches. Use the word coach. Explain what a good coach does and what those behaviors look like.
2. Accountability. Put mechanisms in place to help these coaches actually do the work. A simple action planning document or a “coach’s journal” are helpful tools.
3. Communication. Help the coach to understand the importance of communicating their role to employees. They need to explain to employees what they will be doing, how, when and why. If a manager just starts coaching an employee without discussing what is happening, the employee may take it as criticism or punishment.
In the 70-20-10 equation where 20% is coaching, that’s a big investment. It can easily fail. Learning professionals have a responsibility to make sure it’s a win for employees and the company.