By Perminus Wainaina
When everyone at the company has a clear understanding of their roles and daily tasks, the company grows. On the flip side, when employees are not certain about what they should do, there will be discord and delay before the employees can get approval to either start or continue with a task.
How do you ensure every employee not only knows what they are supposed to do but are also equipped with the skills to execute the tasks?
Training employees is the most effective way to ensure everyone has the required skills.
What is training and how different is it from coaching?
At the workplace, the terms training and coaching are used interchangeably. However, each is different from the other.
Understanding the difference –and importance, of each of these terms, will help both the organization and the employees.
Training is the educative process for your team on a system, software, skill, or program they are not aware of or have a basic understanding. The induction process for new employees is also considered as training.
The main objective of training is to instill practical knowledge and skills about a particular topic.
For example, if you would like to educate employees on the importance of customer service, the teaching process will be considered as training.
The same applies if you want to train a team of accountants on using accounting software such as QuickBooks.
The main features of training are;
- The focus is on providing new skills or knowledge
- Training often happens in a group setting
- Training follows a procedure or structure
- The objective is to equip the employee to perform a specific task.
Before you hold a training for your team, you should;
1. Understand the training purpose –During the training, you should use phrases such as ‘show me and tell me.’ These phrases will help engage the employees as well as give them practical insight on the topic covered.
2. Understand how adults learn –Adults are motivated to learn when they can clearly see the benefit the training will have. Tie back the learning process to a direct benefit for the employees.
In a previous piece, I covered how you should train adults. Read more about it here.
3. Make it entertaining – training doesn’t always have to be structured like a lecture. Include case studies, practical examples and activities.
4. Prepare adequately –training follows a specific structure. To be effective, ensure you have an in-depth understanding of the lesson. You can also consult a trainer to help you while you’re preparing, or bring in an expert to tackle the training.
What is coaching and why is it important?
Coaching can be described as an ongoing process to help keep employees on track with their tasks. The process involves adding on to the knowledge that the employees already have. In other words, it is a process of brushing up or updating the skills your employees possess.
Coaching is best suited for employees who have the skills and knowledge to perform their tasks but are encountering issues or barriers.
The key features of coaching are;
- They are usually a one-on-one session
- There is no formal structure in coaching
- The main objective is to improve performance
- Facilitates critical-thinking and decision making
How do you ensure you have effective coaching for the employees? Here are two guiding principles
1. Coaching should be a continuous process – some organizations settle for a coaching session once every month or quarterly. However, an effective coaching process should be regular and continuous. You can have a coaching session with an employee once every two weeks, and review their progress, the difficulties they’ve faced, and what you can do to help.
2. Be inquisitive – The best way to figure out where an employee is, and what areas they need coaching in is by asking them questions and probing on the progress made. Ask the employee where he is stuck, what goals he’s set for the coming week, and how he can be better equipped.
At the end of the day, both coaching and training are important to the company. Understanding the difference, however, will help you determine which is needed and which is more effective at a given time and for a particular topic.
Are you looking to train your team on Effective Customer Service, Sales, or another crucial aspect that will drive your organization to the next level? Contact us today for effective training services.
Perminus Wainaina is an experienced HR Practioner with over 15 years experience in executive recruitment and selection, training, performance management, and Kenyan labour laws.
He has consulted for firms such as Safaricom Sacco, Oxfam, Un Women, Pacis Insurance, Windsor Golf, Muthaiga Country Club, etc. Currently, he represents the private sector at KEBS in the HR standardization committee.