I have often felt that coaching in organisations is perceived as the preserve of leaders, senior managers or identified ‘talent’.

Less emphasis is placed on using coaching as an everyday resource to ensure that the skills and behaviours learned in training sessions are maximised, and that productivity and performance increases.

Coaching complements almost every form of training and development activity there is.

Whilst significant budget is often invested in technical and other training, a parallel funding of developing coaching skills will draw much more out of those undertaking technical training and provide more effective use of expensive skill and behaviour development.

Research shows that the productivity benefits of doing so are dramatic.

Quadruple benefits of training with coaching

A CIPD Survey has shared that 93% of HR Practitioners stated coaching and mentoring are key mechanisms for transferring learning from training courses back to the workplace. Oliverio et al have also showed an 88% increase in productivity after coaching, compared to 22% without it.

Based on this compelling evidence, we HAVE to get training and coaching working better together. Yet, in too many organisations it still isn’t happening.

Experience as an L&D professional tells me that managers often make requests for or approve training for their employees, but they do not themselves take responsibility for following up and supporting the employees and ensuring greater productivity from them once they return from the training. Often they lack the skills to do so.

Coaching in focus

To demonstrate and enable coaching to have a role in increasing transfer of skills and productivity, there has to be a more universal approach.

Organisational focus

  • Promote the interdependent nature of training and coaching by including specific focus on transfer of learning and productivity within training and coaching strategies.
  • Modify organisational policies to reinforce productivity and performance improvement, with coaching as the key enabler.
  • Have productivity and performance key themes within coaching programmes.
  • Introduce coaching as a prerequisite where training is of a high value.

Manager focus

  • Where financial investment in a training intervention is significant, work with the line manager to recognise the need to coach the person post-training.
  • Prepare managers for their ‘transfer coaching’ role by offering coach training for managers specifically focusing on this area.
  • Run a coaching pilot where several people from a training session are coached. Suitable targets are areas like sales and customer service. Leadership and change are ideal themes. Combining learning and performance outcomes during the pilot will provide clear data and evidence.
  • Make this aspect of a manager’s role a key part of their leadership and management development.
  • Make transfer of learning an objective within manager’s performance role.
  • Coach managers to enable them to provide assignments which will directly enable them to transfer skills and improve their own productivity.

Employee focus

  • Build the concept of coaching support into training sessions, providing support for the learners.
  • Overtly advertise and push coaching support services.
  • Brief internal coaches to look locally for those who have received training to have ‘water cooler’ conversations with them and see what difference it has made and how they apply it.
  • Use action learning as a tool to explore application of learning.
  • Provide team coaching for groups who have been through specific training to explore group action and support.
  • Make coaching an integral business activity

So coaching is not just a ‘nice to have’ accessory. We have been ‘training’ as a concept for years and how much further ahead are we? Instead, view coaching as an incumbent and integral business activity for employee and organisational performance and productivity. Barbara Greene sums it up well:

“A company that is intentional about integrating a coaching culture as a comprehensive and enterprise-wide approach has the potential to move its entire workforce toward peak performance. The success of one manager is exponentially multiplied. Employees at all levels accept ownership and accountability for their work product and relationships. They require less daily and direct supervision from managers as they develop their skills and strive to reach their full potential.

“This propels the company to achieve its top potential due to the focus, positive energy, and attitude of all its workers. Every employee is committed to success.”


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