The role of Learning and Development professionals continues to expand. According to LinkedIn’s 2019 Workplace Learning Report, employees are growing more interested in training and increased budgets and executive support are paving the way for talent developers to play an even more strategic role in the business.
Even with growing budgets, the responsibility of developing employees cannot be placed solely on one department. If you want to create a true learning culture at your organization, L&D professionals need to extend beyond their dedicated training staff. Make a long-term impact on your company’s success by empowering others to take an active role in employee development.
The relationship between a manager and employee has a major influence on that employee’s workplace engagement, so working with team leaders is a great place to start.
How will you get your managers on board? Here are some suggestions to get you started.
Four Tips to Equip Managers with the Tools to Coach
1. Work together to create a plan
Talk to managers about what their team is experiencing—what’s going well and where there are opportunities for growth. The manager likely has a sense of where individual team members could improve and what skills they would like to develop. As the L&D professional, you can help assess their needs and pull from your expertise to make recommendations.
Perhaps the team is adopting a new software and would like training to gain confidence. Or maybe the team could benefit from workshops that target specific challenges like building trust or strengthening performance. By engaging the leader in the conversation, you can come up with more personalized solutions for employees and ensure manger buy-in.
2. Provide follow-up activities after a training
Without follow-up sessions and practical – even guided – opportunities for employees to apply their learnings, it’s hard to change behavior. Choose programs that provide resources for continued learning such as implementation tips, worksheets and exercises.
Instead of trying to schedule additional sessions with the team, provide managers with follow-up activities to lead with their staff. Based on the manager’s preferences, you could offer a selection of options to choose from or you could share the activities over the course of the weeks or months following the training.
3. Deliver tools to help managers interpret the needs of their team
If a manager has a strong understanding of their team members’ work styles, they can coach employees in a more effective manner. Give your leaders tips to help reach their staff.
Use a tool like Emergenetics® to gain self-awareness and better understand the ways colleagues and direct reports prefer to think and behave. With this insight, you can provide managers with different approaches to address specific challenges.
For example, if a team is experiencing change, give managers strategies to help their team members successfully navigate the transition based on individual preferences.
Tips Through the Attributes
Analytical: Needs to research or understand how change came about
Strategy: Provide data that supports the decision
Structural: Prefers to develop a plan with thorough steps to create workable solutions
Strategy: Provide as many details about the transformation as possible
Social: Processes transition through personal stories
Strategy: Ask how they feel about the development
Conceptual: Relates transformation to other experiences
Strategy: Provide a big picture description of the change
First-Third: Prefers to process internally
Strategy: Create space for introspection
Third-Third: Prefers to process externally
Strategy: Create space for dialogue
First-Third: May ensure agreement within team before pushing forward
Strategy: Provide individuals time to gradually adapt to the change when possible
Third-Third: May address conflicts quickly to accelerate the pace of the change
Strategy: Recognize the need to resolve conflict promptly
First-Third: Wants reasons behind the development
Strategy: Provide information that explains why the shift is important
Third-Third: May continue to suggest more modifications throughout process
Strategy: Communicate which changes are final and which are open to modification
Delivering reference tools that managers can easily access will help them gain confidence and skill as they improve their ability to individualize coaching.
4. Get employees involved in the coaching process
The responsibility of training can extend beyond managers. Leaders can empower their team members to be a part of the coaching process as well by leaning on their peers.
Build skills by pairing up teammates to help each other through a stretch assignment or to coach one another on an area of growth.
Here are a few tips you can offer to managers to help them guide peer coaching:
- Share the purpose of the process.
- Ask each individual to identify one skill they would like to build in the next 21 days.
- Provide instructions to clarify the peer coach’s role in the process.
- Arrange for check-in points throughout the 21 days.
- Schedule a meeting on the 21st day to assess the process and recommend changes.
By giving employees the opportunity to coach one another, they are able leverage their strengths, build new talents as well as gain valuable management experience.
With the growing expectations for Learning & Development teams as well as increasing opportunities to weave education into business initiatives, the responsibility for employee growth should be a collaborative effort. Empower your managers to expand the learning beyond the training room and maximize the potential of your employees and organization.
Want to learn more about building a learning culture at your organization? Fill out the form below to connect with an Emergenetics team member today.