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Coaching is an underused staff development tool.
Most workplaces already have informal coaching taking place and it’s essential for learning. Everything from managers who review and critique their teams’ work, to peers who use their coworkers to bounce ideas and questions off of counts as a form of coaching. But spending time putting together a more formalized coaching program might be beneficial to your teams, particularly as a supplement to more rigorous and standardized training programs.
Mentorship and coaching have some similarities. Both involve person-to-person learning. Mentorship, however, is more about one person serving as an expert and guiding someone through specific goals, usually connected to career advancement. Coaching is usually used as-needed – a resource that can be sought out by many and provided by many. Coaching can be as simple as a quick Zoom walk-through about how to use a new publishing template.
Coaching is cost-effective because it’s simple. There’s no need to build out programs or lengthy processes. The only thing necessary for coaching is someone with knowledge or skills connecting with someone who desires that knowledge.
The knowledge that many of your employees need is probably already held by existing members of your team. It likely wouldn’t make sense for your organization to stop using a fully developed onboarding system and instead have employees only shadow another team member for weeks. But it’s possible that for some positions in some industries, a combination of the two (formalized courses and informal, hands-on coaching) can be helpful; utilizing the knowledge base of your team to fill the gaps and offer insights can be a valuable part of your overall learning strategy.
While coaching isn’t the right way to transfer knowledge for every learning scenario (it's unlikely to be a successful replacement for eLearning courses in an age of fully remote teams, for instance), it can play a valuable role in how your teams learn and develop.
Get in touch with us for a free consultation so we can discuss your training needs and identify what goals should be driven by more structured learning and what team mentors and coaches can support.