Over the last ten years, my main job has been to train employees at start-ups on a number of themes at work, such as leadership and creativity. I observed skills developing before my eyes in participants who listened to shared theories and worked on practical exercises. However, for me and my L&D team, it has always been difficult to prove the learning achieved and thus to demonstrate the return on investment of our training courses. My pain was eased when I realised that coaching is in fact a much more effective method of human resources development, and is even more appreciated by employees. I will explain why.
Post-training amnesia vs. Long-term results
Rarely, when I said that my profession is psychologist-trainer, was I told “I have attended such a training and it has changed my life”. In other words, I was told “I have attended such and such a training and it has changed my life”. was sometimes a little embarrassed for fear of being judged in connection with this scourge. In order to remedy potential criticism, I did everything I could to run training sessions with strong interactions where the link with the participants was strong. Despite these efforts, from one training course to another, it is easy to venture into another learning experience and stop applying the knowledge previously learned.
In cognitive psychology, the study of memory has long been considered the most problematic. Forgetfulness begins quickly after a training course and the ability to remember then gradually declines over time. Research therefore recommends reviewing what you have learned four or five times: right after a training course, in the evening, a week later, and the following month. But who really does this? This correlation between memory and time was well described by the Ebbinghaus curve more than a century ago.
However, coaching has the capacity to transcribe learning and the follow-up of objectives over time thanks to the coach who has a reminder role. He or she redirects conversations to the development plan. To engage seriously in one’s development, it is more effective and enjoyable to do so with a human person than an “I understood” box to tick in the case of e-learning modules.
Training by facility vs. In-depth work
The training has the advantage of being conducted in a group setting for greater impact, but this allows some participants to “take it easy” or those who are more motivated may not get the trainer’s attention they need. Training is rarely tailored to individual needs or built on the realities of the work. Training courses quickly become obsolete, which meant that I had to re-evaluate them on a regular basis. Yet the French market has more than 63,000 training organizations according to DARES. So why such a craze despite the limits?
Coaching, on the other hand, allows the person receiving it to talk only about his or her own objectives and to have the coach’s full attention. Moreover, did you know that the quality of the relationship between the coach and the coachee is the strongest predictor of coaching success?
I have met many colleagues and friends who were not open to the idea of using a coach for fear of change. Indeed, the effectiveness of coaching brings about change and we know that the unknown is scary. These people would have greatly needed to start this work to address their personal issues but it required them to go deeper.
“We can either change the world or change ourselves. The second option is the more difficult of the two. “(Mark Twain, Writer)
So is this the end of the training? No. To develop your employees, it is imperative to ask yourself how the benefits of coaching can become a competitive advantage. For example, as part of a manager training programme, adding coaching modules is a good idea to make the learning more solid and to engage individuals on the beautiful path of leadership. This was highlighted already more than 20 years ago when researchers (Olivero and co, 1997) increased leadership training to thirty-one managers, followed by eight weeks of individual coaching. The results of this study show that training combined with coaching sessions increased the productivity of these managers by 88%; compared to 22.4% without coaching. In fact, more recently other researchers (Rekalde, Landeta and co, 2017) have revealed in their study that among all competency development methods, executive coaching is the most effective for behavioural change.
In my experience, coaching has often been the preferred initiative in the programmes I have been building. Participants demanded more, as did their managers. Coaching often brings an “aha moment” / revelations because it is more focused on individuals, their professional context and their needs. This is why my interventions as a Coach Strengths Finder are more appreciated and better evaluated than my trainings.
Why I joined CoachHub as a Behavioral Scientist
Joining CoachHub made sense for me. We offer adapted and tailor-made coaching programmes as a complement or not to existing training courses. This allows you to solidify your learning and invest in the objectives of the individuals with greater security. All of this is done online and thanks to artificial intelligence to ensure better coach-coached compatibility in a world where digital is becoming essential.
Olivero, G., Bane, K. D., & Kopelman, R. E. (1997). Executive coaching as a transfer of training tool: Effects on productivity in a public agency. Public personnel management, 26(4), 461-469.
Rekalde, I., Landeta, J., Albizu, E., & Fernandez-Ferrin, P. (2017). Is executive coaching more effective than other management training and development methods?. Management Decision.
XING Coaches + Trainer (2018). Coaching: Erfolgreiches Instrument der Personalentwicklung?. 1-18.
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