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Archive for January, 2016

There are lots of coaching programs and approaches, though I suspect that many of them overlap quite a bit. But when I hear that a coaching program “isn’t working,” I generally wonder if it really has anything to do with the quality of the program itself.

I suspect we’re dealing with implementation and pull-through issues, leading inevitably to a lack of coaching quality where the rubber meets the road (out in the field).

Quality pic

Improving coaching practices involves changing habits, not giving out more information or enforcing new acronyms. A half-day coaching training session won’t automatically translate to productive behaviors in the field.

It seems to me that a combination of two things will best lead to an increase in coaching quality:

  1. A data-driven analysis to diagnose the current state of practice, and to define “what good looks like” – along with a prescription to move from A to B (one of my consultant-partners specializes in this).
  2. A structured and realistic roll-out/reinforcement plan that ensures peer-reinforced improvement as the coaching approach is implemented.

I had a chance to interact deeply with one of my established Selling/Coaching partners about this crucial element of reinforcement – they feel that it really is the key to success with any coaching (or selling!) program.

How has your company been doing with improving coaching quality? Do you have some ideas or best practices to share? Send me an e-mail at AskSteve@impactiviti.com and let’s compare notes.

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The StrengthsFinder approach has gained quite a bit of (deserved) traction in the corporate arena – in fact, it was the “Now, Discover Your Strengths” book that has shaped my entire approach to business and career consulting.

But some companies seem to take a “one-and-done” approach – an assessment and/or workshop to identify strengths, but little or no pull-through shaping how people understand their own styles, and manage their teams.

In particular, first line sales managers often struggle to effectively build teams, coach their reps, and increase overall engagement. We provide the standard coaching and management training – but does it work well?

In my mind, strengths assessment joined to a long-term, personalized, sustained leadership approach seems optimal – but is anyone actually doing this? This gets beyond isolated training events, into strategic culture change (see Gallup article on 12 Elements of Engagement).

strengths

If you’re using StrengthFinders (effectively, or maybe NOT effectively yet!) for management/leadership development in a biopharma company, I’d love to discuss it with you. Shoot me an e-mail at AskSteve@impactiviti.com and let’s compare notes.

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In my discussions with dozens of training clients over the past year, one theme that came up regularly was the difficulty of finding long-term vendor/partners for POA meetings.

Here are the kinds of concerns I’ve heard:

“A training vendor will start off well, but then things get stale after a few quarters, and we move on to someone else.”

“Our partners do great with modules and workshops, but the POA training is often a mixed bag.”

“We’re not seeing much creativity.”

I’ve wondered about this problem/opportunity for quite some time, and while I think there are probably multiple factors at play, here is one thing that may be at the root: fundamentally, POA training is driven by last-minute scrambling.

Most of our training projects, which involve long cycles of design (including instructional design), review, and implementation, require a set of skills and practices that are more systematic and long-term-ish. But POA meetings are often marketing-driven, and marketers are used to a different agency type of relationship that regularly involves rapid change and quick turn-around. And a lot of stuff is going down in the couple weeks before a very hard deadline.

Are training vendors equipped for that? I think many are not.

Marketing agency relationships (retained AOR) and training vendor relationships (project-driven) run on very different business models. I wonder if this isn’t why it’s difficult for vendors to succeed with POA training.

Maybe there are some other reasons as well. What are your thoughts? What are you doing to make your POA training effective?

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