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Transfer of learning: a need to do, not a nice to do

The results of training depend on how well learning is transferred back to work.  It’s not a nice to do, but a need to do for clients to see returns on their investment.

All our behavioural programmes are built around Kolb’s learning cycle. Experience tells us that an experiential approach with a strong emphasis on ‘So what?’ ensures that delegates translate learning and insight in to their day-to-day worlds.

But this isn’t enough in itself. Learning on programmes must be hard-wired in to business realities and steps must be taken to encourage learning to be applied and embedded. Engaging line-managers/mentors and equipping them with the skills to coach and support people to achieve their objectives is essential.

Peer coaching and support is also valuable as a more informal and self-managed method. Relationships and precedents can be set on programmes that continue long in to the future. This can also include Action Learning Sets - which, although vary from company to company in terms of their

Providing transfer of learning activities is also important. For behavioural training, these can take many forms. It’s important to provide a variety of options to cater for different learning styles, from simple paper-based exercises, project work, to online methods (of which they are many) to formal/informal coaching.

Although the options and learning are ultimately individual, the parameters must however link back to programme objectives which in turn are ideally hard-wired in to defined behavioural competencies stemming from strategic goals and organisational vision.

So for us, although our primary focus is on the 10 (from the all important 70:20:10 principle), our approach is to start with the 70 and work back through the 20 to establish how and what our 10 needs to deliver.

Transfer of learning for us is about linking learning seamlessly between work realities, colleagues and support, and the training itself.

Our latest newsletter

As organisations respond to the economy, new challenges emerge for ways of working and culture. In our latest newsletter we give an insight into recent work with a client to support managers in carrying forward these changes.

Also in the newsletter, interviewing skills, personal impact, project management, bitesize training, and high performance coaching.

Download our newsletter

Helping managers coach graduates

Corporate graduate development programmes come in many flavours. Size of intake and duration are obvious differences. But there are many more subtle and complex issues that vary from business to business.

Probably one of the most difficult balances an employer has to consider is the extent to which the graduate is there to deliver work for their manager, whilst the manager is there to help the graduate develop. Of course both are true, and they can often be the same thing, but it is a balance that requires skill and attention.

This is further complicated by the need for a line manager to see the graduate develop in a specific role, whilst in many businesses a “rounded graduate” is the ultimate goal of the development programme.

I’ve just come back from delivering a 2-day programme for supporting managers in getting the most from the graduates they manage. By adding this dimension to the graduate development programme, we can support graduates with more sustainable and context specific learning.

Perhaps equally important, we can help managers become much more engaged in the graduate development programme, better equipped to support it, and encouraged by the value the business places in their role.

As well as exploring the specific perspectives of the managers on the programme and getting them to work on these together, we use the GROW model to explore the coaching process.

We also look at behaviour - the application of theory - using 1:1 work with actors on what we call real-play, so managers can experiment with discussing difficult performance issues with real people, gaining valuable personal feedback.

We’ll be meeting the managers again in a few weeks, on the follow up day …

Developing leadership behaviour

Our latest newsletter is packed with topical articles on our work developing effective leadership behaviour for a wide range of clients. Our recent work has ranged from helping graduates make the transition from university to work,supporting first line managers, to inspiring senior business leaders to go the extra mile.

You will find first-hand perspectives on how our clients have found working with us and how delegates have experienced attending our programmes.

There are also articles on:

  • developing high potential leaders
  • the power of coaching
  • graduate induction with a difference
  • ILM accreditation, and
  • emotional intelligence.

Finally, if you’re trying to find a path through all the funding initiatives for training, we’ve included a useful list of websites for you to visit.

View our other newsletters and downloads here

Successful 360 degree feedback implementation

We've been providing and using 360 degree feedback for more years than I would care to remember.

Over this time we've been involved in complex 3rd party tools with reams of data, bespoke 360 which is framed around existing organisational competencies, and generic tools which look at factors common to most people in the work environment.

Of course, each has its place. Generally, my personal preference is for a generic tool with plenty of room for comments by those who are giving the feedback. And this is why:

  • True to the experiential value, reality is better than theory (that's my personal view!). 360 is about what our colleagues actually perceive. Keeping the questions and scoring simple, whilst giving more room for colleagues to provide feedback in their own words greatly increases the depth and relevance of the information.
  • Whilst at times valuable, a 360 tool linked into an organisation's competency framework can be costly to develop, can raise concerns and questions which limit receptivity, and limits the use of the tool for a wider range of development opportunities. A generic tool is quicker and cheaper to implement, is more readily accepted by learners, and can be applied easily to a range of learning programmes.
  • Usability is absolutely key to successful implementation. Keeping it simple makes the tool easier to present to users, to administer, and to interpret. We've often had feedback from clients who have found our implementation of 360 a breath of fresh air after the mire of their previous experience.

Anyway - sermon over.

We've just completed a project where we've used our generic online 360 to deliver feedback and development coaching to some middle/senior managers for one of our private sector clients. We combined the 360 with MBTI and delivered the feedback in 1:1 coaching sessions.

The experience was received really well by participants, and the client was also happy with the implementation and delivery of the project.

Credit where credit is due though: We were very struck by the amount of good quality feedback given by colleagues to each other. The managers who received this feedback found it extremely revealing and as a result were highly motivated to do something about it!

Find out more about online 360 degree feedback here