When you consider L&D in the workplace, it covers a broad remit of skills and behaviour that people want to learn, develop and do more with. There’s never a one size fits all that works for everyone in the business. There’s just too many variables to try and account for. It’s awful to call people variables, but it is true. A person’s mood, their personality, how they learn, how much time they have, if the training is relevant, opportunity to practise, company culture, all of this and more impacts the way a person learns, and what they want from learning.
And on top of that day to day tasks, objectives, projects, meetings, last minute work, and we face the age old problem of not having enough time to invest in L&D. So let’s assume all of these things are working together. Let’s assume you have the opportunities, and the resources to take part in learning and development. It’s a combination of events that enhance a person’s learning. Reading, discussing, analysing, criticism, feedback, coaching, writing. This all helps to keep the mind ticking over about your own development.
And it’s the coaching piece I’d like to focus on. In recent months I’ve had the benefit of working with David Goddin and Christine Livingstone in a professional capacity. I know these guys through Twitter, and have built a relationship with them over time. With both, in different capacities, I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time with them and reflect on the issues I had. So what is it they helped me to do?
Well, to ask myself the questions I hadn’t given myself the opportunity to ask myself. They listened to what I was facing, and asked guiding questions that helped me think about what I was doing and what I was thinking. They offered feedback on what I was saying, on their perceptions of what I was describing and kept getting me to think about what this means for now and for the future.
And what was the outcome of these talks? Clarity of thought. For that’s what I believe Coaching helps you to arrive at. Whatever that clarity of thought looks like, that’s what it provides. For me, that clarity of thought was on knowing what my next steps need to be. And that’s powerful stuff. It’s not as simple as – go talk to Bob. It’s about your whole attitude, beliefs, desires, motivations and purpose for being. That’s what drives the action. You make a decision about what you want to achieve and how you want to do it. And it’s no understatement to say it’s powerful.
After the conversations and since I have been motivated to do more. Although they may have focused on one particular problem or issue I was facing, the learning I took from them was further reaching. I could see that my decisions I wanted to take to tackle those problems, could easily work for other areas of my life that I wanted to see something change. And that wasn’t after some time had passed. That was while I was thinking about and discussing the problem at hand with my coach.
I’ve always advocated coaching as a key management technique and firmly believe this is the best way for people to progress and develop at work. As a personal development tool it is equally valuable. The trick is always to find a coach that is compatible with your style and you can build a rapport with in order for it to be effective.