Workplace learning. Training. Coaching. Mentoring

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1 Commonwealth of Australia This program has been produced by ForestWorks with the assistance of funding provided by the Australian Government through the Department of Education and Training. These documents can be altered for training purposes only. Workplace learning Having highly skilled, experienced and motivated staff is the key to success in today s competitive environment. Undertaking effective workplace learning provides a number of important benefits. These include: Improved staff morale Improved staff retention Performance improvement Ensuring the business meets its regulatory requirements Building stronger relationships with your staff and enhancing staff loyalty In order to ensure that your workplace learning is effective, you must first decide which of the following activities/relationships need to be developed: Training Training is usually formal and should have well-defined learning objectives. Training can also include many of the types of interaction that are found in a coaching environment, but there is a very strong focus on the trainer being a subject matter expert. The trainer will have extensive experience or knowledge in the subject that is being delivered in the training. It is expected that participants undertaking the training, learn new information or skills from the trainer. This is often referred to as knowledge transfer. How this happens can be very flexible, and good training is never just a speaker standing at the front of the room and lecturing for the whole time. Coaching A coaching relationship occurs when an employee has a specific goal to achieve. The coach is there to help that person meet their goal. A coaching role ensures that the coach is present from the start of the relationship. This relationship can be long term or short term, but it is specific and defined by the goal that is to be reached. Once the goal is met, the relationship is re-evaluated. Mentoring Mentoring is generally an informal relationship between two people. A mentor will do many of the same things as a coach or even someone who is a trainer, but there is no formal obligation on the part of either party. A mentoring relationship often develops gradually from a friendship or a professional association, intensifies as the mentor discovers he has valuable insight and

2 experience to share, and as the person being mentored discovers his desire to learn from the mentor. The two people will at some point recognise the special nature of their relationship, but may not name it. And as life circumstances change, the relationship will gradually de-intensify. It will often turn into a friendship of peers. How might this apply to your retail business? Case Study Gary is a valued member of a local hardware store. He is knowledgeable, experienced, and is a key figure in the leadership team. As the business owner, you recognise his capacity to improve the professional development of younger team members, and want to assist him discover the type of workplace teaching style that best suits him and your staff. You would like to establish a formal role for him in workplace learning program, but are unsure if he would be best as a formal trainer, coach, or mentor. The following pages contain information and activities to assist leaders that are responsible for workplace learning. The contents include the following: Training Tips: Ideas and concepts that may assist your workplace training program. Coaching Tips: Ideas and concepts for becoming a better workplace coach. Mentoring Tips: Ideas and concepts for mentoring team members in the retail environment. 2

3 Tips for effective training 1. Analyse your needs Take the time to carefully analyse your needs when designing your training plan. This will help you choose the right type of training for your requirements. Ask yourself: What am I trying to achieve? 2. Identify skill gaps You can do this by looking at a written job description and comparing the skills the position requires with your employees' current abilities. Understanding where there may be gaps will help you identify the types of training you need. 3. Prioritise Assign the training you'd like to provide into categories. Is it mandatory, or nice-to-have? If it's absolutely required, a training effort becomes imperative. If it reflects an ideal situation that isn't immediately feasible, you'll know to plan for it in the longer term. 4. Identify the best learning style for your targeted audience Determine if your target audience are visual, auditory or kinesthetic learners. Adapt or develop training material that supports these learning styles. 5. Plan and deliver the training Once you have assessed and prioritised the need for training, the next step is to secure what type of training you will use and how you will offer it. There are several factors to consider: o What type of training is available within the organisation? Does the business have the capability to train for the desired outcome internally, or is an external training provider required? o What delivery options are required to achieve the desired outcome? (One-on-one training, group training etc.) o Budget, resources and timeframe. 6. Secure management and staff commitment Before you can execute a training program, you need to have agreement from senior management that training is a priority. This person will need to support the plan fully and agree to the desired outcomes, milestones, costs, dates etc. Employee commitment is also required. Talk to your staff about the goals for the training and why it's important to the business. Most often, employees will respond favourably to your investment in their development and will embrace opportunities to learn new skills. 7. Analyse training efforts and their impact Training can be costly, so you will want to assess its impact. However, sometimes its effect cannot be translated simply into bottom line dollars and cents. Ideally, you might track variables before and after training to verify improvements. If the training was on customer service, the end result may be fewer customer complaints and/or an increase in sales. Training on a new computer system may net fewer errors or quicker 3

4 processing. You may need to review why you sought training to begin with and whether your concerns have been remedied. Obtain either formal or informal feedback from participants. 8. Think long-term Changes may not occur overnight, so it's important to be patient. Training is a long-term investment, and often the benefits are not immediately obvious. However, your efforts in developing your people will help you in many ways. Staff will be more knowledgeable, they'll be more likely to stick around, and your commitment to training will help you earn a reputation as an employer of choice. 4

5 Tips for effective coaching 1. Analyse/identify what is to be achieved Compare current performance against the desired result by using business tools such as sales results, profit and loss reports etc. Identify the staff members gaps or barriers to achieving the desired result. Mutually agree on the desired goal. 2. Identify the best learning style for the staff member Ask or determine the staff members preferred learning style. Adapt or develop material to support the chosen learning style/s. 3. Create an action plan Outline specific events or activities that will assist in achieving the goal. Allocate a timeframe for each action. 4. Review Conduct regular meetings to ensure the completion of actions against the timeframes allocated. Compare improvements against the desired result. 5. Repeat Coaching is the process of continuous improvement and will change and develop as the staff members skills and goals develop. Continue to change or redevelop your action plans to suit further goals that have been identified. 5

6 Tips to being an effective mentor 1. Be a positive role model Good mentors are well respected by their mentees and should therefore always act in a manner that upholds that trust and respect. Good mentors will also be inclusive of their mentee when it comes to extending invitations to participate in events that will enhance the mentees abilities. 2. Be genuine A mentoring relationship is a very personal relationship and is served well by the mentor understanding the hopes, dreams and goals of the mentee. Showing genuine interest and enthusiasm will help in cementing the relationship and continuing to build trust within the relationship. 3. Provide a fresh perspective Openly share your experiences, insight and mistakes in a way that is of assistance to the mentee. Act as a sounding board and allow them to reach their own conclusions. Provide objective feedback. Use open questioning to draw out and clarify details. Offer advice only when asked. 4. Acknowledge achievements Build confidence through the celebration and acknowledgement of achievements and milestones. 6

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