The manager of a call center approached me once and under his breath said, “I have to send Barbara back through your class. She didn’t get it the first time.”
Out came the red flag: “Trainer alert! This is your customer talking and he believes sending people back through a class they have already had will help them to “get it”, or “get with it.”
Its great that he had such faith in my customer service training course — but retraining rarely works.
So what do you do?
Put on your consultant hat and invite the manager to chat about the situation. There are some important considerations to look at before signing folks up for a return trip to the same class. First, look at the message sent to the returning staff person and their colleagues. Is a return trip for re-training a signal to everyone of failure the first time? Do other staff members think management is clueless about how to help this person?
Dig deeper; capability must exist before ability is real. Does the person in questions possess capability to perform the task in such a way that training will help move them past being capable to being able?
If the answer is no, then the person simply isn’t in the right job for their skills. Training them again will not do the trick, and keeping them in this job likely jeopardizes self-satisfaction, customer-satisfaction and team-satisfaction. There’s nothing good about fitting a square peg into a round hole. The best role for management and trainer to take is that of career consultant to the frontline person and perhaps involve HR.
If the answer is yes they have capability and they have been through the training before, then ask how much coaching have they received since the initial class? More than likely they haven’t had any. The right amount of coaching helps to turn old habits into new habits.
Each of us needs different levels of encouragement to make changes. Some of us will make changes with little or no intervention. An idea from training makes sense to us and we do it. Done. At other times an idea may make sense but doesn’t have the chance to take root because of the “busyness” of the day or time. I get back to my desk, I’m behind, and all my good intentions of doing things differently and creating new habits get buried in simply trying to catch up and keep up. Keeping up is easier if I fall back into old habits for the moment and change them when I’m caught up. That day doesn’t come. Comfort in old habits takes over and changes fall by the wayside.
If you and I aren’t careful as trainers, the message here ends up being that training isn’t effective; it isn’t working. That conclusion has haunted us all and is often far from the truth. Training is not an event. Training is a process. Coming out of a classroom does not suddenly give managers the same group of people with new, different and better behavior and habits. The same group comes out of the classroom and they now have ideas, some make sense and others don’t. They all have habits that are ingrained and comfortable. Change is difficult and even harder when the pace of life and business are so quick that to change too many things at any one time can spell mistakes and disaster.
Without coaching and encouragement, new ideas fade into the background and the old ways return. The original training was successful in imparting the information. Good and necessary ideas made it into the heads of the participants. However, if coaching isn’t in place to encourage the change and implementation of new ideas, then it’s not training or re-training; it’s coaching that’s failing to “get with it.”
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