The words training and coaching are regularly used interchangeably. While both are vital ways to improve and develop employees, they are best used at different times, utilising different techniques.
Training is the process of instructing or teaching skill or knowledge. This may be information regarding a product, process, procedure or skills such as selling techniques.
In a workplace, training is provided to ensure employees have the necessary skills and knowledge to be able to do their jobs competently. As training is often conducted at the time employment is commenced, the term ‘in training’ or the title ‘trainee’ may be used. Training can also be provided for existing or long term employees, when new instruction or information needs to be transferred. For example, the introduction of a new policy, procedure, product or service.
Training can be delivered one or one or in a group environment. While training can be conducted on the job, it is commonly provided in a more formal manner, such as in a class room, via structured sessions or even eLearning modules.
Coaching occurs after training, once a person already has the skill or knowledge. Rather than educating or instructing as is done in training, the focus is on how the person applies that skill and knowledge on the job.
Coaching, should always be one on one, as its best tailored to an individual. It is less formal, adapting to the situation and needs of the person being coached. Providing a supportive environment in which the coach guides a person’s development through encouraging them to reflect and identify their own opportunities for improvement, is the key to effective coaching.
Training without coaching is almost doomed for failure. While training may have a short term impact on a person’s confidence and performance, this is unlikely to be sustained without ongoing coaching. Trainees must evolve into coachees, where a behavioural approach is taken to develop a plan or strategy on how they will apply the learned skills and knowledge in real life situations.
Without training, there is unlikely to be long term application of concepts learned. If a person is not encouraged to use newly learned skills and knowledge, it is quickly forgotten.
While refresher training may be provided at intervals, effective coaching is ongoing. As obstacles arise, skills develop and other factors come into play, coaching can see a person’s confidence grow, motivation levels reach an all-time high and their potential reached.
Recently, I went on my first visit to the United States of America, spending six days in Hawaii on a business conference plus leisure time. This was my first experience in a country where tipping is customary.
I was aware prior to my visit, unlike in Australia, tipping is part of everyday life in the US, understanding the low minimum wage see’s employees relying on tips to make a living. Although I knew it was custom, I was surprised to see in some cases a certain percentage automatically added to a bill. At other establishments, a gratuity amount was calculated and printed on a receipt, with the customer asked to select an option between 15%-25% on top of the total.
I was prepared to pay tips particularly in restaurants, however what I wasn’t prepared for was the poor customer service that was provided in most cases across a wide array of service areas. Retail stores, food outlets, bars, restaurants and tourist attractions, the service level overall was sub-standard.
I was completely surprised by the lack lustre approach taken by staff when serving customers. Even in high end hotels and resorts, we had to hunt down servers or wait staff to place food orders and refill drinks. One would expect in these venues, staff would be attentive and eager to increase their earning potential through providing high end service to cashed up tourists.
Sadly, I didn’t identify any outstanding service provided throughout the days we spent on the famous tourist island. Most staff were simply going through the motions, struggling to produce a smile or in some cases, basic manners.
Perhaps it was my perception or understanding of tipping in general, seeing it as a way of recognising exceptional service. Rather it seems it is an expectation regardless of the standard of service provided, making tipping less of an incentive and more like an expected subsidy of their wage paid directly by the customer.
I found myself torn, not wanting to offend or disadvantage the person by neglecting to pay a tip however, I also struggled to reward poor service.
In a location such as Hawaii with its large portion of clientele being tourists for whom tipping is not necessarily the norm, these customers need to be given even more of a reason to tip. Where the service provided is at such a level, that a customer shows their gratitude to the person who served them, because they want to not because they are expected to.