One of the most important things you can do each day is help employees become better.
So most managers want to provide better training. But most admit their jobs only allow them to spend about 10% of their time coaching and training employees, a McKinsey study found.
Many managers don’t feel they have the time or resources to polish their training skills, according to Naphtali Hoff, author of Becoming the New Boss, a former headmaster and CEO of Impactful Coaching.
Here are six proven strategies schoolteachers of yesteryear and today use to make sure when they teach, others learn.
Plan with a clear, measurable objective
Great classes are built on a lesson plan that includes:
- an instructional objective
- the resources to reach it, and
- a tangible result.
When you lay out a lesson plan, you want to make sure everything is concrete. Avoid fuzzy phrases such as “understand,” “believe” and “grasp the concept.”
Instead, set goals that can be measured after training – regardless of whether it’s in-person, online or self-paced training.
- “90% of employees will pass the skills assessment test,” or
- “Errors will drop 5% within one week of new software training.”
Get them engaged
Teachers don’t just lecture while students sit quietly and take notes anymore – even when they’re in virtual classrooms. They make lessons more interactive. They talk about how the information does or will affect students.
And schoolteachers take cues from students. They watch or listen for activities, events and situations that excite their students – for example, the emergence of TikTok in learning or opportunities to bring event-driven information into the classroom such as a NASA liftoff. Then they incorporate those into the learning.
Pay attention to what excites your employees and use those as themes to engage them in training. For instance, do they pay more attention to TikTok than you? Maybe it’s time to do some TikTok videos.
Tweak the environment
Teachers know that not all students learn in the same formats. And not all subjects are meant to be taught with the same approach.
That’s why teachers sometimes cover the same subject in a variety of ways. Some subjects are good for whole class instruction. Other subjects are a good fit for cooperative or individual work. Some stuff is perfect for self-paced, video interaction.
And most subjects need to be taught in more than one format – some combination of classroom, email, online library, side-by-side coaching, etc.
The most memorable teachers are passionate. Think about your favorite. You probably could feel and recognize now how much he or she loved the subject.
You may not be as passionate about software updates now as, for example, Mrs. P was about literature and mythology back then. But you can add passion to any training session by keeping yourself and employees focused on how the new skills and knowledge will help them succeed even more.
Grab your teaching moments
The best teaching doesn’t always happen in a structured classroom fitted neatly into a lesson plan. It often happens organically – on a field trip, in the hall, sparked by an insightful question.
It happens at work every day, too. Use organic moments to help employees explore a deeper meaning in their work and the effects of it on the big picture. Ask them why they think what they learn is important and how it will make them and your organization better.
Final note: Be a role model, too
Kids naturally look up to their teachers. They like the structure and guidance that classroom leaders offer.
Same can be said for employees. Good training isn’t just about skills and knowledge. Explaining how you use ethical standards and professional integrity to make decisions is important, too.