Tag Archive for: training

How to Hire Your First Coach

“Does coaching work? Yes. Good coaches provide a truly important service. They tell you the truth when no one else will.”

Jack Welch, Former CEO of General Electric

“To excel at the highest level – or any level, really – you need to believe in yourself, and hands down, one of the biggest contributors to my self-confidence has been private coaching.”

Stephen Curry, NBA MVP and Champion

Even modest improvements can justify hiring a coach. An investment of $30,000 or so in an executive who has responsibility for tens of millions of dollars is a rounding error.

Jerome Abarbanel, VP of Executive Resources, Citibank

Executive coaches are not for the meek. They’re for people who value unambiguous feedback. All coaches have one thing in common, it’s that they are ruthlessly results―oriented.”

Fast Company


Most people have never hired a coach before. My coaches have been invaluable to my career and life in general. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by getting a great coach! The coaching journey often follows a five-step process as described below.

Step 1. The Initial Awareness

  • The need, want or desire for coaching usually comes from the feeling you are stuck. You wonder if coaching can help you grow beyond where you are today. You have a sense that “there is something better” that you are capable of…and you will do what it takes to get there.
  • You feel and want to meet the “high expectations” that come your way. As the Bible says “To whom much is given, much is expected.” This can feel like an overwhelming responsibility, and you want to make sure you are living up to it.
  • You like what you do…but want to be a better person doing it. Somebody suggested you might consider coaching…and so here you are!

Step 2. Why Coaching is Helpful

  • A coach is objective. A coach is not blinded by the stories you tell yourself. They can see your forest for the trees.
  • A coach is a great listener. They ask probing questions that cause you to dig deeper. Then they listen again, and again.
  • A coach is committed to your success. That is a coaches only agenda. They will be honest with you – even if that honesty hurts.

Step 3. Finding a Coach You Can Trust

  • Coaching is an intimate experience. Your coach must respect boundaries, keep confidences, and have their own act together.
  • Given my legal background, I know all about maintaining confidences. You can speak freely and openly and know it stays between us.
  • I have my act together. I keep a healthy balance between work, family, health, spiritual growth and finances. To stay on the path, I too have a coach.

Step 4. Experience It!

  • Coaching is an experience, not an intellectual exercise.
  • Most coaches, including me, will offer you a coaching experience at no cost.
  • You will experience being deeply listened to… maybe for the first time…in a long time.
  • You will receive honest feedback and coaching to improve the odds of meeting your most important goals.

Step 5. The Agreement

  • If you enjoyed the coaching experience, then come to an agreement with me or another coach and clarify your commitments.
  • You will be clear about objectives and goals, the number and timing of meetings, and the upfront fee.
  • Remember, coaching is not a “one and done.” It is an ongoing process for continuous growth and personal satisfaction.

You are invited to contact me by email at don@donphin.com or call (619) 852-4580 to schedule a complimentary coaching session and see if coaching can work for you!

Walking the Training Talk

I just finished reading my bi-monthly issue of Training Magazine. It highlighted the top 125 company training programs in the country. Some insights I gathered:

  1. 1. Most employees want at least two hours of training per month. If the employee desire is roughly 24 hours of training per year and they earn $50,000 then you have to deliver that training, including their cost of attendance at roughly $50 per hour, or $1200 year or 2.4% of payroll…and as you will see, that’s on the lower end of the budget for great companies.
  2. Unfortunately, less than 80% of employees get two hours of training per month. Is it the time? The money? A philosophy that training is not needed to perform at peak levels? If you are super concerned about time or money then make sure the training produces results.
  3. Employees want training to learn new skills, grow in their career, and be more productive. Don’t you want that too? Everyone wins when you train well. I just read an interesting survey on Lifetime Learning done by Pew.The info from that could be yet an additional article.
  4. Employees continue to acknowledge feedback as the greatest engagement factor. Meaning training alone, without feedback, is wasted time and money.
  5. While employees have shorter and shorter attention spans and prefer shorter training sessions, studies show that training is more effective when longer in duration. I say make the training fit the need. Sometimes micro-learning is perfect. Others times a deep dive is required.
  6. The average training spend has increased by at least 10% per year over the last five years. Have you kept pace? As George Gilder reminds us, we are in a knowledge economy, no matter what job we do.
  7. Most award winning companies say their training budget as a percentage of payroll is between 2% and 4%. There are outlier companies such as Quicken Loans which devote 8.3% of its payroll budget to training. What percentage of payroll do you devote to training?
  8. The vast majority have tuition reimbursement plans.
  9. Great training is a mix. Some online, some just-in-time, mentoring, Kaizen groups, presenters, trainers, TED talks, etc. Training is only limited by a company’s creativity.

There’s the general landscape. No doubt half of all companies train better than the other half, 10% do a great job of it and 1% do a world class job. Where do you stand?

If you walk the training talk then brand that fact on your about page, your hiring page, during your interview process and then execute it on or during orientation and throughout their career. This will improve your ability to hire and retain productive employees.

How do you know if training produces results?

W. Edwards Deming was once quoted as saying “Don’t ask me the ROI on training, you either believe that education has the greatest form of leverage or you do not.” His point is this: when you are in a knowledge economy the most learned win.

But that’s only one part of the equation…isn’t it? It’s also about taking action on that knowledge. The implementation and production of results matters too. As I like to say …from abstraction to action!

Here are questions to consider when trying to answer the results question.

  • Do you give employees a way to rank or rate the value of the training?
  • Do you follow up with them a month later to find out their execution on the knowledge gained?
  • Is the training offered in alignment with the strategic objectives of the company? The closer you are to the core strategic outcome desired the more effective your training will be.
  • Has it helped people to become more productive? What did they stop and what did they start? How do you measure that?
  • Does it fill a skills gap?

What other ancillary benefits can the training provide?

  • It emphasizes a dedication to continuous improvement.
  • An increase in creativity, innovation and suggestions.
  • Becoming a more attractive employer (…so long as you market your great training programs in the hiring process).
  • Lower turnover rates.
  • Decrease in complaints and lawsuits.
  • An improvement in communication and employee relations.
  • Often, we can grow our organizations through internal talent by using training rather than bringing in lateral hires and having to engage in cultural unlearning with them.

Whether you are trying to implement a new project management software program or reduce bias claims you want your training to be effective…meaning it helps to produce results. You also want it to be something that employees look forward to because it is insightful and engaging.

And talk about great training…have you signed up for the Great HR program yet? If not, what are you waiting for? It’s awesome! And, if you are not in HR have your HR person register. You will be glad they did! www.greathr.com

Training that Works Checklist

“Learning is not compulsory… neither is survival.”  ― W. Edwards Deming

We are in a knowledge economy. Training and building a learning culture is compulsory for survival.

Use this checklist to make sure you consider all the training variables. Please add to the checklist anything overlooked.

Remember, your training goals should be Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic and Timed.

Identify Company Needs/Goals /Strategy

  • Adapt to change
  • Build managerial and leadership skills
  • Budgetary realities
  • Compliance and Safety
  • Conflict management
  • Cross-training
  • Delegation
  • Effective meetings
  • Ergonomics
  • Fill specific skills gaps
  • Financial education/open book management/budgeting
  • Improve company culture
  • Improve overall employee engagement and retention
  • Improve sales, customer service, productivity
  • Improve use of health care, 401K and other benefits
  • Innovation/creativity
  • Language skills
  • Motivation
  • Negotiation skills
  • Policies and procedures
  • Quality improvement
  • Remote workers
  • Solve a specific problem
  • Support high performers with advancement opportunities
  • Support strategic initiatives
  • Timing requirements
  • Work across generations

Identify Employee Needs

  • Career development
  • Coaching/mentoring
  • Compliance and Safety
  • Financial education
  • How to work in teams/groups
  • Increase skills
  • Learning styles assessment
  • Personal wellness
  • Professional certifications/licensing
  • Seek new opportunities
  • Time management

Training Methodologies

  • Best practice meetings
  • Case scenarios
  • Coaching
  • Contests, games
  • Conferences
  • Demonstration-individual, group, recorded
  • Engagement and gamification
  • Exercises
  • Experimentation
  • Follow-up training
  • Handouts
  • Job shadowing
  • Learning management system software
  • Lecture
  • Micro-learning
  • Mind mapping
  • Mobile
  • Online through 3rd party provider
  • Outside trainers
  • Presentation software (PPT, Prezi, etc.)
  • Survey, micro-surveys, focus groups, interviews
  • Testing
  • Training manager/director
  • Training room
  • Use of story and metaphor
  • Video, podcast, newsletter
  • Virtual reality
  • Webinars- live/stored
  • Workshops

Learning Effectiveness

  • Calculate ROI
  • Collect data- costs, time, participation rates, completion rates, etc.
  • Effectiveness of various incentives used
  • Evaluations
  • Identify benefits and results
  • Identify blockages to execution
  • Improved engagement and retention
  • Improved sales, customer service, productivity
  • Improved skills delivery
  • Learning retention
  • Reduced claims exposure
  • Sharing of knowledge and ideas
  • Stories collected

Click Here to Download the Full Checklist