Thursday, 3 January 2008

The Role of the Line Manager in Facilitating Workplace Learning - Part 3

This post follows on from:

The Role of the Line Manager in Facilitating Workplace Learning - Part 1

The Role of the Line Manager in Facilitating Workplace Learning - Part 2

I have been asked to give a presentation on the above title at an international L&D Conference later in the year.

Consequently, I've started to pull together my initial thoughts on this topic. I plan to use this blog as a mechanism to help pull these ideas together, and (hopefully) to get some feedback from others reading this emergent 'presentation'.

In this part I examine the opportunities for L&D professionals to help to develop the coaching ability of managers

... on the basis that this is a core skill that can be developed through training, and can help managers be more effective at employee development (leading to significantly higher performance).

Using the PDCA cycle (Plan, Do, Check, Act) - this can be helpful to illustrate the integration of training into a broader learning 'loop' of improvement.

PLAN: I believe there is value in championing common coaching frameworks - to be taught systematically to all new people managers. This is actually more important than searching for the 'ultimate' coaching model. Through creating a common language there is greater opportunity for both peer-to-peer, and manager-to-report support (especially in global organisations with ever shifting reporting relationships)

DO: As well as training, consider the opportunities for skills-practice that extend beyond any brief opportunities obtained through role-play in-the-classroom. Company supported mentoring schemes can be a great vehicle for this !

CHECK: Regular monitoring & feedback to managers is critical to maintain a focus (recognise & reward success) on achieving the desired outcomes from applying the coaching skills. Consider the use of regular colleague engagement surveys - that typically explore the extent to which colleagues feel their managers have supported their development in recent months.

ACT: Provide options to go beyond the initial intervention & reinforcement that individuals/departments can act on the data from monitoring. This may take the form of a second 'tier' of training opportunities ...where it may be appropriate to help delegates better understand 'when not to use a coaching style' rather than 'more of the same'.

the final part will consider the implications for managers of an increased self-directed learner-centric focus - created due to shifts in the psychological contract (no longer the expectation of 'a job-for-life'), and enabled by new 'Knowledge Management' technologies.