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Strong and Sustainable


Nick Drake-Knight, creator of Continue & Begin Fast Coaching® on two areas where training too often falls down.

The emphasis on improvement in training sounds like a positive thing. When we’re looking to help people perform well though, we need to tread carefully.

I’ve experienced lots of different development programmes. My observation is that too many organisations want to see development and improvement as first steps. What we know from lots of research is that when people are being coached on their performance, certainly in the early phases, they’re often feeling pretty vulnerable and fragile. We need to start by strengthening their confidence so that they feel good enough, powerful enough, resourceful enough to be able to take on additional development opportunities.

So, to me, starting with “How can we improve?” is not a very helpful way to operate.

The starting point of the Continue and Begin Fast Coaching® model is to celebrate successes. That gets people feeling strong and resourceful; from there we can start talking about how we might want to do one or two things a little bit differently, and perhaps even better. The model goes on therefore to explore what positive change is possible and how that change can be realised.

After “development”, another challenge with many training solutions is around consistency. I’ve met leaders around the world who get frustrated about inconsistency. They have parts of their organisations that perform really well but excellence just doesn’t spread across all teams. And there’ll be some places where people just cannot deliver anything like excellence, no matter how much support they have.

Effective training can create consistency, temporarily. This kind of consistency doesn’t have much value. Even in some of the most admired organisations, training can be like throwing mud at a wall. Some sticks, but most of it slides off.

If we can make what is learned in training sustainable, then the training has real value. When we can turn new knowledge or skill into behaviour – and then make sure that this behaviour is practised every day, we can move toward consistent great performance.

To achieve this, we need good, regular, local coaching, carried out within teams and building on team members’ strengths. The beauty of this approach is that it doesn’t need expensive external resources to be brought in – it uses resources you’ve already got. And it works.

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