As the main person who is responsible for the profitability of my business,  I never seem to have enough time to coach my people consistently. With the average attention span shrinking to a handful of seconds, I often ask myself if they are even still interested in learning these days. While there are still only 7 days in a week and 24 hours in a day, our challenge as leaders is to do MORE with those same 7 days and 24 hours than we did even a year ago. One of the most-asked questions by owners and managers is, “How do leaders find a balance between ensuring profitability and educating employees with relevant skills and information?”

So how do we find the balance? Let’s find out!

Sink or Swim

Historically, leaders believed in the “Sink or Swim” method.  In the 14th century, few people knew how to swim, so if you were thrown into the water and could swim, you were seen as independent, hard-working, and leagues above the rest. Today, that might sound like, “I just noticed your quarterly numbers are down and you need to get them up! You’ve got to have a high volume of activity to make it at our company!”

Although this coaching method focused purely on effort can lead to results, the problem is that “working harder” only works when “working harder” is the right answer. Saying “work harder” can be as effective as a football coach standing under the goal post to yell out the score to his team while the scoreboard is right next to them. Different situations require different approaches to lead to your team’s success and evaluation of talent.

The Coaching Connection by Randall Murphy

One of the best resources for learning to lead and mentor in a meaningful manner was a white paper called The Coaching Connection created by Randall Murphy. In that paper, he explores how coaching and learning can only be effective when you are looking for more than just results. Coaching must encompass the skills, knowledge, effort, and attitude of the work being done.

The 4 Learning Styles

Most people are willing to learn if you know how to tap into their learning style. Your challenge is to develop your unique coaching style and training curriculum to address all four learning styles effectively so that all of your employees are engaged.

  • Kinesthetic learners need to understand the application of real-life experiences and tend to respond best to role-play exercises
  • Auditory learners work best when speaking, discussing, and thinking aloud and respond best to repetition
  • Visual learners need to be able to read and write notes and struggle in lectures lacking in visual aids
  • Tactual learners work best in cooperative learning activities and interactions

For the time-conscious manager, the best way to ensure the incorporation of all four learning styles into the training curriculum is through the process known as blended learning. Unlike traditional education, corporate training exists primarily to improve business performance. Blended learning allows for the consideration of each individual. A study by Harvard Business School faculty Doctors DeLacey and Leonard Peter found that providing several linked options for learners significantly increased what they learned.

Now, what goes into blended learning? Blended learning includes face-to-face classroom training, videos, online training workshops, one-on-one coaching, guest speakers, and literature. Utilizing outside resources alleviates the need for the leader to captain these exercises while also reinforcing a message in a multitude of ways. It is typically the type of message that the manager annoyingly repeats on a daily basis, but when the same message is delivered in a different way by a different person, it is then that the learner “gets it”!

With these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to train your employees AND continue to grow your bottom line!

With over 90 years of Logistics experience, Top Talent is a recognized leader in Talent Acquisition for Logistics, Transportation, and Supply Chain.  We are part of the SRA network of companies- the 9th largest recruiting firm in the country.  Let us put our team to work for you. To learn more about successful strategies for getting those impact players and game-changers on your team, reach out to us today!

– Michael Monson
Top Talent LLC
President and CEO