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How to choose a business coach?
If you are the leader of a small and medium-sized business, then you probably have a task from time to time to train your employees. There may be many prerequisites and reasons for this, for example: the company is growing, newcomers come to it, employees cannot cope with the implementation of key performance indicators, new competitors have appeared, etc.
If you do not have a full-time staff training and development specialist, then the question arises of attracting an external business coach. Where to find it? Whom to choose? How not to be mistaken with the choice? This is what today's material is about.
Olga Zbarskayabusiness coach, social psychologist
Where are the coaches found?
I must say right away: a standard search query, for example, "business coach in Khabarovsk", is unlikely to justify itself. First of all, you will receive links to aggregator sites that consolidate information on the region, and not only coaching. Links to the websites of metropolitan trainers and training agencies promoting themselves in the regions can also get into the search results.
Therefore, it makes sense to go straight to such portals - for example, Vsetreningi.ru - and make a selection for the desired city there. As a rule, coaches working autonomously try to register there - but alas, they do not always update information about themselves on time. So be prepared that not all specialists in the sample will suit you: someone moved to another city, someone got a job, someone changed their specialization altogether.
Your question will be logical: why are Far Eastern business coaches not promoting their services using the site? The answer is simple: some are engaged, so from month to month the picture in the search results may change according to your request. But the general trend is as follows: investments in website promotion in all senses are required a lot, with a relatively small return. Therefore, many colleagues use their site as a detailed business card, and not as a selling tool.
Another option for finding a coach is to make a request on social networks. You will receive links to the accounts of specialists who promote themselves as trainers. Further - the question of your communication: you need to write or call (if the phone number is indicated in the profile) with a specialist and discuss the problem.
A good way is to attend all sorts of business and near-business events: you can not only meet training specialists on the sidelines, having collected a harvest of business cards, but also see some of them “in action”: often business trainers are invited to speak on a topical issue or conduct mini-training as part of a large event. This method helps, in principle, to make useful contacts, but is hardly suitable when the task of finding a coach is urgent.
The most reliable way is to find the right business coach among your business acquaintances. If you have HR specialists in your social circle, they will probably tell you 2-4 names of trainers. Leaders in partner companies can also advise the trainer who taught them. You can use thematic business groups in messengers for this - by requesting information from them, you will receive an excellent response with recommendations, or even direct responses from business coaches. The advantage of this search method is that you immediately receive feedback on the work of a trainer in a partner company.
Primary screening: what to focus on?
At the start, it is better to have not one option, but 2-3. Of course, you will have to spend time, but if you plan to train personnel repeatedly in the foreseeable future, then it is better to find a reliable and suitable specialist for you.
What is important to look out for in primary sampling?
· For information about the trainer in open sources: own website, or the website of the agency with which the trainer cooperates, the trainer's professional accounts in social networks, mentions about him on third-party resources;
· On his coaching and practical experience in the topic on which he teaches;
· For those examples of training materials that the trainer can visually provide you as a "demo" version of his service. For example, he can invite you to his open event, or provide a recording of his webinar, some kind of teaching aid, article, mini-book;
· For his coaching specialization. It would be a mistake to believe that any trainer can provide training on any topic. Each trainer has a set of 2-4 directions, determined by his personal experience and interests;
· On your general impression of the initial communication with him. Still, you trust the coach with the holy of holies - the impact on your employees - therefore the moment of personal sympathy and the quality of the connection is important.
First of all, the trainer should identify the topic of training and the problem in connection with which there was a need for training. It is better to give a request in detail, because there are no universal training programs, and a special program is written for each company, taking into account its problems, tasks and context.
It is also important because each person will have their own movie in their head when they say, for example, "time management" or "sales management". I have come across a request for training in time management (time management, translated from English), and when I began to ask about the situation in more detail, it turned out that employees spend a lot of time on conflicts with each other, and it is precisely this problem that needs to be dealt with. Agree that the focus of attention will be somewhat different than the tools for organizing your working time?
So, if you have an idea that you need training on a specific topic, tell the specialist in a little more detail what exactly is needed and what the problem is. Be prepared that it may take a solid 40-60 minute conversation in which the coach will ask you to elaborate on the situation and what led to the need for training. This is a testament to the trainer's thoughtful approach to future training.
If the coach is ready to provide you with the program immediately, without discussing your tasks, this should alert you. Most likely, you will end up with "universal" training, which may be far from your real problems and objectives.
It also happens that in order to prepare negotiations, it is easier to first draw up a basic draft of the program on a topic you have indicated, and then have a conversation based on it and discuss details. This can also be done: the main thing is that all the same, based on the result of the conversation, an individualized program is drawn up on the basis of the basic one.
Sometimes it happens that the manager is very superficially aware of the specific problems of the employees - he only sees that they are not producing the desired result. In this case, the trainer may offer to carry out diagnostic measures. This can be, for example, interviewing employees, or observing their work (and then a trainer under a certain legend will need to ensure presence in the office), or research by the "mystery shopping" method ... If this does not require a detailed assessment of employees, but only a general idea about employee errors - the trainer will most likely carry out this diagnosis for free, and you, as a leader, will only need assistance in organizing these events.
The training program
In the wake of the conversation and the diagnosis of problems, the trainer writes a training program and provides it to you for approval. Professional trainers are trained to design programs in such a way that their content can be assessed by a business representative without special training.
By the way, the program is, among other things, a tool for motivating employees to learn, and after its approval, it is important to send it to all participants in future training for familiarization. This improves the quality of training and develops the responsibility of employees. You can, for example, immediately ask the participants of the future training to prepare their questions within the framework of this program or collect problem cases for discussion at the training.
What should be in a good program?
• First of all, the goal of the training. For example, "mastering the tools for working with objections and their practical development."
• In some cases - the target audience. For example, “sales managers with 1 year or more experience”.
• Thematic blocks of the training with detailed content, point by point. The content should clearly correspond to the problems and tasks that you identified in the dialogue with the trainer and identified in the diagnostics. Here is an example of such a block:
Features of public speaking in an online environment
√ Psychophysiology and peculiarities of listeners' perception of information in the online environment
√ Technical equipment of the online speaker: equipment, premises, sites, security
√ Work on the image of an online speaker: appearance and speech behavior
√ Requirements for "packaging" the content of the speech in the online environment
√ Use of visual materials online. Making a presentation accompanying the speaker's speech
√ Techniques for engaging and retaining audience attention in online presentations
• Learning outcomes: a single pool for the entire program or separately for each block. The results are expressed in the formulations “to know, understand, be able to, own”, etc., for example: “Participants receive and work out“ for themselves ”a checklist for preparing for a public speech,“ Participants master techniques for neutralizing unwanted activity of listeners, ”etc. .NS.
• Form of organization of training: training, master class, seminar, webinar, marathon, "field" (in the workplace) training ...
• Timing of training: the most important point, because the training budget often depends on it, and organizational issues - at least how to "pull" employees out of the work process without prejudice to the case.
You can also ask the trainer to reflect the points that are important to you in the program. For example, there were cases when I was asked to indicate the teaching methods for each block and how exactly this or that skill will be practiced.
Suppose the program suits you - now it's time to discuss the price of the issue. It is important to note that there is no single market price for education in our market. Each trainer or training company solves this issue in its own way. You can find a coach with a fee of 20 rubles. per training day, and 000 per training day.
When evaluating the cost, please note that it is included in the price quoted by the trainer. If the coach did not make the appropriate notes, it is worth clarifying whether the net fee is indicated, or something else is included in the price.
What additional costs are there for organizing training?
1. Rent of premises and equipment (or online platforms)
2. Meals for participants
3. Organization of transportation of participants to the place of the training (if it is carried out on the road)
6. Providing all training materials to the company (if necessary)
7. Certificates of participation
8. Assistants (sometimes required for certain categories of training events)
An important point for many customers is also the status of a business coach: does he have a legal entity, or does he work as an individual entrepreneur, as a self-employed.
There is one more important point that characterizes a professional coach. These are post-training events aimed at consolidating the knowledge and skills acquired in training - and implementing them into real practice.
It would be naive to believe that after one or two days of training, employees will come to work and start doing everything in a new way. Any changes are not implemented immediately. It is important to help people implement and consolidate these changes. To do this, the coach can offer you several levels of support:
1. Thorough post-training: the trainer in a real work environment observes the work of the employee and helps him to use new patterns of behavior.
The advantage of this format: an individual approach, detailed professional control and, as a result, the ease and quality of introducing new behavior into the employee's work. Minus: this work of a trainer also costs money - and for a whole training group it can be very expensive (sometimes more expensive than the training itself).
2. Light or optional post-training. For example, the trainer can give the participants a specific practical task after the training and request a report on its implementation (for example, for the public speaking training, this can be a speech delivered and recorded by the participant on the camera). Or invite the participants within 2 weeks after the training to ask questions on the topic of the training or to analyze specific working situations. Many motivated participants use this option with pleasure.
This format is also good in that the participants fixate on the use of new models of behavior, but in this case there is less coaching control. Accordingly, it is less expensive - in some cases, such post-training can be a bonus to the training.
3. Post-training by the supervisor. The trainer prescribes specific recommendations to the manager in the system to support the implementation of the learned into the working practice of the participants - and it is already the responsibility of the manager to ensure that the participants justify the investments made in their training.
For the best implementation of such a model, it is important that the leader is fully in the information field of the training (he is a full-fledged participant or, at least, an attentive observer in the training) and systematically supports and monitors the participants' use of the training experience. The minus is the additional efforts of the leader. Plus, it is free, and it also forms the best connection of cooperation between the manager and employees.
The Far Eastern market is rich in personnel training and development specialists. I wish you successful choice, productive cooperation with coaches - and development for your employees!