GET REAL

Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

Soft skills training—without structured follow up—not the best investment.

I thought about just letting the title of this post serve as the entire entry today, because it kind of says it all.

The workshop or classroom interaction with peers and co-workers has its irreplaceable benefits for soft skill-building, especially if the learning objectives and tools are simple and focused, and people have the opportunity to discuss and/or practice based on their own real-life successes and challenges. We find that the classroom setting provides a springboard or reinforcement for learning—through self-reflection and discovery, tools and ideas exchanged, culture reinforced, morale boosted, experiences shared, trust being built among teams—and it whets the individual’s appetite for learning and participating in his or her own continuous development plan.

In the training, coaching, and development industry, we also recognize the value of customizing the learning experience based on individual needs and learning styles. We experience the value of structured follow up through coaching and mentoring individuals, over time, in the midst of their real-life work and demands. We see the results when training is followed up with small group reinforcement, self-study and/or quick hit e-learning or mobile programs, accountability for action, and the evaluation of programs for continuous improvement. It’s the combination of all of these efforts—and more—that creates a results-oriented learning environment that reaps the most significant benefits for the individual and ultimately for his or her organization.

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