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Turning Interpersonal Training Into Results
On the other hand, behavioral advice informs action. It is recognizable and replicable. Trainers often offer outcome advice because they haven’t followed the previous steps and don’t know the requisite behaviors.
2. Focus on both motivation and ability. Most training programs spend far too much time convincing people they ought to give up their old ways and far too little time teaching and practicing new ways. For instance, HR professionals often use thorough 360-degree survey techniques to convince people they need to change. Ironically, most participants can be motivated to change with a quick review of ineffective interpersonal techniques and why they don’t work — followed by replacement behaviors. At this point, trainers should quickly move to the hows and whys of the replacement behaviors. The key is to work on ability far more than motivation.
3. Employ deliberate practice to improve ability. Nobody would dream of competing in figure skating without careful coaching. You’d want to be shown what to do, given a chance to do it, be observed by professionals and then given advice on what to change and how to change it. You’d repeat this process over and over again until you got it right. The same sort of deliberate practice should be used with leadership and other interpersonal skills training.
The ratio of lecture and discussion to coaching and feedback must tip toward practice and away from theoretical musings if you expect people to master complex interpersonal skills. When you know the exact behaviors required to secure results, when you can demonstrate them clearly on video or through live modeling and when people can see the link between those specific behaviors and key results, then they’ll willingly practice them with feedback.
4. Rely on theoretical paths. You can’t tell people to follow rote steps and expect the steps to work in complex human interaction. So when teaching interpersonal scripts, build a variety of possible responses from the other person into your theory. You have to build these contingencies into your interaction model through pathing. You also have to build in the skills to deal with each contingency. If not, once the conversation starts, it could easily follow a path trainees aren’t prepared to deal with.
Leveraging the Latest in Brain Science to Deliver the Next Generation of E-Learning
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