Coaching Employees to Improve Performance

Coaching Employees to Improve Performance

It’s common to find great coaches on the playing field – but what about in the workplace? Coaching employees to improve performance starts with effective leadership.

Good managers are skilled in coaching employees. Employees respond best to motivation, positivity, and support – not micromanagement or intimidation.

Did you know that coaching employees can actually boost productivity and create more positive morale?

Here we’ll describe and define the purpose of workplace coaching and share tips on how you can start coaching employees to improve performance.

 

Characteristics of a Good Coach in the Workplace

You can effectively coach employees in a variety of ways. A good coach is available, transparent, and encouraging.

Here are a few more employee coaching techniques to try.

 

Offer Consistent Feedback

It’s difficult for employees to improve performance without detailed feedback on a regular basis. Begin scheduling time to meet with employees individually.

Use an actionable coaching approach when providing constructive feedback in the workplace.

First, acknowledge the areas they’re excelling in. Then, identify the specific areas that need improvement. When coaching employees to improve performance, always leave them with a plan of action after identifying gaps.

When you’re pointing out flaws or a specific skill that needs work, lead with encouragement. This helps employees stay motivated and feel invested in the success of the company and their role in it.

The importance of feedback in coaching isn’t one-sided. Empower the whole team to practice positive feedback, not just management.

Employees should point out when they notice a coworker performing well and offer advice or guidance if they see someone struggling. Create a feeling of mutual respect among your staff and soon they’ll be rooting for one another to succeed.

 

Push Employees Outside Their Comfort Zone

Without putting too much pressure on employees, as a coach, it’s your job to help them move outside their comfort zone. When you see potential in an employee, challenge them! Offer them a more important role in the office or put them in charge of a special project.

Capitalize on your team’s skill sets and past experiences. Assign individual tasks that help employees strengthen and refine technical skills and soft skills, or challenge them to grow in new ones.

Always be available to answer questions and lend support during the process.

 

Welcome Employee Opinions and Ideas

Nothing makes employees feel more valued and appreciated than an open line of communication with their superiors. One way to do this is by welcoming their ideas and opinions.

Ask your staff what they think about recent changes, updates, or a new project. Practice active listening and be receptive to their comments or concerns. When employees are able to express their opinions and offer feedback, they feel like their contribution matters.

Employees who feel respected, heard, and valued are more invested and committed to the company. Leaders can inspire employees to engage by rallying them around a shared goal. Be inclusive when setting goals. Ask employees to participate in the goal setting process and motivate them to accomplish it as a team.

 

Encourage Collaboration

Just like the coach of a sports team needs to unify players, coaching employees means helping your staff work better together. Take things one step further by encouraging employees to collaborate in the workplace.

Every employee brings a unique set of skills to the table. When team members collaborate regularly, they can learn different approaches and techniques. This strengthens both the individual and the team.

Coworker collaboration also builds company morale, which is essential. Encouraging strong relationships at work creates a more positive and productive environment for everyone.

Additionally, collaboration helps employees lead up by learning from how their coaches interact with everyone to create unity.

 

Lead By Example

The mark of any good leader or mentor leads by example. Avoid swooping in and completing a project or task for employees. They will learn more through trial and error. Instead, prepare them with comprehensive onboarding training then let them try.

Make sure to use a supportive and positive tone when correcting employees. Don’t be condescending or impatient as you demonstrate how you want things done.

Taking a few extra minutes, or even days, to show an employee the right way to do things will save you both time and frustration in the future. It also strengthens the employee’s skills and boosts their confidence.

Do you regularly assess employees to identify progress and gaps? Coach better with Hub360. Modernize your employee coaching tool and improve the results of even the lowest-performing employees.

 

Help Build Employee Confidence

One of the most important parts of coaching employees is building their confidence both professionally and personally. Instill newfound confidence in employees is by recognizing and rewarding their accomplishments.

During your feedback sessions or employee reviews, highlight the great work they’ve done. Use specific examples to personalize your compliments.

Point out exactly what you liked about how they handled a certain situation. Always acknowledge when an employee goes above and beyond their job description. Boosting employee confidence not only makes your staff feel good, but it keeps them motivated to keep working hard.

 

Accept Failure Once in a While

Failure to talk about failure erodes a culture of growth.
While it’s not in your best interest to condone failure, accepting failure as a part of life helps take the pressure off your employees and yourself.

Failure itself is like a coach — reminding employees what not to do next time.

The way you respond to employee mistakes or shortcomings makes all the difference. Avoid belittling team members or overreacting. Instead, ask the employee what went wrong and how they could’ve handled it differently. Then, make a plan for addressing issues like this in the future.

On the other hand, don’t let mistakes or failures go unnoticed. This lowers job performance standards and expectations. Foster a culture of growth by acknowledging failure, using it as a coachable moment.

 

Support Employee Training and Career Development

One of the best employee coaching techniques to use is ongoing employee training and management development. You can accomplish this by creating a roadmap for each individual’s career development.

Well-rounded training gives employees confidence in their job duties. But the goal is not to have an employee be great at one aspect of their job. Cast a wide-angle view of how their training and development plays into the bigger picture.

Sit down with each employee and help them set goals for personal and professional development. When employees have a plan, they begin to see themselves grow within the company, which lowers turnover.

Engage employees for the long haul by coaching them into leaders, not followers.

 

Effective Coaching in the Workplace

When coaching employees to improve performance, tracking your coaching relationships is best done through a coaching software. Effective coaching in the workplace takes a healthy balance of holding employees accountable and offering guidance and encouragement.

These key techniques will help you create a healthier coaching process in the workplace. Start engaging employees with training, assessments, and professional development for their future success.

How are you coaching employees to improve performance? Are you looking for more ways to train, motivate, and coach your team?

Download the Coach Tool product overview to begin coaching better, today!

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The start of every new year is a chance to revisit training goals and aspirations for the coming 12 months. How do you know what’s worth your investment?

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Corporate Training Trends 2020 – What’s Really Worth Your Investment?

Corporate Training Trends 2020 – What’s Really Worth Your Investment?

As the end of 2019 approaches, budgets are being finalized and sales quotas are being established for the new year. Have you accounted for the cost of employee training in your 2020 budget? Some employers may be tempted to push employee training to the side of their business-centric priorities, but you may want to think again…

At Unboxed Training & Technology, our goal is to provide you with any recent corporate training trends with actionable ways to apply these new industry insights to your company or team. A diverse client base gives us a well-rounded view of the L&D space to share what we expect to see as corporate training trends in 2020.

Based on what we’re seeing with our clients, and in the L&D industry overall, we have compiled the top four future trends in training and development that you need to know for the upcoming year. But before we jump into the trends, let’s take a look at the corporate training landscape as a whole.

The Future of Corporate Learning

According to SHRM’s Skills Gap 2019 research, 75% of HR professionals say there is a shortage of skills in candidates for job openings. One of the “most effective remedies” mentioned in the report for this growing skills gap is to improve employee retention rates

Research has shown that employee training and development actually reduces employee turnover. The question is, do you believe it?

Take notes from Amazon. Earlier this year, Amazon announced a $700 million investment in employee training programsWe think it’s important to invest in our employees, and to help them gain new skills and create more professional options for themselves,” said Beth Galetti, senior vice president of HR.

Every year, corporate training trends evolve–but the value of employee training never changes. Use these corporate training trends to guide your training process whether you are onboarding new hires or upskilling current employees. The future of L&D starts inside your organization, today.

 

Top 4 Learning and Development Trends in 2020

Companies like Amazon understand the necessity of employee training and development–not only for new employees–but as an ongoing investment in current employees. Whether you invest $7,000 or $700 million, effective training is always advantageous to the business. A recent study, noted by Spotio, concluded that “every dollar invested in sales training returned $29 in incremental revenues.

Now it’s time to talk about what you don’t know (but should) about workplace learning and employee development.

 

Trend #1: Actionable Coaching

Research has shown that coaching is the number one competency that distinguishes average managers from highly effective managers. Actionable coaching is more than giving advice; it provides employees with constructive feedback, sets actionable goals, and develops a more efficient workforce.

As a manager, it’s not enough to say, “You didn’t do that right. Try again.” Managers must actively engage with employees to identify strong competencies and development gaps. For example, actionable coaching can turn a sales pitch tragedy into a training opportunity by creating a plan of action:

  1. Identify what part of the sales pitch or goal an employee missed.
  2. Explain the correct behavior or action expected and resource them with specific training material.
  3. Form a plan of action moving forward to train in weak areas and fill in knowledge gaps:
    • Brush up on product or service knowledge.
    • Review the messaging strategy.
    • Practice the pitch by role-playing with a colleague or mentor.
    • Set a completion date.

Coaches, how do you currently track your coaching engagements and employee observations?

In response to the need for better coaching tools to make actionable coaching more intuitive and effective, we’ve developed an easy-to-use mobile app that walks coaches through an observation flow and captures key data points. Here’s how it works:

  • Observe behaviors by taking coaches through a guided observation flow.
  • Capture information in the moment to keep coaches focused on the person in front of them.
  • Easily track and record detailed notes.
  • Provide feedback on strengths and opportunities.
  • Assist in creating SMART goals for tangible results.
  • Save documentation time.

If you aren’t observing, you can’t coach. Start tracking performance, skill progression, and providing constructive feedback to empower employees to make actionable changes.

 

Trend #2: 360 Certification

How do you know when your new hires are ready to be customer-facing?

At what point does your onboarding process transition new employees to executing responsibilities on their own?

How do you certify that your sales reps are ready to pitch prospects?

What guardrails can you put in place to ensure the best results?

We’re long past the point of a certification exam or a series of inconsistent classes being enough to guarantee readiness, let alone success. The future of corporate learning lends itself toward a 360 degree view of certification.

360 degree certification is holistic in nature. Begin by identifying a threshold that learners must meet before they are considered “certified.” Be sure to choose inputs that train and test on knowledge, skills, and behavior.

Then, use your Learning Management System (LMS) to create a unique formula of weighted inputs to automate the employee certification process. Inputs might include some or all of the following activities:

  • In-person training event
  • Video roleplay
  • Coaching session or observation
  • Mini knowledge checks
  • Action learning projects

The list could go on, but each input is used in combination with the others to collectively “certify” your rep.

Don’t stop at a one-time certification. Employee training is an ongoing process that continues well after onboarding has completed. Track employee training and recertify reps with refresher courses at various checkpoints in their careers to ensure knowledge retention over time. Reimagine how this will transform what “customer readiness” means for new hires and veteran employees.

The goal is to have employees cross-trained in everything from hard skills to soft skills throughout their career. This full-circle method of certification gives managers and employees a 360 degree view of what they are proficient in and where they need to improve.

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The start of every new year is a chance to revisit training goals and aspirations for the coming 12 months. How do you know what’s worth your investment?

Trend #3: More Innovative Event Management

Are you using your LMS to its full potential by engaging, training, and assessing learners? Stop using your LMS as a repository for training and resources that aren’t being used anymore. An LMS that is being used effectively is an integral part of an employee’s work day.

Leverage your learning platform to pulse engaging pre-work, drive community traffic, and gamify training events with ongoing opportunities to earn points and rewards. Integrate your LMS across the organization to support business objectives and scale up your workforce.

 

Engage with Pre-Work

Pre-work should make a meeting, virtual instructor-led employee training (VILT), or webinar more valuable for both the attendees and the presenter. Take advantage of an LMS, like Spoke® LMS, to manage and engage attendees at your event. Reimagine pre-work as fun, engaging, and effective rather than just busywork:

  • Send out learning expectations and resource guides early to prepare learners.
  • Build assessments for learners to take beforehand to help gauge the audience.
  • Make pre-work visually stimulating with images, graphs, and multimedia.
  • Have some fun by using games to award points or prizes to those who complete pre-work.
  • Schedule email reminders to send out right before the session for optimal attendance.

Encourage learners to come with answers, questions, and comments so they participate in the conversation. Use engaging content that builds interest and promotes interaction among attendees.

Gamify Training Events

Games in training is one of those learning trends that will only get more influential every year. Use games and gamification at events to educate, improve the experience, fight disengagement, as well as create an environment of collaboration and healthy competition.

For example, a pharmaceutical national sales meeting is a great opportunity to implement games and gamification into an event. Use an LMS to award points or badges for various activities in order for participants to win a grand prize:

  • Attending different sessions.
  • Tweeting what they learned using an event branded hashtag.
  • Sharing photos on social media and tagging the company.
  • Networking with other attendees by exchanging business cards.
  • Collecting items from various booths.

Have games and gamification made it into your 2020 event plans?

Disengaged attendees are the bane of any event’s existence, in-person or virtual. Craft a learning culture that motivates and engages employees with the help of an LMS. Think Outside™ the box for your next corporate event!

 

Trend #4: Personalized Learning through AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is no stranger to L&D or the world at this point. We talked about AI last year in our 2019 training trends blog, and it’s not going anywhere.

We interact with AI every day to make our lives easier. Google, Facebook, and Instagram all use AI-based algorithms to provide us with relevant information and ads to deliver a better user experience. Yet, in the workplace, AI is still severely underutilized.

AI At Work, a study conducted by Oracle and Future Workplace, discovered only 6% of HR professionals are currently using AI at work. Although, HR leaders believe AI will positively impact both L&D (27%) and performance management (26%) over the next two years. Both HR leaders and employees agree that the biggest impact AI will have on organizations is increased productivity.

AI caters to the individual who is handling it, fitting exclusively to the needs of each user. When AI is implemented into an LMS, it creates a personalized learning environment that becomes more intelligent over time. AI can improve employees’ learning experiences in many ways, but here are a few to consider:

  • Identify knowledge gaps in training then recommend the program(s) needed to strengthen that particular area.
  • Create a personalized course path using a blended learning approach and selecting the right modality for training content.
  • Measure training effectiveness through facial recognition to track what is being practically applied on the field as mentioned in our #4 trend for 2019.

The future of AI in the L&D space is limitless. If you don’t start adopting AI technology into your corporate training now, you’ll be limiting the potential of your business and employees later. Don’t get left behind.

 

2020 Training Trends Recap

L&D is constantly evolving with new technology and research used to improve the modern learner’s experience. Let’s recap our 2020 training trends:

  • Actionable coaching for actionable results. Don’t just manage employees. Use tech tools to coach employees with a plan of action that assesses their progress and improves performance.
  • 360 degree certification. Give your sales reps a full-circle onboarding experience using multiple methods of input so they are truly customer ready.
  • Use LMS for more innovative events. Engage employees at events with value-added pre-work and use both games and gamification to encourage participation, as well as collaboration.
  • Adopt AI for personalized learning. Use smart technology to support your training efforts. Start embracing AI in 2020; 93% of employees already say they would trust orders from a robot.

Need help implementing these new corporate training trends? Let our L&D professionals help you prepare for the future of work. Schedule your free training consultation today!

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Difference Between Employee Training and Management Development

Difference Between Employee Training and Management Development

Companies are very aware of the return on their investments—and for good reason. Tracking ROI helps determine what initiatives are moving the needle and creating a profit. But before receiving a positive return on employee training and development, companies must first invest.

Employers are generally hesitant to invest in employees because they are afraid of turnover. As a result, companies tend to simply train for the job and avoid the additional cost of development.

But what if employees stayed?

 

What if investing in your employees’ potential resulted in overall company growth?

 

What if you started developing employees to become impactful leaders who will manage the company’s future?

The companies of tomorrow are taking action by embracing a culture of learning and prioritize employee development to prevent turnover. “When employees are consistently learning, they are happy,” says David Clark, senior vice president and chief learning officer at American Express.

 

Employee Training vs. Management Development

Employee training and development go hand in hand. The terms are usually tied together in corporate conversation, but they have very separate definitions. Both training and development are completely necessary to invest in, but knowing their differences is important.

Training
Development
Short term (business benefit) Long term (mutual benefit)
Job-related tasks Open-ended goals
Fulfills present needs Future-focused
Company growth Personal growth
Enhances hard skills (job-specific) Enhances soft skills

The difference between training and development has to do with the purpose and end-goal of each:

Employee training impacts a company’s immediate needs by teaching new hires how to do job-related tasks. The more technical work that can be carried out, the more bandwidth a company has to sell their services.

Employee development serves as a long term growth tool to enhance employees’ skillset, thereby creating a more valuable workforce. Well developed employees who are trained to lead will support the company culture and impact future goals.

 

Employee Training

Employee training is the process of educating and equipping new employees with technical knowledge and skills to perform job duties. Job training is a necessary component of successful onboarding to produce a high-performing workforce. But before employees can do their jobs well, they need to be empowered with the right tools of the trade.

Training is content-centric: company policies, procedures, product or service knowledge, unique value proposition, CRM software, etc. The content learned in training supports employees as they figure out the rhythm of their new jobs and workplace norms.

The modalities for training have drastically evolved with the ever-changing digital workplace. Today, eLearning is a popular and increasingly effective way to train. Modern learners are on hyperdrive and prefer to learn on-the-go, which provides them with more mobility. Companies are shifting from physical to virtual classrooms for employee training, but that’s a conversation we’ve already had…

So if employee training related to the technical aspects of a job, what is employee development?

 

Employee Development

Employee development is a deciding factor for prospective hires. A comprehensive new employee onboarding process includes career development and goal-setting because new employees expect it. 87% of millennialsreported they value and care about receiving professional development and career growth from employers.

Once a new employee joins the team, keeping them engaged (and retained) requires a whole new strategy. A healthy employee development program promotes employee retention and job satisfaction. Harvard Business Review explains that losing top talent is more costly than investing in employee development in the long run:

Dissatisfaction with some employee development efforts appears to fuel many early exits…Workers reported that companies generally satisfy their needs for on-the-job development and that they value these opportunities, which include high-visibility positions and significant increases in responsibility. But they’re not getting much in the way of formal development, such as training, mentoring, and coaching—things they also value highly.

In comparison to training, development is people-centric, focusing more on the learner than the content being learned. Development refines employees’ soft skills, encourages personal growth, plans out career goals, and more. Ongoing employee development supports company goals because it enhances team member performance.

 

Benefits of Employee Training and Development Programs

Everyone has heard of “mobile-first” at this point, but now it’s time to think “people-first.” Companies are profitable because of the people behind the screens. If employee training and development are not priorities, don’t expect the workforce to improve.

Investing in employees, professionally and personally, will ultimately benefit the bottom line. In the same way software requires updates, employees need—and want—to advance in their careers. Employers need to start thinking about the ROI of both training and management development (starting Day 1).

Remember, the leaders of tomorrow are developed today.

 

Employee Retention

Companies need to focus on programs that will retain employees and make them assets instead of liabilities. If employees are unhappy, it’s probably safe to assume customer satisfaction is not at an all-time high. 94% of employees say they would stay with a company longer if it invested in their career development.

Employee learning and development in the workplace keeps employees active and committed to their jobs. Technical skills give employees confidence in their work, while personal development serves as a catalyst for growth.

 

Higher Employee Engagement

Highly engaged employees find value in their jobs and feel valued themselves, resulting in a mutual benefit. According to Gallup, employee engagement drives company growth. Employees who are more engaged at work double their odds of success compared to those who are disengaged.

When employees succeed, the business succeeds. Different methods of training can be used to increase employee engagement. Learn more about how a learning management system like Spoke® LMS can fast-track employee engagement.

 

Well Developed Leaders

With the increase of tech-savvy hires, the soft-skills gap is becoming more noticeable:

Soft skills—which are needed to effectively communicate, problem solve, collaborate and organize—are becoming more important for success as the workplace evolves socially and technologically.SHRM

Employee development is a way to refine high-demand soft-skills to form influential leaders. Internal employee development also helps foster a consistent company culture. A healthy company culture provides motivation and camaraderie for employees.

Develop managers and leaders who will inspire, support the company culture, drive growth, and engage others in the process.

 

Employee Training, Management, and Leadership Programs

Are you ready to invest in the future of your company? The potential of your employees is waiting to be developed. At Unboxed Training & Technology, we provide award-winning industry expertise to help you train, develop, sell, and succeed. Contact us today to learn more about employee training or custom management and leadership training programs.

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Leadership Training Topics: The Essential Checklist

Leadership Training Topics: The Essential Checklist

Whether we’ve been one of the parties in an awkward supervisor/supervisee relationship, or we’ve watched poor leadership practices impact our organization, we all know managing people requires a specific skill set. Just because we give an individual contributor a new title doesn’t mean they have the skills they need to lead teams effectively—much less enjoy it.

A CareerBuilder survey reports more than 26% of managers said they weren’t ready to become a leader when they started managing others, and 58% said they didn’t receive any management training at all. According to the ATD whitepaper Experiential Learning for Leaders, only 28% of business executives say they’re effective at developing leaders.

Wow.

Leadership training is critically important. In this post, we hope to help you get started on the program your managers need. We’ll make it easy to identify the leadership training topics you need to consider, and we’ll explore different ways you can implement your program.

 

Leadership Training Topics

Even though the manager onboarding statistics are concerning, the good news is this—leadership training is a wonderful place to build a strong, sustainable culture of learning.

We’ve compiled a checklist of leadership training topics to help you answer this question: Where do my managers need to build their skills?

Leadership Learning Experiences

Okay, keep that strategy hat on and answer this next question: What type of training experience would be ideal for your managers?

Ultimately, you want to identify the must-haves that will unleash the most benefits for your company and culture. Here are some considerations to help you brainstorm. In order to meet business, manager, and team needs, many programs choose to blend two or three of these approaches.

 

IN-PERSON FACILITATED
PROS
CONS
More opportunities to bond, build a support network, and share best practices If facilitated as a full-day or multi-day event, follow-up activities should be developed and implemented to encourage application and defeat the “forgetting curve”
High learner accountability If facilitated as a full-day or multi-day event, may involve extra costs such as hotel, travel, and food
Limited distractions Managers are not as accessible to their team members
Can be developed in bite-sized formats and facilitated in-house to provide continuous learning

 

 VIRTUAL INSTRUCTOR-LED
 PROS
CONS
No travel required Fewer opportunities to bond, build a support network, and share best practices
Can be developed in bite-sized formats and facilitated in-house to provide continuous learning Difficult to measure engagement beyond course participation

Managers are susceptible to more distractions during the training

Technology challenges with video, Internet connectivity, and sound can negatively impact the learning experience

 

SELF-PACED ON DEMAND/JUST-IN-TIME
PROS
CONS
No travel required Fewer opportunities to bond, build a support network, and share best practices
Simple course completion tracking Difficult to measure engagement beyond course completion
Typically organized in bite-sized courses, so managers can balance training with supporting their teams Managers are susceptible to more distractions during the training
Consistent information and experience
Easy to administer

 

Leadership Training Timing

Based on our experience, the best time to enroll managers in training is right when they’ve been promoted, or “just in time.” Relevant leadership training is the antidote to sink-or-swim, a practice that hurts confidence, morale, and your company’s net promoter score.

Waiting for managers to ask for help is risky. You’ll lose productivity, and some of your managers with the potential to be great leaders might realize another company offers more support and professional development.

When it comes to leadership training, strike while the iron is hot, when managers are eager to learn. Proactively equip them with the skills they need to confidently excel in their new role.

 

Next Steps

Hopefully, you’re starting to get a vision for the type of leadership training topics your managers need, and the type of learning experiences that will support your goals. Keep in mind learning experiences can be combined in order to create a blended approach, and you can always hire a partner to help you develop your strategy.

Managers want to feel equipped for their roles so they can make a positive impact on your company and the lives of their direct reports. When you build their skills and confidence, you create a more sustainable organization and a better place to work.

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What Brené Brown Teaches Us About Effective Leadership Training

What Brené Brown Teaches Us About Effective Leadership Training

After recently finishing Brené Brown’s newest book, Dare to Lead, I already think it’s my favorite book of the year – and it’s not even summer yet! I resonated so much with this book personally, and as someone who professionally helps organizations grow their teams, it was hard to ignore what Brown’s message means for how we develop effective leadership training.

Brown defines a leader as “anyone who takes responsibility for recognizing the potential in people and ideas, and has the courage to develop that potential.”

Throughout the book, she answers the question leaders in organizations ranging from entrepreneurial startups to Fortune 50 companies are asking: How do you cultivate braver, more daring leaders, and how do you embed the value of courage in your culture?

What struck me was that I’ve always thought of courage as an inherent trait; however, thankfully for Brené Brown, I now understand it differently. In Brown’s words, “it is less about who people are, and more about how they behave and show up in difficult situations.”

And fortunately, courage is a collection of four skill sets that we can learn. Yes. Learn!

The four courage skill sets are:

  • Rumbling with Vulnerability
  • Living into Our Values
  • Braving Trust
  • Learning to Rise

Most effective leadership training today contain these four components. Let’s look more closely at how we can teach and develop these skills in our content.

 

Four Effective Leadership Training Components

1. Rumbling with Vulnerability

If we want to develop daring leaders that push our organizations forward, we must create environments where our leaders and teams can be vulnerable. Brown defines vulnerability as, “the emotion we experience during times of uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.” And I think we can all agree that in our work, we encounter at least two of these on a regular basis. After all, some of the most life changing inventions of all time – the lightbulb, air travel, and the iPhone – definitely didn’t come in the world without a little uncertainty and risk.

Creating Psychologically Safe Environments

Brown writes, “If we want to people to fully show up, to bring their whole selves including their unarmored, whole hearts – so that we can innovate, solve problems, and serve people – we have to be vigilant about creating a culture in which people feel safe, seen, heard, and respected.”

Google’s five-year study on highly productive teams found that psychological safety – team members feeling safe to take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other – was “far and away the most important of the five dynamics that set successful teams apart.”

So, how do we train our leaders to create these kinds of environments? We need to train leaders on listening, honesty, and keeping confidence with a heavy emphasis on emotional intelligence.

We also need to teach that courage and fear are not mutually exclusive. You can feel brave and afraid at the same time. This is vulnerability and it’s okay. When our leaders are beating this drum and encouraging their teams to embrace these feelings, we’ll get innovation and creative-problem solving as a result.

We Need to Rumble

According to Brown, a rumble is a “discussion, conversation, or meeting defined by a commitment to lean into vulnerability, to stay curious and generous, to stick with the messy middle of problem identification and problem solving, to take a break and circle back when necessary, to be fearless in owning our parts, and to listen with the same passion with which we want to be heard.”

And in order for our teams to rumble with vulnerability, we need to empower our leaders against rewarding armoring behaviors like blaming, shaming, cynicism, perfectionism, and emotional stoicism. It’s time to take the armor off, and when it’s laid to the side, we’ll get teams that can fully thrive and create groundbreaking work.

 

2. Living into Our Values

Organizations and Leaders Need to Define their Values

In the organizational development world, we hear about values a lot. Many of our organizations have them (if yours doesn’t, advocate to make them a priority), but how many of us have taken the time to define our own values? The foundation of effective leadership training should be helping your leaders intentionally define their values. Brown recommends having just two values. Why? Because according to her research, “The participants who demonstrated the most willingness to rumble with vulnerability and practice courage tethered their behavior to one or two values, not ten. At some point, if everything on the list is important, then nothing is truly a driver for you. It’s just a gauzy list of feel-good words.”

Translate Values from Ideals to Behaviors

It’s not enough for organizations and leaders to just identify values, we have to teach people the skills they need to demonstrate them. I think Brown explains it best when she says, “The reason why we roll our eyes when people start talking about values is that everyone talks a big values game but very few people actually practice one.”

And the proof is in the pudding, according to Brown, “Only about 10 percent of organizations have operationalized their values into teachable and observable behaviors that are used to train their employees and hold them accountable.” Yikes!

This means that our leadership training needs to clearly outline how the organization’s and leader’s values translate into specific behaviors. Here’s an example of what this looks like from Brown’s organization. “Be Brave” is the organizational value and below that are the three behaviors to support it.

Be Brave
  • I set clear boundaries with others.
  • I lean into difficult conversations, meetings, and decisions.
  • I talk to people, not about them.

3. Braving Trust

Without trust, we have no connection, and if we can’t connect, vulnerability has no place. Trust is so vital to our teamwork that in Fortune’s research done for the annual list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For, they found that, “Trust between managers and employees is the primary defining characteristic of the very best workplaces.”

Brown takes our understanding of trust even further by defining the seven elements of trust (she calls this The BRAVING Inventory), so leaders have the language they need to give constructive feedback to their teams. She says, “Rather than rumbling generally about trustworthiness and using the word trust, we need to point to specific behaviors. We need to be able to identify exactly where the breach lies and then speak to it.” Your leadership training should be speaking to these seven elements too.

The BRAVING Inventory – The Seven Elements of Trust
  • Boundaries: You respect my boundaries, and when you’re not clear about what’s okay and not okay, you ask.
  • Reliability: You do what you say you’ll do.
  • Accountability: You own your mistakes, apologize, and make amends.
  • Vault: You don’t share information or experiences that are not yours to share.
  • Integrity: You choose courage over comfort.
  • Nonjudgement: We can talk about how we feel and ask for help without judgment.
  • Generosity: You extend the most generous interpretation possible to the intentions, words, and actions of others.

4. Learning to Rise

Daring leaders also need resilience skills. Brown says, “We can’t expect people to be brave and risk failure if they’re not prepped for hard landings.” Effective leadership training wouldn’t be complete without content on these skills. Brown has created a process called Learning to Rise that outlines how to be resilient.

The Learning to Rise Process
  • The Reckoning: Knowing that we’re emotionally hooked and then getting curious about it.
  • The Rumble: Acknowledging the stories (often untrue and based on our fears and insecurities) we tell ourselves to make meaning of hard situations.
  • The Revolution: Taking off the armor and rumbling with vulnerability, living into our values, braving trust with open hearts, and learning to rise so we re-claim authorship of our own stories and lives is the revolution.

In the spirit of Brené Brown, I’ll be vulnerable with you. Writing this post was challenging! Dare to Lead is chock-full of wisdom that should not only impact how we create meaningful and effective leadership training for our organizations, but also how we personally lead ourselves and our teams. Brown gives us so much valuable information that can be applied to leadership training (definitely read the book for yourself), and the four components you just read about are what I think is missing from leadership training today.

I’m so grateful for Brené Brown and the work she’s doing to help us step into daring leadership. When these tactics are incorporated into our leadership training, we’ll get the results we’re looking for and arm our leaders with the meaningful information and skills they need to be successful.

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