CEO, Is your LnD killing you?

by Vivek Slaria Share via -



A person met with an accident on his way to work and was badly hurt. He had a deep cut in his head and bruises all over. The medical team reached the spot and rushed him to the nearest hospital. At the hospital the doctors came and started attending to the patient. They very carefully cleaned the wound on his leg and bandaged it beautifully. The doctors congratulated themselves on the great work done. The gash on the head was still bleeding.

This is the way learning is being driven in companies today. We are intervening where we always have by doing things we have always been doing. This includes conducting a training need assessment, discussions with leadership, creating a curriculum and delivering to that. Through this channel, by the time the consumer needs trickle down to a classroom, the impact is hugely diluted. The retention of the trainings is abysmally low. As per Training magazine, immediately after a training it is 50%. This falls to 10% in a week and by the end of a month it is down to 2%. It is therefore no surprise that leaders do not see a direct impact of the classroom on the field.

Trainings are failing to deliver direct business results.

The dynamics of the world we live in have changed from an era for which the trainings were built for. Here are the top three reasons why trainings are failing to deliver business results:

Does not deliver directly to a business outcome: There is only one customer, the person who chooses to pay for the value an organization creates. Every person within the organization has to deliver value directly to this customer. Training needs are driven more from people needs than customer needs. There is a vague connection between the two. It is assumed that serving one may serve the other. That is how it may start but the value chain is so long that by the time a class room training is conducted and its learning applied, only a very minor fraction is applied back. Post a training, while we may measure the outcome from a very narrow limited way of the training, its impact to the business outcome financially is not measured.

Adherence driven: Trainings as are delivered today were created for a previous era. This was an era where adherence was the norm. A supposed expert in the field will come, they will share the right way to do things and expect everyone to follow. By its very approach, the outcome is singular in nature. It prevents exploration. It stifles individual uniqueness and creates a culture of adherence versus creativity.

Internet has opened direct access to the best content directly from the researchers themselves. Trainings in organizations have still have not fully adapted themselves to harnessing this content meaningfully to make a difference to the customer.

Millennials do not like it: The millennial work force today has a very short attention span. They want to see the impact immediately and are not willing to wait for ever. Further the new age work force is brought up in an environment of personalization. If I have a problem, please help me fix very specifically that problem. Do not make me sit for two days, go through tomes of meaningless content when my problem may be addressed in an hour. Training's do just that, they club people together and try to solve a generic problem for a set of people. In the process they solve no-ones problem completely. 

People are important to long term competitive advantage

People are the nuclei from where an organization creates value for its consumers. To scale an organization, scaling its people is important. However scaling people is not easy. Linedin’s recent study reveals that 78% of companies find it difficult to fill their leadership positions.

Investment in people is therefore singularly the most important agenda that the CEO’s need to drive. And this space needs a transformation. It needs a transformation in the way it is being fundamentally delivered to become sharply business outcome oriented. It needs to be sharply transformed to deliver value to customers than executing a curriculum.

While there is no definite answer to what will help companies deliver to these new challenges in people development, coaching may offer a solution.

Coaching may offer a solution

Professional coaching is a time bound interaction between a coach and a coachee to help the business achieve a specific goal. The goal may be to help increase revenue, deliver a strategic project, drive innovation, improve leadership pipeline, increase executive presence among others.

Coaching is starts from a very clearly defined business outcome. It is intentionally made sharp to deliver results. It delivers results by helping a coachee be more explorative and then sharply action oriented. A coach questions a coachee to let go of personal barriers and start afresh. A coach delvers value by helping a coachee first go to a 60,000 feet view and then come down sharply to an execution bias and making a difference this and every week.  

Coaching is sharply personal. It does not focus on teaching models or psychology hoping the person will become aware and then maybe apply the results to the business. Coaching sharply focusses on the pain today, makes a person aware of just what is needed to solve that pain and then find solutions to that pain. The down time from the business is therefore much less. From a two days of an average workshop, coaching needs sixty minutes away from operational work. This time away is spent on sharpening the saw at the point where the saw will be used with the customer and not generically.

Coaching is not as expensive as it was made out to be. Its benefits need not be enjoyed only by the CEO or a handful of senior management. With technology and governance, it is now possible to allow the benefits of coaching to percolate deep within an organization towards an outcome and ready  more people to deliver the strategic objective.

Fortune 500 companies regularly use coaches to work with the people who make a difference to the organization. This includes their executive staff, senior and hi potential employees. Coaches work very sharply with these people to act as un invested trusted advisors on business and ensure the individuals drive them selves and their companies to success.

Let me wrap this by saying, let us intervene where an intervention needs to be made. That is very sharply with a consumer and target our complete attention in making that difference. A coach can help do this.   

Get a coach, or in the words of Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google  “Everyone needs a coach” 






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