After the Training

11 months ago, David Sweet


This week I was honored to again be doing leadership training for some of Amazon’s global leadership team. Not only were there employees from Seattle, but also Europe and Asia joining as well. Much of what was covered emphasized DiSC for communication skills within a leadership teams. One of their objectives, which is an excellent objective that many companies find challenging, is how to retain what was learned.

There is a major buzz after training—everyone is excited, super charged, and ready to implement what they learned. Then the daily grind sets in. Challenges arise. Deadlines hit. The time spent in training is lost.

For that reason, the greatest way to make a consistent change in leadership and then in an organization, is through coaching. Training may give skills, but coaching makes the skills relevant to what’s happening in that leader’s work, and sometimes, life. In working with leaders across a variety of industries, I find specificity and relevance are key to learning. Executive coaching answers that need.

For example, I was working with a leader who not only wanted to help communicate better with her staff, but more importantly, it was managing upwards for her boss in Europe and locally that was a challenge. She understood how to emphasize certain points, knew the motivations of the managers, and the limitations. What really helped her excel, however, was role plays and practicing what was being discussed.

If you’re in a position to develop leaders, try this yourself. Some of these simple steps can really assist you in growing your staff:

Ask what’s the issue.

  1. Look at what the real challenge is and what the outcome should be. Make it specific. Ask your manager, “What specific outcome do you want?
  2. Then ask about any other issues, impacts there are in this situation.
  3. Now this is the step that is super important: rather than giving an answer, ask what they believe the answer is. Then role play it. Ask “How would the person react?” And react as naturally as possible. Ask about any insights.
  4. Now check the insights against the objective. Does there need to be another role play? Sometimes, it’s helpful to switch parts.
  5. Lastly, only at the end, give your advice, only if relevant. It may tie back in from the training that was received.

This is a sure fire way to make sure that the training sticks, is applicable to actual work situations, and most importantly, results in a new behavior and leadership growth. Once the training has been done, make it specific, and practice with role plays.