5. How would you define Training Facilitation?
Responses were received from 5 of the 6 respondents.
a) Alexandra views training as the passing of knowledge from an expert in the subject area to another person.
b) Rosangela – feels that training is different from the past where sharing of knowledge was done by a teacher to his/her students. The centre of responsibility for learning is now placed on the student/client, and the trainer assists them to achieve their training objectives.
c) Leon – Training is imparting of information by the trainer to those being trained. The facilitator as stated by Leon is not the retainer of the information, rather he/she is the holder of a process which moves a group towards a collective outcome. In a training facilitation workshop, some information will be imparted; however, most importantly, the process should facilitate movement towards acquisition of information by the trainees.
d) Rob views the trainer as an expert whose job is to facilitate learning through sharing of new ideas/strategies while engaging the participants to retain and apply what they have learnt.
e) Jennie suggests that facilitation is the delivery of training. She finds that training is most powerful when the trainer embraces the principle of each participant attending training with some knowledge about the subject area. Jennie stated that she learns from her students and regards the training process as a flat table with trainer and participants who are regarded as equals with both bringing knowledge. Training, she feels, is more performance oriented; while knowledge is demonstrated as skill development and performance. Jennie feels that performance is driven by more of what is in the heart and less on skills.
6. ‘What is Group Coaching’?
Five of 6 responses were received as follows:
i) Alexandra – Group coaching is the same as individual coaching, except that the coach may be coaching from 5 to 8 people in the same room at the same time.
ii) Rosangela felt that in group coaching, there are approximately twelve coachees who participate in a common framework as well as work on their own agendas.
iii) Leon noted that there are two types of group coaching:
Type 1 moves persons as a group towards individual outcomes. Here, the coach is the holder of the process.
Type 2 is depicted in the following example; a group of 3 persons from a small company, all have collective and individual goals, some of which they will achieve together. What they achieve as a group (collective outcome) however, will depend on what they are capable of doing as individuals.
iv) Rob – defined group coaching as 2 or more people who share presence, ground rules, an assigned topic, or who have an issue and would like support. The facilitator and coach will ask great questions, and participants may also ask questions and share their perspectives.
v) Jennie stated that in group coaching, having a common interest is important for the group, as is individual contribution from all its members. Coaching a group is about bringing people together to share, learn, and help each other move forward.
6a. How is group coaching similar to training?
Five of 6 persons responded to this question.
a) Alexandra stated that group coaching is similar to training only in the fact that group dynamics is at work in both.
b) For Rosangela, similarities exist in that they are both processes for learning, which require everyone to be open to learn new ideas, to improve their skills, and to reflect on their own performance. Someone is in charge and leads the group in both situations.
c) Leon sees no similarity. He stated that in training, ideas are imparted and a learning format is used; which does not happen in the group coaching he does.
d) Rob suggested that they are similar in that interaction is with a group and not one on one. For training, the interaction could be with a small or large group, and with, at times, an assigned topic to help the trainer identify the participants’ skills;
e) Jennie feels that coaching a group is different from training.
6b. How is group coaching different from training?
Five of 6 persons responded.
i) Alexandra’s view is that the expertise of the group resides in all persons within the group and not in the facilitator.
ii) Rosangela – group coaching is different from training. The coach will follow the flow of the group – what the group brings to the discussions, their focus, objectives – and will use his/her coaching competencies to guide the group. There is no content evaluation, test or examination, and coachees are invited to take part and be 100% present. They may not be given any work material or participants’ notes as is done for trainees.
iii) Leon sees training as distinct from coaching and facilitation. Becoming a coach, he stated, has changed his understanding of how to develop people.
iv) Rob suggested that the difference is that the coach is not the expert; they are there to ask powerful questions and to elicit the answers from the client.
v) Jennie stated that coaching, unlike training, has no set performance training objectives; rather, performance objectives in coaching are determined by the client and there is less formality around the client knowing or meeting their objectives. The coaching conversations can be rich and persons get out of them what they can use in their everyday life. The role of the coach can be intimidating when we cannot determine structure. Jennie’s question at the end of her response was ‘how do we assess whether we are meeting our objectives in coaching?’ The writer is of the opinion that this question can be examined in another study.
7. Has there been a difference in your design, facilitation and delivery of training since practicing as a coach? If yes what has been different?
1) Alexandra stated that there has been differences, one of which is that she now places more accountability on the trainee.
2) Ann stated that she is much more aware of co-creating and being more collaborative with training participants.
3) Rosangela stated that there is difference, and she expects more change to come which will challenge and change people’s mindset. She presently does open dialogue with participants, pays more attention, listens more, and observes participants’ body language. Rosangela also tries to mirror for participants what she is noticing. She feels closer to her students and believes she will improve as she continues her coaching.
4) Leon agrees, that there is a difference. He stated that with coaching knowledge, he has gained a far greater capacity for empathy, and also wants the training participants to experience more empathy towards each other. Before, he allowed participants to communicate as they ‘showed up’. He has, through coaching, learnt to rely on the art of dialogue, to encourage coachees to listen to each other and to what is being said. Coaching knowledge has also helped him to focus on individuals as a collective.
5) Rob has also experienced changes since acquiring coaching knowledge and practicing as a coach. As a trainer, he provided the right answers for participants; more telling – being an expert. Later, when he incorporated a coaching approach in his workshops, he assisted persons to find the answers that are right for them. Presently, his strategy is not to provide answers, as everyone is unique; rather, he invites people to get curious, see ideas and decide if any sit with them. They may want to ‘play with the ideas’ and make them their own.
6) Jennie stated that she is new to coaching and is waiting to see what will be different for her.
8. How has training and coaching complemented each other?
A) Alexandra – Training helps her to manage exercises, and helps in building relationships while promoting a safe place for learning. Coaching complements self-learning for the coachee.
B) For Ann, coaching does things individually with people that cannot be accomplished in training, and vice versa. Also, trainers who are trained coaches tend to bring out the best in their participants.
C) Rosangela cited – trainees in this example. She had a wonderful experience at a company delivering 5 modules of training, with some of the trainees also experienced group coaching. The coaching experience was powerful; the students went through each session where they discussed and developed goals in their own reality. The use of the coaching approach in training helps trainees to listen more and to use powerful questions.
D) Leon opined that both disciplines go well together, and that more learning takes place in the follow-up process than in the training session. He suggests that there is no better follow-up to training than coaching which helps to impart knowledge to the collective group.
E) Rob sees the blend of coaching and training as supporting people to develop new strategies. Some love to be taught how to fish and others want to be handed the fish. Time, he stated can be a constraint and can influence the choices people make. Coaching is a longer process, and in training, the participants get enough information that can be used immediately.
F) Jennie – If training principles are followed, training and coaching can complement each other. If we can discover what our clients want to move forward to their vision, the principles can be generally applied and could transform our working relationships.
9. What are some situations in which coaching can substitute for training and vice versa?
1) Alexandra: This may be necessary when the client needs more knowledge or when a potential client requires new skills and knowledge.
2) Ann – stated that training and coaching both complement rather than substitute for each other. There are, at times, limits to how much progress the client can make in the one-to one setting; in this situation a large group setting could better help the coachee to ‘break through’. The coachee may return to individual coaching after the “aha” moments in the large group. In a good training session, questions are asked in a coaching way.
3) Rosangela – Companies in general think that developing a leadership programme is enough for their managers. When leaders have attended training programmes and not much demand is made for new content, they should think about asking for coaching for these leaders. To make contact with new content, means discussing in groups with peers, and learning from each other. Rosangela posits that if the executive has been attending training and still need skills, coaching, which provides a safe space to share in an individual way, can help them fill their needs. Training should be done for beginners or when a new subject is being shared with all company staff.
4) Leon stated that coaching and training are diametrically opposite in their approaches, fit well together, yet cannot be substituted for the other. A trainer is the holder of the information, with training also giving the trainee access to different methods; for example, self study via online, audio etc. In the coaching relationship , the client is the holder of the knowledge. Leon suggests that coaching and consulting may work together sometimes; however, he also does not see them substituting for each other.
5) Rob feels that substitution depends on the situation. If someone has contracted to receive coaching, the coach must honour the contract. The coach cannot switch without a request/agreement from the coachee. He suggests that some situations may require a teacher-led approach and others a coach approach. If he is contracted as a trainer, he can go use both training and coaching methods, and bring any tool, strategy and technique to the table. without asking the client’s permission. As a coach, however, we are ethically bound and should ask permission from the coachee before stepping out of that role.
10. Some situations that would give rise to a shift from training facilitation to coaching in a group or team setting
i) Alexandra -Team coaching is different from group coaching. The team is a unique group which is coached as one person. This method can be used when we need to create awareness around the team at the point at which they are; to gain more knowledge as potential clients, and/or to establish clear goals for the future. Group coaching consists of different individuals in the room, who want to be coached and who may also be sharing the cost.
ii) Ann: No response
iii) Rosangela – If we apply the same criteria to groups/teams as we do for individuals, then coaching rather than training is necessary. Coaching is a good tool for building trust, improving relationships, and for dialogue.
iv) Leon – gave an example of a small group with whom he is presently working. He views the group as a good case study for recognizing when the shift is helpful. There is recognition of collective goals; however, at times, an individual may have to be separated from the group for individual coaching to help them get to where they need to be, then move him/her back to the group to contribute to the collective goals.
v) Rob mentioned that in intuitive situations, for example, if the trainer asks the participants to explore the topic, and they decide on a highly personalised situation and could not agree on a strategy that may meet their needs, or he/she needs more information, has not defined their goal, or is not fully committed or motivated, the trainer might slip into coaching. vi) Jennie – the cue for the shift would be taken from the group or team.