Mentoring is the Bridge for Growth

You may be surprised to learn that, it is very likely your professional development programs, even your mentoring program, are not achieving anywhere NEAR what they might if you just knew and applied a few facts in those programs. You CAN have more powerful and improved performance as a result of your training and other professional growth activities. You CAN dramatically increase the impact of your mentoring !  Here is how – a gift to you of critical research and an image of how to put that knowledge to work in your professional development and mentoring programs and in your mentoring.


INDEX:


The Research on “Transfer of Training”

 

In 1987, Bruce Joyce and Beverly Showers released the findings of their ground-breaking research into the extent of implementation resulting for various modes of training and follow up support. This information has become the prime mover behind the increase in what is known as “coaching”. A summary of their findings is provided below, and they are very dramatic.

The research on the need for “in-situation”** coaching:

  • Learners that will transfer a new skill into their practice as a result of learning a theory = 5%
  • Learners that will transfer a new skill into their practice as a result of learning a theory & seeing a demonstration = 10%
  • Learners that will transfer a new skill into their practice as a result of theory, demonstration & practice during the training = 20%
  • Learners that will transfer a new skill into their practice as a result of theory, demonstration, practice &corrective feed back during the training = 25%
  • Learners that will transfer a new skill into their practice as a result of theory, demonstration, practice, feed back during training &in-situation coaching = 90%

In-situation” coaching and mentoring is that which is done on an individual basis, typically in the work place of the learner, and about that person’s work. This is in contrast to such support provided during a training. In-situation support is about the adaptation of that training to integrate it into the learner’s daily work, and to build on the learner’s current knowledge, skills, and strengths. This understanding is a critical difference that makes a BIG difference.

A BIG caution
It is necessary to place this work on “coaching” within the context of the mentoring relationship. In other words, just providing technical support (coaching) is NOT enough to make sure that employees actually implement in practice what they have learned in trainings and to improve their performance.

Joyce & Showers, acknowledge that NO ONE will take the risks of growing in front of another person, or take their advice, and try to apply their “coaching” unless they first have a relationship of mutual trust with that person.

That is why it is critical to place coaching within the mentoring relationship. Mentoring provides that emotional;y safe, positive context within which effective coaching can lead to risk-taking for the sake of learning and growth. For more on the differences between mentoring and coaching click here.


The Mentoring Bridge

Mentoring - the BRIDGE for ImplementationThe above research by Joyce and Showers (1987) shows that the “waters” of implementation are “shark-infested” and are often not fertile areas for risk-taking, growth, or learning.

Only when coaching and mentoring are provided is it reasonable to expect that employees will be able to:

> adapt to their own specific needs the strategies learned in training

> solve the problems of adoption and fitting new strategies to existing settings and integrate them with a person’s other skills, and…

> master the new strategies.

When that happens their day-to-day practice is improved and the desired results are increased.

The implications of this insight are GIGANTIC!

Whether that training is in a classroom and face-to-face, on-the-job, or e-learning on the web, these principles are at work and the results will be the same.

Except in the case of increasing awareness when no implementation is expected, the only time we should even provide any training to begin with is when we will also provide the follow up support people deserve to help them implement what the training has taught them.

Otherwise, why waste our time and resources to provide training we KNOW will rarely, if ever change practice?!   We shouldn’t!!