“We need training!”, they yell, excitedly and greedily across the table.  They act like they are giving us charity by inviting us into their exclusive club.  I, the lowly learning professional, being allowed to sit at the table of a project, whose owner honestly believes that this is their life’s work.

Sometimes, this is where I have to stifle my eye roll or yawn.  I’ve been at a lot of tables with a lot of project owners who think this project, THIS PROJECT, will redefine the industry.  Whatever that industry is.  And training?  They don’t want training.    They want a commercial and they want that commercial to radically change how people interact with their project, but are not prepared in the least to acknowledge that link if it works.

How many times have I explained to people that web-based training can’t really teach and assess for things like soft and selling skills?  They can teach the mechanics, they can maybe increase the confidence of someone to try it, but they certainly can’t assess it.  I can create something that absolutely assesses if you know how a product works and its features and benefits, but that’s not a predictor of if they’ll like it enough or believe in it enough to recommend it to customers.  You may pass my quiz on coaching and feedback, but that doesn’t mean you’re a good manager or capable of building relationships with your direct reports.

And yet – they need to be trained.  And everyone wants the slick looking animated training that’s the right mixture of funny and pithy and relate-able.  But no one is willing to coach people through the adaptation of change, which is the necessary next step.

I sometimes wonder if that’s a good thing.  If the general public realizes that coaching is the biggest piece to the puzzle, will they even need us anymore?


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