When I worked as a senior training specialist at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, part of my job was to create special courses for business units. It was a great experience and I took a lot of internal counseling techniques. The most important skill I developed was how to build empathy for client challenges. Attentive listening and dialogue with the client were key to creating an effective course that best addressed customer issues.
Here are three methods that have become one of the most reliable tools of internal counseling.
1. A theory to be executed
After studying the motivations of buyers, Clayton Christensen developed the theory of “Vacancies to be done” (JTBDT). You may have heard the famous phrase that people buy drills not because they want a drill; they want half-open holes. Managers don’t want courses to just send their people to classes. They want knowledge and behavior to change as a result of the course.
According to the JTBDT, you first determine the jobs that students must perform. For example, students should create a spreadsheet to analyze data from the current process. The work that needs to be done is data analysis. Currently, students have only a basic knowledge of spreadsheets and data analysis. They spend hours creating a spreadsheet, collecting data and analyzing it. This is their pain.
Your task as an in-house consultant is to create a course that eases students ’pain by giving them the spreadsheet skills needed to benefit from their advanced spreadsheet and analysis skills. Start by identifying your prospective students ’jobs that need to be met, the work-related pain, and how your course can alleviate the pain by giving students a profit.
2. Look and understand with design thinking
In getting mine design thinking After getting certified by the LUMA Institute, I learned many techniques to help me better understand customer needs. Techniques such as building a map of a client’s process, observing one day of a student’s life, and being able to visually display their major problems, proved invaluable.
Another useful technique of design thinking is “testing aloud». I would like the client to complete the work assignment by telling me their thoughts and decisions as they complete the steps. Testing aloud helps me understand the difficulties of their current job. Based on my observations, I can come up with ways to relieve pain and succeed for students.
3. Pilot courses
Pilot courses are a great way to test the information you have gathered using the first two methods. Your first drafts of pilot courses don’t have to be detailed; Usually I start with learning goals and outline the topics I show the client. After approving the learning objectives and plan, I fill in the rest of the learning information. I am conducting a quick course with my colleagues to gain their understanding.
For the first year with students, I invite supervisors to observe. I also hire a colleague to make notes about my delivery and how students respond to the course. After the course, I work with a colleague to analyze assessments, peer comments, and supervisor comments to refine the course. I will do a couple more course cycles to improve it. Upon completion of the course I will review it every six months to confirm that I meet the client’s needs.
As a training manager, you have a great responsibility to help the organization achieve its strategic goals by improving its workforce skills. Developing in-house counseling skills will help you design and conduct courses and programs that best meet both individual and stakeholder needs.