There are many reasons as to why group training sessions will not work. Even though old-style classroom-based training has many benefits, often, employees feel forced into attending, and this is not conducive to learning. It’s also possible that they are reluctant to have the spotlight on them or fear role-play, but whatever their concerns, training sessions take them too far out of their comfort zone. Even the most qualified of training professionals may struggle to bring everyone into the fore. Some employees will naturally get overlooked or fail to engage fully.
While traditional methods can and do work, coaching or one-to-one developmental sessions can instead take the pressure off the individuals and allow them to improve their confidence levels, becoming a participant willingly. If employees fail to fully engage within a session, there may be an inner fear or something holding them back. They may not be able to express themselves and are reluctant for group participation. Spending too much time trying to activate their participation may be a waste of your time and the time of all the other attendees. Taking these reluctant attendees into a more intimate and informal coaching-style session can help progression in leaps and bounds. The ability of the training professional to develop rapport is far easier when there are only two people in the room. In this way, the reluctant employee has no place to hide, and if there are real issues, it is likely that they will open up when there is little chance of being overheard.
When there are difficult issues, the best way to engage with someone in this situation is to show that their learning and development needs are as important as everyone else’s. By explaining that you understand fully that not everyone learns in the same way or embraces the same style of training can help them to relax. It takes the pressure away from them.
Coaching can work surprisingly well providing the learner becomes relaxed and focused. Using open questions can help to engage the employee and to force them to respond, but closed questions can also be extremely useful. Any coach must listen with intent, not always to what is being said but what is not being said. Coaching must be a two-way street. It is not a case of the employee undergoing a series of questions but an open communication that builds into a nurturing environment and one where the employee can really start to shine. Once the coach understands what the issues are, steps can be taken to overcome them. Employees may simply need to attend smaller or more focused training sessions.