All Posts in covid-19

March 26, 2021 - No Comments!

How-to Guide: How do coaching and mentoring contribute to leadership development?

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In today’s dynamic and disruptive business environment, the right skills play a critical role in driving future success. High performance starts at the employee level, funneling up to the team or functional level, and further to top leadership. In fact, today’s employees are tomorrow’s leaders, they shall steer the organizational ship in the right direction, taking others along in achieving the business objective. Hence, it is imperative for organizations to invest in the apt leadership development program and learning tools to continuously build future-relevant competencies.

The New-Age Performance Paradigm

Performance management has evolved over the years, from a carrot-stick approach to a developmental focus. The boundaries between performance management and L&D are fast blurring, as new skills are required to navigate the new normal. In a bid to unleash employees’ innovation, energy, and commitment, the corporate leadership training ethos is now more of ‘direct-and-develop’, than ‘command-and-control,. Such democratization and digitalization of learning have compelled organizations to expand their learning offerings to include newer tools, such as learning management software, coaching mentoring, virtual classroom platforms, and holistic learning-experience platforms.

 

The Need for Coaching-Mentoring as a Leadership Development Tool

Developing leaders is a pan-organizational activity today, not limited to the higher echelons of the corporate hierarchy. With hierarchical silos melting apart in a hyper-connected, digital era, mid-level managers to are expected to lead in their own right. In fact, a fundamental shift is seen in the manager-role; the role of a manager is becoming that of a coach. The modern-day manager is expected to ask questions instead of providing answers, to support employees instead of judging them, and to facilitate their teams’ development instead of dictating what has to be done. Hence, coaching and mentoring find application for leadership development across levels, from mid-level to senior-level employees.

Another important transformation driving the need for coaching-mentoring is the attitude towards capability development. Organizations have realized that continuous learning is the only way to stay relevant and future-ready, and hence, coaching-mentoring may prove a powerful tool to cultivate a continuous learning culture.

 

Coaching or Mentoring: What is right for your employees?

To effectively use coaching and mentoring for leadership development training, it is important to understand how they differ. Coaching is focused on building specific Knowledge, Skills, and Attitude (KSA), making it more performance-based or role-based for the present needs. Mentoring, on the other hand, is more relationship-based and focuses on holistic development i.e. professional, personal, and even spiritual; and is more ongoing in nature. These differences complement each other, making both modalities valuable and necessary in building sustainable leaders. It is up to L&D to be blend both together in the right manner and curate a powerful, unbeatable offering for developing future leaders.

While the conventional concepts of coaching and mentoring apply, the rise of future-skills such as digital skills and social skills offer organizations the opportunity to institutionalize reverse-mentoring- a concept where young employees who are digital-natives (such as millennials) coach older employees on the new-age skills.

 

Assimilating Coaching-Mentoring into the Leadership Development Strategy

To truly make coaching and mentoring an integral part of executive leadership training, L&D professionals must carefully curate the finer details, every step of the way.

Formalizing Coaching-mentoring as a Process: This starts with outlining the coaching-mentoring need to designing or sourcing the appropriate tool, to implementing the solution in a phased manner. A formalized coaching process with process-steps factored into the learning tool is the best way to make a real skill-building impact.

Building A Coaching Culture: Coaching must become institutionalized into the nuances of organizational learning, especially in executive development programs and processes. Only then can it bring about real and sustained skill-change. This is possible only when leaders themselves act as icons of futuristic learning and become coaches/mentors to support and guide employees. Streamlining the process-aspect is a bare-basic hygiene factor, but L&D must focus a lot more on the people aspect. L&D leaders need to drive a mindset change and for this, leaders must espouse values such as openness and transparency, collaboration, shared learning, and so on. Encouraging developmental dialogue amongst people is instrumental to coaching-mentoring success. Coaching-mentoring readiness requires a very different set of values and behaviors, which shall then entrench into a coaching culture.

Coaching as an Organizational Capability

 To instill the right values and behaviors and foster such a culture, organizations must treat coaching-mentoring as a capability in itself. This means that coaching-mentoring must be treated as a core managerial skill so that managers and coaches truly relate to the coaching culture and take proactive efforts to become effective coaches and mentors. For example, coaching and mentoring demand significant manager-time and attention, and in the business of day-to-day work, coaching-mentoring may take a slip. Hence, it is important to educate managers on the “why” i.e. show them the purpose. When managers and leaders coach or mentor with a clear purpose, they may be able to better see the collateral benefits of coaching-mentoring. A top-down inspiration also works well i.e. creating “coaching-mentoring models” in the top leadership, and constantly communicating how they connect with employees can make people realize that coaching-mentoring is a core organizational capability. Last but not the least, L&D needs to empower managers and leaders by making powerful digital tools available and accessible. Applying emerging technologies such as Big Data and Artificial Intelligence to coaching-mentoring tools can provide managers with real-time performance data. This, in turn, may encourage them to stop monitoring and controlling employees, and following a more developmental and democratic people-management approach. To encourage actual adoption, HR must educate managers to use and navigate the modules on learning tools and platforms, ideally in a multi-device setup. A seamless user-experience is first and foremost in creating a ‘pull’ towards coaching-mentoring.

Above all, coaching-mentoring learning-actions must be well-integrated with other talent functions and systems such as performance management systems, learning systems, total rewards systems, HRMS, etc. so that it is treated as a core organizational capability.

Coaching and mentoring is not a one-time intervention, it is an ongoing commitment involving the time, effort, and investment of employees, managers, and leaders alike. To truly imbibe coaching-mentoring as a part of the leadership development strategy, L&D must gain the continued buy-in of the CXO suite. L&D needs to build a solid business case, such that the cause of leadership development is co-owned by business, L&D, HR and top leadership,  and not just by L&D folks.

 

Sources / References:

 

  1. LinkedIn-Leading-with-Learning-Insights-and-Advice-Report - https://learning.linkedin.com/content/dam/me/learning/resources/pdfs/LinkedIn-Leading-with-Learning-Insights-and-Advice-Report_.pdf
  2. https://www.csoinsights.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2017/10/2017-SE-Executive-Summary.pdf
  3. https://www.td.org/insights/developing-future-leaders-with-mentoring-and-coaching
  4. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/280275
  5. https://hbr.org/2019/11/the-leader-as-coach

March 23, 2021 - No Comments!

How-to Guide: Implementing Coaching & Mentoring in the workplace post COVID-19

implementing coaching and mentoring post covid-19

The year 2020 opened new realities as businesses had to adapt to the COVID-induced new normal. As entire nations went into lockdown and businesses shut down, virtually became the go-to way of working. While essential services continued the field, a huge segment of the employee population was forced to work remotely, almost overnight. Business priorities changed and new competencies emerged because employees had to rise up to the occasion and perform in earlier unheard-of ways. Moreover, organizations had to engage with these people differently, to keep them motivated in an impersonal virtual environment. Employee engagement, learning & development, and performance management took on a new avatar, as HR and business leaders strove to engage their people in the disruptive environment.

The L&D and Coaching-mentoring Outlook during COVID-19

66% of global L&D professionals agree that their function has become a much more strategic part of their organization. CXOs have reported a 3X increase in training efforts during the lockdown and have seen virtual learnings breaking down legacy barriers.

L&D took on a strategic role. The development focus increased, as upskilling and reskilling became a CXO agenda. As learning went virtual, eLearning solutions became mainstream. Organizations hustled to convert physical formats such as Instructor-Led Training (ILT) to virtual formats such as Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) and Self-paced learning. This was done across organizational levels, and especially for executive development, as leadership became a critical competency to ride over the crises. As managers we're expected to lead and coach their team members, L&D needed to design the learning experience while upholding the humane elements of mental health, happiness, and holistic well-being. Softer skills such as emotional resilience, mindfulness, and relearning emerged as critical future-skills. This demanded a coaching-mentoring developmental focus. During the pandemic, L&D professionals took to exploring the right learning experience platform to establish virtual coaching and virtual mentoring. This need remains in post-pandemic times too.

Step-by-step guide for implementing Coaching and Mentoring post COVID-19

Institutionalizing a virtual coaching and mentoring process should be a well thought through exercise:

  • Conceptualization: L&D must move away from the cookie-cutter approach and create a personalized and relatable learning experience for both learner and coach/mentor. The construct of coaching must be aligned with the business needs of the organization. Hence, L&D must work closely with the business and the C-suite at the concept stage to create business-relevant and engaging content.
  • Design: Coaching and mentoring modules must be ingrained in the virtual training platforms, by putting in place a proper process. L&D may choose to invest in existing coaching tools and mentoring tools, for which they should do a thorough assessment of digital learning solutions available in the market, to suit one’s talent outcomes. Many eLearning companies have coaching-mentoring modules as a part of their eLearning solutions, it is up to L&D leaders to don the business hat and identify what works for the business and what does not.
  • Initiation: Any learning intervention requires an extensive change management process for people to adopt and embrace it. Before directly implementing the coaching solution or mentoring solution, L&D must orient stakeholders to the new process through extensive education.
  • Implementation: An initial pilot test in any team or function can help gauge the readiness for pan-organization implementation. Technical implementation should be such that the tool provides a glitch-free and seamless user-experience because a great employee experience is essential to ensure the adoption of coaching-mentoring as a way of life. Above, all managers and leaders must take ownership and responsibility to coach their people, so HR must drive a formal process for coaching-mentoring.
  • Assessment: It is important to track learning progress through qualitative inputs and metrics. According to the Kirkpatrick model, L&D must try to achieve Level 3 (Behaviour) and Level 4 (Results) outcomes, but in the nascent stages, it is also important to track operational metrics such as completion rates. Seeking qualitative feedback also goes a long way in gaining useful behavioral insights and enabling continuous improvement in the process.

 

The Right Blend of High-Tech and High-Touch

The virtualization of coaching and mentoring is the way ahead. The efficiency and convenience of technological tools need to be balanced with the softer human-element. L&D needs to complement the tool-experience with timely and quality human interventions. L&D must build coaching as a core capability, by seeking the dedicated involvement of managers and leaders. Striking the right balance between high-tech and high-touch will help curate the best learning experience, and thereby encourage people to adopt a coaching ‘mindset’.

Fostering a Coaching Mindset

L&D and leaders’ roles do not end with implementing coaching and mentoring processes and tools. In fact, this is just the beginning. Coaching and mentoring success requires a ‘growth’ and ‘developmental’ mindset across employees, and this, in turn, demands an extensive change management exercise. For coaching to be entrenched as a core organizational capability, L&D must create a ‘pull’ by providing the best employee experience. Constant communication i.e. highlighting success stories, and portraying leaders as successful coaches and mentors, will make employees ‘aspire’ for the coaching or mentoring experience. Leaders may talk about their leadership journeys i.e. how coaching and mentoring helped them pave their careers the way they wanted while aligning with the business needs. Such communication must be backed up with the right educational resources to encourage people to adopt coaching and mentoring.

The impact of coaching and mentoring is not limited to mere leadership development training but extends to broader agendas such as employee engagement and wellbeing. Due to the decentralization of leadership, coaching-mentoring finds value across hierarchies and is a powerful tool for organization-wide people-transformation. Hence, L&D must constantly seek business buy-in to make it an integral part of the leadership development strategy.

Source and Reference

  1. LinkedIn-Leading-with-Learning-Insights-and-Advice-Report
  2. https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/in/Documents/human-capital/in-consulting-accelerated-hc-consulting-noexp.pdf
  3. https://www.sellingpower.com/2013/02/07/10102/strengthen-your-core
  4. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jonyounger/2020/04/22/your-leaders-need-help-adapting-to-our-new-world-of-work-meet-aceup/?sh=75e938f629ca
  5. https://www.td.org/insights/developing-future-leaders-with-mentoring-and-coaching
  6. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/280275
  7. https://hbr.org/2019/11/the-leader-as-coach

March 17, 2021 - No Comments!

Transformation is Not Just Another Change

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'Transformation' has become the buzzword over the last decade. Not just that, it has replaced 'change' in the business vocabulary. But are the two words the same in meaning and essence?

Before I say a big No, I think it is essential to make a case for both change and transformation and draw out the similarities and differences.

For the sake of an informed argument, let us first look at how each is defined and then call out the parameters on which we can compare the two.

In the dictionary, 'change' is described as 'to substitute or replace something.' Whereas 'Transformation' is defined as 'a complete change, usually into something with an improved appearance or usefulness.' 

These descriptions bring two pictures to my mind; that of a snake and a caterpillar. When a snake sheds its skin, it changes, but when a caterpillar emerges from a pupa and turns into a butterfly, it transforms.

Still, sounds similar?

Understanding the difference today is far more crucial than ever before, especially when enterprises are faced with two of the biggest challenges ever. The first, most unprecedented challenge is that of surviving the pandemic. And the second is of meeting and seizing the opportunity of digital business acceleration.

The sheer magnitude and complexity of these challenges call for a complete shift in how we do things and how we approach them. What has worked so far will not work anymore. With entire industries being reshaped, organizations must rethink their strategy, rebuild their leadership capabilities, reinforce their talent pools, and revamp their culture. That does not sound like a mere change now, does it?

Change can be small and incremental or large and complex. It emanates from the desire to do things differently, to achieve faster, cheaper, and better results. It needs constant monitoring and maintenance. It is limited to changes at the level of process or procedures. These processes and procedures have dedicated owners who continuously measure them against set metrics that point to continuous improvements. It is a short-term response to the market forces and is based on assumptions. It is not significant in impact as it is limited to the internal mechanics of an organization's functions.

E.g., Security upgrades, ERP software migration, entering new verticals based on past success in similar spaces.

Transformation, however, is almost always significant in its magnitude of impact. It demands a complete shift from what you have been so far and aimed for so far as an organization. The goals are not merely incremental but completely new. Unlike change, which is based on past success stories, transformation is a quantum shift from what you did or were before. The point of reference is from this time on. It is future-looking.

To be able to do something completely different, anew, requires a fundamental evolution. Transformation requires modifying core beliefs and long-term behaviors, sometimes in profound ways, to achieve the desired results. You begin by questioning why you do what you do and the way you do it. It is an inward-facing exercise requiring a complete overhaul of an organization's makeup, strategy, capability, and culture. Since it alters the organization's carbon, it has a far-reaching impact on the entire organization and the ecosystem the organization thrives in.

In the wake of the COVID 19 pandemic, companies quickly shifted to a work-from-home model. This was a momentary change in the way they operated. The idea was to go back to the way we worked before, as soon as we overcome the problem at hand. But Slack's announcement that they are permanently moving to a hybrid workforce model that eliminates the idea of 'headquarters' as the heart of its operations in June 2020 is a transformation.

Digital change and digital transformation each have a different focus. While moving to cloud-based project management will deliver efficiency is a change initiative, increasing data performance through migration to the cloud is a transformation. Entering new markets based on historic data is change, but big-data-driven marketing automation is transformation.

In simple terms, when you improve processes and procedures intending to be efficient by upgrading technology, you are undertaking change. But when you leverage technology in every aspect of your business and fundamentally rethink how you work with it and through it, it is a transformation.

It is the intent and magnitude of shift and impact that sets the two apart. And these examples clearly show that: change is a short-term enabler that helps an organization quickly adapt or respond to external factors like trends and shifting demands; transformation, however, redefines what success looks like and how you plan to get there.

March 15, 2021 - No Comments!

Survey Report: Impact of COVID-19 on L&D

the impact of covid-19 on L&D research report y KNOLSKAPE

With the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses and organizations faced sudden slowdown and uncertainty. Lockdown forced people to work in radically new ways, and organizations rediscovered and repurposed ‘how to work and sustain’. Leaders had to balance the new business priorities while finding ways to engage and leverage their people. Workforce issues became central business issues and this compelled the HR organization to respond quickly and creatively.

KNOLSKAPE recently conducted a survey with global leaders from the L&D space to understand the various challenges with their learners and L&D function. The report throws light on showcasing the emerging trends and insights identified from the survey, research, and interviews.

Inside the report.
  1. The Upskilling-Reskilling Need
  2. Challenges for Organizational Learning
  3. Long Term Trends
  4. The Skills of the Future
  5. Way Ahead

DOWNLOAD THE REPORT



October 19, 2020 - No Comments!

Learning and Development During The Time Of COVID-19

Author Aditi A Kashyap

COVID -19 is changing the way people learn and work across the world. With unpredictability comes trepidation. Few could have predicted the way COVID-19 would ravage the world, casting uncertainty over the future and leaving everyone’s personal and professional lives in limbo.

As the world grapples with the pandemic, the learning and development industry is making efforts to create innovative ways of learning using digital solutions. The pandemic has largely influenced the way we learn, work, and interact with people.

learning and develpoment during the time of covid
5 reasons for shifting to VILT infographic

5 Reasons For Shifting To Virtual Instructor-led Sessions

  1. Cost optimization:

There are no travel and logistics costs associated with online learning and it is more cost-effective compared to classroom learning

  1. Flexibility

Virtual learning gives learners the opportunity to access courses on demand and learn from anywhere at any time. It also allows them to revisit the concepts which enable greater retention of the learning

  1. Shorter training time

Classroom sessions can go on for days. Virtual sessions take a much shorter time to be conducted and this means that the learner can learn the same concepts in much lesser time

  1. Learner-centric

Since learning is “on-demand”, learners have more control to go through learning at their own pace and convenience. They can always refer to the training if needed.

  1. Learning retention

According to a study by the Research Institute of America, the learning retention rate is in the range of 25% - 60% for eLearning, whereas it is 8% - 10% for face-to-face training

How L&D professionals make the best of the pandemic situation?

  • Convert Instructor-Led Training programlearning retention statss to Virtual Instructor-led training programs 

Asking a facilitator to send a recording of the training to participants is definitely boring and can draw out a learner’s interest. Ensure that the facilitator is enthusiastic enough to impart knowledge virtually by using different modalities- videos, infographics, interactions, quizzes, facilitator-led group discussions, and debates.

  • Build new topics on skill development and emotional well-being

Offer the best of courses to your learners on their area of interest that will help them build on their existing skillsets relevant to their job roles. As we are living in challenging times, it is also important to have the know-how to manage ourselves as our personal well-being has a direct bearing on our professional development. Create new content for topics like emotional well-being and positive psychology, and get experts to deliver it.

  • Make micro-learning a regular feature

Create a culture of continuous learning by sending regular learning material to your learners. This could be in the form of videos, articles, or interactive quizzes. Gamify the learning experience by conducting virtual quizzes that induce a sense of competition among the learners.

  • Introduce more collaboration tools

Have discussion forums in place on collaborative learning platforms such as LMS, Slack, etc., Introduce new discussion topics and open comment threads. This will minimize the loss felt by learners used to in-person discussions.

  • Stay connected and keep your communication regular

It is natural for learners to disengage themselves in a virtual setup. A sense of complacency might set in among learners for having worked from home for very long. It is important to regularly inform your learners about the ongoings in the organization, about Learning and Development initiatives, and follow up with them on learning completion of ongoing training initiatives. Look out for avenues to regularly engage your learners.

The only way out is to embrace the new norm of virtual learning. Organizations must take definitive steps to be as innovative as possible to pique learner’s interest in learning virtually.

aditi kashyap roubd logoAbout the Author

Aditi A Kashyap is a Senior Associate, Marketing at KNOLSKAPE. Her interest to write about learning and development trends comes fuelled by her professional background as a learning consultant having a keen interest to understand a learner’s psyche.