Why skills are not formed during trainings – a case from HR-PRAKTIKAJanuary 25, 2021
About the case
Once upon a time, there was a large company – distributor of electrical products with a developed network of regional offices.
I have worked with a well-known training company for 10 years. Trainers regularly conducted sales training in branches, but few managers could demonstrate the professional skills developed during the pieces of training.
Understanding the reasons, we drew interesting conclusions. We started by defining how the concepts of “skills” and “training” are combined.
According to Wikipedia, “an indicator of the presence of a skill is that a person, starting to act, does not think in advance how he will carry it out, does not single out individual private operations from it.”
“Thanks to the formation of skills, the action is performed quickly and accurately, and you can concentrate on developing and obtaining new knowledge, skills, and abilities.”
That is, if the training formed the sales skills of managers, they would use the sales techniques mastered during the training.
But for some reason, this did not happen.
In the “classic” version, a group of no more than 20 people takes part in the training – an atmosphere of tolerance and trust is created, allowing the group members to feel comfortable.
It is generally accepted that it is the group dynamics that makes the training format of teaching especially effective.
The duration of the training in most cases is from one to three days. For training, as a rule, a presentation of the concept underlying the training is prepared, cases and exercises are used to assimilate the material.
During the training, presentation slides are demonstrated and commented, whiteboards and flipcharts are written, questions are asked, discussions are initiated, tasks are set for the group, brainstorming takes place, etc.
Pieces of training and coaches are certainly different, but in general, this is how it happens. Interestingly, just from what the group is doing, it becomes clear why the task of forming skills cannot be solved by training by definition.
Why skills are not formed during the training
The duration of the t rendering does not allow developing and consolidating skills
One, two, or even three days is not enough to develop and consolidate a skill.
Engaging in 3-4-5 game situations of tough negotiations is not enough to become a brilliant negotiator.
A two-day master class of a martial arts champion will not make even a well-trained athlete an advanced fighter. It can take weeks and months of training to master a new technique before any progress is made.
And this is in sports, not to mention the fact that the existing models of behavior of managers and leaders training for a day or two or three will not change.
Skill involves bringing standard actions in standard situations to automatism
Learning the most advanced sales techniques during training will not make a sales manager a super seller.
He does not have to think about what words to choose and how to act – for most working situations you need memorized ready-made scripts and instructions,
Once the actions in standard situations have been brought to automatism, you can learn to cope with any surprises. But it is almost impossible to accommodate both the development of standards and their study within the framework of the training, not to mention how long it takes for participants to master the developed standards.
Returning to the case of training managers
It was the reasons listed above that did not allow us to obtain the expected learning result.
Firstly, initially, it was not worth expecting managers to acquire professional skills in one or two days, and secondly, the training programs included typical training in sales techniques without linking the content of the training to the specifics of the company’s activities – standards, instructions and scripts for managers sales were not available.
Recommendations – to develop training materials (standards, instructions, scripts) for mastering sales techniques and testing its knowledge, regularly check the knowledge of sales techniques, and, if possible, conduct field pieces of training.
Field training can be used as a tool for assessing the skills of applying sales techniques or for group revision of existing scripts and standards.