Learning & Development

Online Coaching Supplants Traditional Methods

On-the-job training, or OJT, is a practice as old as the wheel, and it hasn’t been until recently that technology has caught up with it. Advances in online coaching have provided unprecedented growth and expansion in OJT to become a more efficient and effective tool for employees and managers.

The benefits of online coaching are in its versatility, flexibility of use, and accessibility. Most online coaching platforms are web-based and capable of being configured for mobile and tablet devices. It is highly customizable, and because it is web-based, employees can access materials from anywhere in the world, across multiple company locations.

With its ease of implementation and ubiquity, online coaching is becoming a standard for companies. Let’s look deeper at some of the features and reasons online coaching has taken off.

Who Benefits from Online Coaching?

Every member of your organization can extract value from online coaching. The obvious benefactors are employees that are under-performing. Managers are able to work on a more frequent basis with these employees to direct them towards a path of improvement with the use of online coaching.

Managers can set up a lesson plan aimed specifically at exercising the areas requiring greater growth and development, giving under-performing employees the opportunity to constantly grow through logging on and completing tasks and projects for submission, viewing videos and examples all directly pertaining to what they need to perform more efficiently.

New hires can also benefit from getting a training program that is more focused. Many times new employees may be quickly ushered through a generic new hire orientation, given a brief overview of their responsibilities and how to execute them, and then set free to succeed or fail.

With online coaching programs, these employees can now feel less overwhelmed and take the opportunity to explore best practices as they approach challenges in their new roles, all while not feeling as though they are perpetually nagging their managers or coworkers. They can track their progress more clearly by receiving feedback on the coaching platform and develop strong habits from the get-go.

Managers can realize a greater presence with their teams, even when they are in roles where frequent travel is required. Through online coaching, managers can review the progress of their employees as they have time to do so, then set appointments for video chats to discuss specific challenges or record video messages for employees to demonstrate best practices.

Finally, online coaching benefits remote employees, who will feel that they are a more integrated and present part of the team. They can be assigned practice assignments and projects to work on with coworkers, or receive coaching through video apps that will provide a face-to-face discussion, no matter what the distance is.

Video Resources as a Driving Factor

As video applications continue to advance and improve, they hold a growing importance in education, and thus, online coaching. Several studies have demonstrated that rates of retention and learning impact are positively affected by the use of video methods (as opposed to text materials or audio learning). This gives video a significant edge over old-fashioned training manuals and handbooks.

The advantages of video content use in online coaching are multifaceted. For instance, it is now easier than ever to create video lessons on best practices and areas that employees often struggle all in-house. The task is often affordable in nature, what with how common built-in microphones and webcams are now in laptops.

Open-source software can be downloaded and used for simple editing, and videos can then be uploaded to web-based coaching platforms in short order. Cloud-based software further delimits the capabilities of video, allowing for large video files to be hosted outside of the confines of company servers and creating accessibility beyond the office network.

Videos can then be organized into lesson plans and assigned to workers based on need. They can also be distributed using the “drip” method, a style of education whereby content is released in short, digestible streams at a set interval to enhance retention rates and cut out inefficient uses of time. A manager can create a set of videos and have them be assigned to an employee on a daily basis so that content can be absorbed in short bursts and the areas of focus needed for the employee are covered in an approachable way.

Video messaging and recording is another important component of online coaching. It has become an important driver of internal communications, allowing for employees to, for instance, record multiple attempts at delivering a sales pitch and deliver it to a manager away from the office for feedback and critiquing. This creates an environment of less disconnect between employees and traveling managers and allows for instantaneous feedback.

Customizing the Coaching Experience and Going Beyond

The diverse range of web-based tools for online coaching make it highly customizable to fit the needs of employees. Managers can click and drag to assign tasks in coaching programs for individual employees so that each employee has an entirely unique coaching plan. This level of scalability is critical for employees to learn real-time, practical skills during coaching sessions rather than vague, company-wide procedures.

Additionally, the accessibility allows for employees to access the coaching program from beyond the office. Often a scheduled coaching session may not necessarily align with the employee in terms of their mentality for learning and absorbing motivation. For example, they may be distracted by another task on their mind or an upcoming meeting with a client. Now employees that are interested in developing their career skills can have the freedom to do so whenever the moment strikes.

With the level of adaptability and multipurpose tools at the user’s disposal, it’s clear to see why online coaching has taken off. Adopting it can lead to the growth of your workers and, subsequently, the growth of your company to new heights.

Sean Gordon is the Chief Executive Officer of HIRENAMI.  Sean’s experience recruiting, hiring, training and building teams inspired him to found HIRENAMI to take these challenges from painful, inefficient, and time consuming to quick and effective.  Connect with Sean on LinkedIn.