Let me start by saying that I completely understand the need for computer based and virtual training in today’s retail environment. Shrinking margins and lower labor has forced companies to re-think how they train their employees. In the fast paced changing times and short attention spans, there is merit to these delivery systems. They are short, cost effective and merge nicely with the reliance of devices that exist today. Having said that…..
I have been involved in developing and training retail employees for 25 years. Our company, over a 19 year period, has trained well over 500,000 people. Some through video and computer based training but most were trained LIVE. I love all forms of training but to me there is nothing like being in a room with a group of people, who when done, their faces and body language reflect that they got it! Now it’s true that associates can take surveys after watching a video or taking computer based training to show their company that they “got it”, but are they answering truthfully or are they writing what they think the company wants to hear? Tough to do that when you’re looking a participant eye to eye.
Dating web sites are great, but the face to face live meeting determines if there is a spark or whether you tell your date “I have to get up early, let’s make it a short night”.
Webster defines coaching as; "to instruct, direct, or prompt". After reading that, I started to wonder how most people who are coached on the sales floor would define it. Coaching; "The time of the day when my manager tells me everything I did wrong or forgot to do". That is not coaching for performance -- that's intimidation.
I have worked in and been around retail stores, call centers, return centers, and customer service in general, for over 20 years. I am always amazed at what some managers/leaders think coaching is. My company actually does coaching for performance seminars. In fact, when we first started, we didn't offer coaching as an option. However, after doing role plays in sales seminars that include a customer, sales person and a coach role play, we realized there was a big need for training centered around coaching that would result in improved performance.