You recognized a skills gap with your employees and then found a great training program and implemented it. It wasn’t long – only a few weeks, in fact, — until you started seeing results.

Mission accomplished, right? Well, not quite. You are really only halfway there. I know this is probably not what you want to hear.

Research shows that, unless there is follow through after training, most everyone will revert back to their old ways in less than three months. That improvement you saw in the first 30 days? Gone. The investment? Wasted.

How do you follow through to sustain the results? Practice and coaching!

It typically takes three attempts to determine if you like something. The first attempt is to get over the new feeling you get when you perform a task; the second allows you to really experience it; and the third attempt is when you actually determine if you like it. The same is true with learning. It takes many attempts at doing a task before you can say you are doing it right.

As you get used to doing a new task, you need someone to guide you. Think about it in terms of professional sports. The players are the most gifted, talented, capable athletes in their profession, and they make a great living doing it. Yet, they spend hours during the preseason getting better, usually under the watchful eye of trainers and coaches. If they need this, surely we do, too.

Tips for Getting Better

If you want to see lasting results, here are two tips you can use as support leaders to ensure you provide your customers with a consistent level of service:

  1. Provide your support team with plenty of time to practice. And then have them practice some more. Make sure your associates have a safe place to practice so they can master what they need to do. This allows them the opportunity to learn from their mistakes without it affecting your customers at first. Give them time to practice on the job as well. This is the key to sustained behavior change.
  2. Always be in coach mode. Initially, provide lots of positive Or, as Ken Blanchard says in “One Minute Manager,” catch them doing something approximately right and provide positive reinforcement as they work toward exactly right. This helps with acceptance and attitude. They will be more inclined to hear constructive feedback if you do this. Picture an infant taking its first steps. When they try (and fall immediately), do parents provide a critique? They praise, get excited and encourage the baby to try again.

Practice and coaching, the “other half” of the training process. It is the proven way to sustain the great results you began when you started the training journey.

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