The EFFECTIVE COACHING training program has a mission to enable organizations to enjoy the benefits of coaching-based leadership.
The main benefits for organizations are:
1. An increased advantage in the market place through:
– A more productive problem-solving approach
– Increased ownership and responsibility by leaders and teams alike
– Higher attractiveness as an employer – especially for the younger generations
2. Improved leadership skills on various levels in the organizations thanks to:
– A common understanding on how to deal with the human aspect in day-to-day-business challenges and problem solving
– A set of best practices, tools and methods to deal with human emotions, thoughts and behavior
– A strong bond and team-spirit from those who go through the Effective Coaching training program together as a group
I’d like participants of this training program to grow as a group, to learn from each other and to embark on a journey which includes many aspects of self-assessment, the development of various effective Coaching skills and ultimately applying those Coaching skills in your organization.
By integrating effective Coaching on the level of the organizational culture, on the level of the various teams and on the level of the individual, it provides organizations with a crucial element of leadership to master the challenges of the 21th century.
To accomplish the mission of this training program, there is a specific objective that needs to be reached by the end of each of the ten course manual chapters:
1. Process Focus
Participants have a clear view on the four steps of a problem-solving process and understand the difference between the business aspect (deductive approach) and the human aspect (Coaching approach).
2. Coaching Benefits
Participants see the value of effective Coaching as a way to reduce interpersonal frictions and to improve performance. They understand the difference between emotional release, insights and flow.
3. Two Brains
Participants have a better understanding about the way the human brain is organized and how two different systems – an emotional system and a cognitive system – work simultaneously within each of us.
4. Emotional Intelligence
Participants learn about the four pillars of emotional intelligence and reflect on their own strengths and weaknesses with regards to each pillar.
5. Support & Alliance
Participants understand how Coaching has evolved on the organizational level and how the organizational culture influences how successful a Coaching effort can be.
Participants understand the importance of leadership behavior when it comes to implementing Coaching in organizations. Furthermore, they are aware of the importance of strong alliances – the relationship between Coach and Coachee.
6. Coaching Awareness
Participants are introduced to the meta factors self-awareness and active listening and recognize their role during Coaching processes.
7. Problem Understanding
Participants gain a clear view on how to find the core of a problem. They are able to differentiate between an entry into a Coaching based on Emotional arousal and based on cause effect reasoning.
8. Goal Orientation
Participants know the ABC of effective Goals in Coaching and are aware of the effects of goal setting on the reward and stress circuits in the brain.
9. Resource Activation
Participants see the value of resource activation on the level of emotions and how (emotional) resources are transmitted from one person to the other during personal interactions.
10. System Dialog
Participants are introduced to the concept of system dialogue and why it matters to establish communication between System 1 and System 2 during problem solving.
In this training program, we use a mix of four different strategies to ensure the objectives will be reached:
1. Different individual and group exercises will be used to enable participants to practice and actively think the theory through.
– Learning by Doing
2. Real life Case Studies will be provided to highlight the theory and concepts when they have been implemented and used.
– Learning though connecting theory and practice
3. Live-Role Plays and Videos will be used to demonstrate how the techniques work.
– Learning through observation
4. Sharing personal stories and insights during the Workshop.
– Learning through storytelling and group sharing of examples
To successfully complete this training program, please make sure to follow the tasks provided here:
• Be fully present and proactive when going through the various exercises provided in the course manuals/ during the workshop.
• Go through the success factors of effective Coaching and gain knowledge on why they matter and how they work.
• Be sure to plan sufficient time for the tasks required between each individual Workshop.
• Start to create your personal Effective Coaching Playbook (either as a virtual playbook or using a hard copy), in which you will gradually add content throughout the training program. The content will consist of different elements such as Workshop Exercises, reflections after a Workshop, your Challenge Map and Coaching sessions. The tasks provided below will help you create your personal Effective Coaching Playbook (ECP).
Please remember that it is essential to continuously work on implementing Effective Coaching by going through the tasks between each Workshop.
Following the 1st Workshop, the specific tasks you need to work on before the 2nd Workshop takes place are the following:
1. Within the first 24 hours after the Workshop:
Take your time to reflect on the first Workshop of Effective Coaching “Neuroscience & Coaching” and answer the following five questions in your Effective Coaching Playbook:
1.1. What was my personal key take-away from the Workshop?
1.2. Which learning struck me the most?
1.3. What do I want to achieve through effective Coaching?
1.4. Do I have any doubts with regards to effective Coaching?
1.5. Is there anything else I’d like to write down…?
2. Before the 2nd Workshop takes place
For Effective Coaching to be a success for you, there is more to it than learning the skills and tools. Organizational support and your own thinking about the approach are crucial elements that need to be taken into account. To do so, go through the following two questions and write your answers into your Effective Coaching Playbook:
2.1 Is there anything that you need in terms of organizational support to be able to apply Effective Coaching in your area of responsibility? If yes, how can you get it and who do you need to talk to first?
2.2 What can you personally do in your role to promote an effective Coaching spirit in your team and with those you closely work with?
Step-by-step start to make Effective Coaching a natural way of being in your daily human to human interactions. To do so effectively, team up with someone who is on the same learning journey with you.
2.3 Find yourself an Effective Coaching Partner (ECP) for the duration of the training program and potentially beyond. The purpose of your Effective Coaching partner is to help you improve your Coaching skills, challenge your thoughts and provide a learning opportunity in a safe environment. In case of an uneven number of participants in a Workshop, you can also join a group of three.
You and your ECP should have at least one meeting (virtual or face-to-face) between each Workshops.
Why effective Coaching matters
To ensure their business runs as smoothly as possible, successful management teams have established various processes within their organizations.
And while there are hundreds of different processes to keep the business running efficiently, leader often struggle to properly address the human aspect in problem solving.
Yet, without a superb process that focuses on people skills, executives, managers and others in leadership positions will at one point run into difficulties:
Weather it’s dissatisfied or frustrated team members on the personal level or poor business results on the level of the organization, the consequences of poor or missing people skills are real and costly for organizations of all sizes. These consequences not only hurt bottom line results, but also prevent companies from attracting top-talents who are eagerly searching for a collaborative work environment.
This leads to an important question:
How can leadership teams best address the human aspect to ensure their teams and companies remain attractive and don’t fall behind?
The question leads to a simple answer:
By establishing an effective Coaching process.
A process that will have an influence on the organizational culture, your personal values and your current leadership style.
What Workshop 1 is about in a nutshell:
Based on recent advancements in neuroscience, you will be introduced to how Effective Coaching works and how it enables you to put emotional intelligence into action.
For Coaching to be successfully applied in an organization, two elements are crucial:
1. Scientific basis
The Coaching tools and methods presented need to be backed by research in terms of its effectiveness.
Effective Coaching is based on neuroscience and psychology, but also economics (behavioral economics) and biology (e.g., evolutionary biology)
2. Real life results
The Coaching tools and methods need to be effective in real-business situations that work for different types of human interactions in the workplace.
Effective Coaching is based on the experience of thousands of Coaching hours gathered by experienced Coaches with various backgrounds and client groups.
The backgrounds vary from systemic Coaching to Neuro Linguistic Programming, to emTrace – just to name the most prominent Coaching approaches that inspired me each when creating this Training Program for organizations.
These Coaching approaches and the processes behind them have been tried and tested to help Coachees for various topics. Some of the most relevant topics are individual performance improvements, conflict handling or relationship topics in teams and problem-solving capabilities.
And while this training focusses on organizations, it’s important to notice that many of the skills of effective Coaching could also be applied in other areas of life such as personal conflicts or personal goal setting.
This training program has a foundation that is built on both aspects – input from research & practical success stories and relevance.
It’s especially important that the methods, techniques, tools and concepts presented add value to your work and your leadership role. Feel encouraged to apply them right away to coach yourself and those you work with. Whether it’s various types of questions, goal-setting conversations, handling emotions during conflicts or empowering team members during challenging times – the tools and techniques always need to pass the test of real business challenges before you or those you work with fully accept them.
That is normal human behavior and it’s therefore perfectly fine, if you take your time to appreciate the value of effective Coaching.
It also means that you as a participant are partly responsible for the success of this training program. That’s because we need a strong feedback loop from Workshop content to the real-life business challenges, Once you take part in this in Workshop, you will have both elements – skills to learn and business challenges to make use of them.
It’s in the moments of succeeding or failing to apply a new skill when you learn the most.
And it’s the one element that bring this training program to the desired level of superb learning and development.
Whenever you feel the need to practice a new skill first, make sure to use the opportunity that an Effective Coaching Partner (ECP) provides for both of you. This is one of the most effective ways for you and your Coaching partner to learn and grow throughout the program.
Whether you coach your partner to apply and practice new skills or you are being coached by your partner – be ensured that you will benefit tremendously in both roles.
Participant benefits in a nutshell:
After completion of this training program, it will be much easier for you to recognize and effectively address issues and problems related to the human aspect of problem solving.
As a result, you will find yourself and your team equipped with more time, energy and resources available to focus on your core business challenges.
Adopting an effective Coaching process into your organization and teams is a tremendous opportunity for you to take a big step into the future of leadership and working in teams.
It not only significantly improves work atmosphere, but also provides your organization with a competitive advantage over those who keep running things the old way of command and control.
How the training program is set up:
A brief overview of Coaching
“I don’t aspire to be a good man. I aspire to be a whole man”
C. G. Jung
1. Coaching in between Practice and Science
If you offer five people in your organization a Coaching, chances are that if you ask all five what they expect a Coaching to be, you will get five different answers.
That’s because there is not one clear cut definition of Coaching. Instead, there are many different versions, schools and approaches. For you to better understand the background of this effective Coaching program, let’s summarize where effective Coaching as presented in this training program comes from:
Effective Coaching is a build on two sources: Scientific findings and practical experience while Coaching others. This type of Coaching is not a static concept, instead it can easily be adopt based on new insights from both sources.
From the science lab to Coaching practice:
If there is a new scientific discovery (such as for example the finding on “mirror neurons” in the 1990’s), then it’s important for Coaching practitioners to evaluate how this finding affects the way we interact with clients. In the case of “mirror-neurons”, it provided a clear push in the direction of activating desired emotional resources. It’s for example a strong scientific backup to shift away from predominantly deficit-oriented feedback towards more resourceful feedback.
From Coaching practice to the science lab:
There are some professional Coaches that apply a technique called mycostatic test when working with clients.
For this technique the Coachee forms a ring like structure by connecting thumb and index finger (which looks like the letter “O”) and holding them together as strongly as possible.
The Coach can use this test to find out important information with regards to how much stress a though causes inside the client. The basic principle is that the more stress a thought causes, the less able the client is to keep the ring closed when the Coach tries to pull it apart with his hand.
It’s the same effect that you can see in a movie scene when someone is holding a glass while receiving a shocking, surprising or otherwise emotion-laden message. In the movie, the actor drops the glass and it falls on the floor. In business life, we might not be able to take a strong stance because we temporarily lack our muscle’s ability to work for us.
Yet, while we know that there is clearly a relation between the result of the mycostatic test and the emotional feeling and physical presence within our client, we do not yet fully understand how this works. Therefore, more research is needed to help enhance our understanding of this technique. By finding out what works well in a Coaching setting, great questions reach the science lab.
2. A common understanding of Coaching
A question I hear a lot from clients is the question about the difference between a Coach and a Trainer or a Coach and a Workshop Facilitator, Mentor, Consultant or Psychologist.
In order to prevent myself from beginning a long speech and to avoid potential confusion,
I use a simple 2×2 fields matrix to explain the differences. The matrix distinguishes between a focus on facts and a focus on relationship.
Let’s take an example of a team lead who works in a zoo and a team member who tells her that she is afraid of spiders.
If you focus on facts, you might tell her that the likelihood of encountering a dangerous spider in the office rooms is close to zero and the spider areas in the zoo are very well protected so she doesn’t need to worry about this.
If you instead focus on the relationship, you might admit that you are sometimes afraid of spiders too to and how that makes you feel being responsible for all animals in this place.
The matrix also distinguishes between a high and low degree of problem-specific knowledge.
Coming back to the spider example from the zoo, a high degree of problem-specific knowledge means that you know a lot about spiders (the subject matter), different types, habitats and their behavior. A low degree means that you don’t know much about spiders except for the basic knowledge that you might have learnt in school.
Please be aware that this and any 2×2 matrix cannot be an accurate display of reality. Instead, this matrix is there to help you build your own understanding of the different roles that you encounter in organizations.
Corporate Trainers (and many consultants) are people who know a lot about their specific subject matter and can teach facts about the subject matter (trainer) or solve problems related to the subject matter (consultant).
A Workshop facilitator is not specialized on spiders and thus will guide you through a program where the subject matter expertise comes from others who take part in the Workshop. This could be a Workshop with the entire zoo team and a few experts on spiders that have been invited to join.
A Mentor knows a lot about the subject matter, usually because this person has gained experience in the past which is related to the current problem. A lot of companies use this experience to encourage younger employees to develop in a similar direction as the mentor has done in the past. In our example a former zoo director, who had been afraid of spiders for years too and does not like them as much as the other animals, could be a great mentor for the current team lead.
And last but not least a Coach is a person who is not specialized in the subject matter of the problem and thus focusses on a process of learning and insight within the client. Such a process usually takes place only in one-to-one setting, ideally with minimal or purposely chosen outside distraction and the opportunity to focus on how the problem is perceived internally. In the zoo example this could be a session in which the team lead actively deals with her fear of spiders by following a Coaching process.
3. Humanistic psychology as an enabler of Coaching
Humanistic psychology was – back in the 1950s – a new concept that was introduces to offer an alternative approach to psychology. An approach that challenged the dominant, existing schools of thoughts at that time – Behaviorism and Psychoanalysis.
Behaviorism was all about taking an outside-in approach to understanding human behavior. Understanding came from observation and rigorous experiments and emotions and thoughts were left out completely.
A famous example was the so called “Skinner box”, a chamber used for laboratory experiments with animals that had been created by Harvard graduate student B.F. Skinner.
It could be used to show how an animal such as a rat could be controlled and trained to perform an action based on stimuli and reward.
It’s based on reinforcement learning – when an action leads to a pleasant result a positive reinforcement occurs and when an action leads to an unpleasant result a negative reinforcement occurs. It was termed “the first force”.
Psychoanalysis had its roots in the late 19th century when Sigmund Freud developed his models of personality. These models were influenced both by his clinical work with patients and biological theories such as Charles Darwin’s work on human evolution.
Besides all his ideas, concepts and theoretical contributions – some of which seem outdated from today’s perspective – there is one thing that Freud recognized in his patients that we will deal with continually throughout this training program:
The processes in the brain that are unconscious. In this training program we call these processes System 1.
Humanistic psychology came up as a response to both Freud’s psychoanalytical approach and B.F. Skinners behavioristic approach. As opposed to the existing theories, humanistic psychology focused on the human potential and the possibility for self-exploration.
It became known as “the third force” and was strongly brough forward by the likes of Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers. Rogers pointed out that the personality of a therapist was crucial for the therapeutic success of the client and not only the methodology and concept.
Overall, humanistic psychology is less a stand-alone category of psychology and more a general view on humanity based on five key principles 1):
1. Human beings, as human, supersede the sum of their parts. They cannot be reduced to components.
2. Human beings have their existence in a uniquely human context, as well as in a cosmic ecology.
3. Human beings are aware and aware of being aware—i.e., they are conscious. Human consciousness always includes an awareness of oneself in the context of other people.
4. Human beings have some choice and, with that, responsibility.
5. Human beings are intentional, aim at goals, are aware that they cause future events, and seek meaning, value, and creativity
Let’s take a look at how each of these five principles has influenced this effective Coaching training program:
1. A stand-alone component doesn’t tell us much about a human being. For example, if a person has an increased heath rate, it could mean that this person is afraid or nervous; it could also mean that the person is excited and energized. Those are totally different emotional states that all fit the criteria of an increased heart rate.
Thus, instead of looking at individual components, it’s crucial to look at the whole picture and the wholeness of a person – including feelings, thoughts and actions.
2. The context in which a person interacts with others and creates meaning is unique.
Even identical twins grow into unique individuals due to their unique experiences, and memories.
3. A key to understanding and solving problems lies in a person’s ability to effectively shift awareness. These awareness shifts and focus play an important role when it comes to the experience of “Aha Moments” or insights.
4. Of course, there are many factors that limit our choices such as the country we live in, the political system, the legal framework and so on. However, on a principal level,
we are more often than not able to exercise choice, even if this isn’t always easy do to.
For Coaching this translates into the importance of keeping the responsibility for choices and actions to the client as much as possible.
5. William Shakespeare is believed to have said that “it is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves” – this quote summarizes the idea of Coaching that future events can be created intentionally and meaningful.
Equipped with a brief introduction to the roots of Coaching, we will focus our attention to some of the recent trends that shape the development of Coaching into the future.
Social and organizational trends that promote Coaching
There are several trends over the last decades and years that have an impact on the importance of effective Coaching. We will look at the two key trends, first on a social level and then on the organizational level:
1. Social trends
1.1. Power of the individual:
In Western societies, but not only those, the rise of the individual has been fueled by companies offering more and more products that cater to self-actualization motives.
Until 1972 when it was surpassed by the VW Beetle, the Ford Modell T was the best-selling automobile in history. It took several years from 1909 to 1927 to produce about 15 million Model T vehicles. Today’s largest car manufacturers produce more than 10 million cars in a single year.
These numbers indicate two elements related to the power of the individual (consumer):
1. The enormous growth that has taken place in industries related to personal mobility.
People put a high value on individual freedom, one could argue more than ever before in human history. Businesses see the opportunity to profit by creating products that fit the demand for individual freedom. They invest into better technology and improved production facilities to be able to keep up with demand.
2. The amount of choice that individuals have today
While the Model T was the preferred choice for most middle-class Americans in the 1920s, there is much more competition and choice of brands today. Choices are to made in terms of size, type, color and special equipment.
In the same way that people appreciate the chance for personal mobility in a car, bicycle or motorcycle, there is a desire for personal growth. From the perspective of the Coachee, the entire Coaching focuses on him or her.
Because Coaching puts the individual into the center of attention, it has gained tremendous popularity over the last decades.
1.2. Increased employee demands
When it comes to the business world, skilled labor is in high demand. It’s an economic logic that the more demand there is for certain products, the more output an individual company can produce and sell. As companies require strong workforces to drive innovation and efficiency and thus stay competitive, it gives power to those people who can deliver innovative and productive output.
At the same time, many of those who are already in high demand for their skills, do not follow the path that their grandparents might have followed. That is to get educated and skilled and then work for one company from an early age until retirement. Instead, many of the younger generations, but also some people in the older generations, demand more from their employers than a stable job and a regular paycheck.
They want their work to be something that is part of a meaningful life and not only a means to feed their family.
As companies come to realize that they might not have a purpose that provides enough meaning for some part of the workforce, they are left with a choice.
They could either rethink their purpose to make it more compelling or they could find other ways to increase their employees’ sense of purpose.
Both approaches can be very successful or fail and I’ve seen both happening – Coaching is an element that has gained attention when it comes to providing employees with benefits related to purpose seeking. However, the vast majority still focuses on providing attractive physical work-environments. That includes state of the art office buildings and fun elements that range from pool tables in the office to team events such as skiing trips or arranged holiday trips.
2. Digital communication and “the new normal”
2.1. Digital communication
The internet and smartphones have significantly changed the way we interact.
Human touchpoints have decreased and facial expressions have been digitized as Emojis.
Combined with the “power of the individual” that you read about before, this has shaped a new way of sending and receiving messages. With tools such as Twitter, an individual can today reach billions of people with one message within a few seconds. This makes it possible for individuals to obtain a level of influence and power that has been unseen before.
Digital communication, however, does not only provide opportunity for the individual. It also takes away much of what had previously been direct face-to-face interactions.
And this has a social cost. The cost is not directly paid in cash, but it is paid indirectly through increased isolation and lack of social and verbal skills.
Effective Coaching and digital communication are often self-reinforcing:
1. Thanks to digital solutions that are available today, people can nowadays access a professional Coaching from the comfort of their own home
2. Due to the dominance of digital products, many people nowadays are in need for human-to-human touchpoints to deal with their work challenges and life challenges more broadly
It does work effectively with modern technology and can be conducted via video calls. Therefore, it appeals to those clients who prefer to have a Coaching from the comfort of their own house.
It also benefits from the unfortunate trend of increase isolation. In this sense it is needed to support healthy individuals who struggle with social isolation.
2.2. The new normal
Organizations, whether businesses, governmental bodies or NGOs, need to adopt to the trend of digitization.
And while some industries have built their entire business around a digital model (e.g., social networks), other industries are only at the beginning of digitizing their products, services and processes.
In terms of business communication, we can expect to see more virtual workspaces and hybrid spaces to be used.
If human to human interactions take place virtually, organizations need to ensure that this enables rather than prevents progress.
My experience is that this “new normal” is beneficial for some people who enjoy more freedom of choice when to work and where to work. For others, traditional office spaces had positive effects on their daily routines. This could be something simple as going to lunch with colleagues.
The new normal also benefits those who are comfortable with digital ways of working and communicating. Those who are uncomfortable with it, will most likely undergo a change process to adopt to it and some rely on additional support.
For this group, Coaching can be especially helpful to ensure they are able to keep up with the new ways of working and to find a new balance. It’s an important task for Coaches today and in the upcoming years to support this change process.
Notes regarding Introduction:
Humanistic psychology as an enabler of Coaching
1. The five basic postulates of humanistic psychology taken from “The Third Force in Psychology”, Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 1964, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 19-25)
Welcome to Appleton Greene and thank you for enrolling on the Effective Coaching corporate training program. You will be learning through our unique facilitation via distance-learning method, which will enable you to practically implement everything that you learn academically. The methods and materials used in your program have been designed and developed to ensure that you derive the maximum benefits and enjoyment possible. We hope that you find the program challenging and fun to do. However, if you have never been a distance-learner before, you may be experiencing some trepidation at the task before you. So we will get you started by giving you some basic information and guidance on how you can make the best use of the modules, how you should manage the materials and what you should be doing as you work through them. This guide is designed to point you in the right direction and help you to become an effective distance-learner. Take a few hours or so to study this guide and your guide to tutorial support for students, while making notes, before you start to study in earnest.
You will need to locate a quiet and private place to study, preferably a room where you can easily be isolated from external disturbances or distractions. Make sure the room is well-lit and incorporates a relaxed, pleasant feel. If you can spoil yourself within your study environment, you will have much more of a chance to ensure that you are always in the right frame of mind when you do devote time to study. For example, a nice fire, the ability to play soft soothing background music, soft but effective lighting, perhaps a nice view if possible and a good size desk with a comfortable chair. Make sure that your family know when you are studying and understand your study rules. Your study environment is very important. The ideal situation, if at all possible, is to have a separate study, which can be devoted to you. If this is not possible then you will need to pay a lot more attention to developing and managing your study schedule, because it will affect other people as well as yourself. The better your study environment, the more productive you will be.
Study tools & rules
Try and make sure that your study tools are sufficient and in good working order. You will need to have access to a computer, scanner and printer, with access to the internet. You will need a very comfortable chair, which supports your lower back, and you will need a good filing system. It can be very frustrating if you are spending valuable study time trying to fix study tools that are unreliable, or unsuitable for the task. Make sure that your study tools are up to date. You will also need to consider some study rules. Some of these rules will apply to you and will be intended to help you to be more disciplined about when and how you study. This distance-learning guide will help you and after you have read it you can put some thought into what your study rules should be. You will also need to negotiate some study rules for your family, friends or anyone who lives with you. They too will need to be disciplined in order to ensure that they can support you while you study. It is important to ensure that your family and friends are an integral part of your study team. Having their support and encouragement can prove to be a crucial contribution to your successful completion of the program. Involve them in as much as you can.
Distance-learners are freed from the necessity of attending regular classes or workshops, since they can study in their own way, at their own pace and for their own purposes. But unlike traditional internal training courses, it is the student’s responsibility, with a distance-learning program, to ensure that they manage their own study contribution. This requires strong self-discipline and self-motivation skills and there must be a clear will to succeed. Those students who are used to managing themselves, are good at managing others and who enjoy working in isolation, are more likely to be good distance-learners. It is also important to be aware of the main reasons why you are studying and of the main objectives that you are hoping to achieve as a result. You will need to remind yourself of these objectives at times when you need to motivate yourself. Never lose sight of your long-term goals and your short-term objectives. There is nobody available here to pamper you, or to look after you, or to spoon-feed you with information, so you will need to find ways to encourage and appreciate yourself while you are studying. Make sure that you chart your study progress, so that you can be sure of your achievements and re-evaluate your goals and objectives regularly.
Appleton Greene training programs are in all cases post-graduate programs. Consequently, you should already have obtained a business-related degree and be an experienced learner. You should therefore already be aware of your study strengths and weaknesses. For example, which time of the day are you at your most productive? Are you a lark or an owl? What study methods do you respond to the most? Are you a consistent learner? How do you discipline yourself? How do you ensure that you enjoy yourself while studying? It is important to understand yourself as a learner and so some self-assessment early on will be necessary if you are to apply yourself correctly. Perform a SWOT analysis on yourself as a student. List your internal strengths and weaknesses as a student and your external opportunities and threats. This will help you later on when you are creating a study plan. You can then incorporate features within your study plan that can ensure that you are playing to your strengths, while compensating for your weaknesses. You can also ensure that you make the most of your opportunities, while avoiding the potential threats to your success.
Accepting responsibility as a student
Training programs invariably require a significant investment, both in terms of what they cost and in the time that you need to contribute to study and the responsibility for successful completion of training programs rests entirely with the student. This is never more apparent than when a student is learning via distance-learning. Accepting responsibility as a student is an important step towards ensuring that you can successfully complete your training program. It is easy to instantly blame other people or factors when things go wrong. But the fact of the matter is that if a failure is your failure, then you have the power to do something about it, it is entirely in your own hands. If it is always someone else’s failure, then you are powerless to do anything about it. All students study in entirely different ways, this is because we are all individuals and what is right for one student, is not necessarily right for another. In order to succeed, you will have to accept personal responsibility for finding a way to plan, implement and manage a personal study plan that works for you. If you do not succeed, you only have yourself to blame.
By far the most critical contribution to stress, is the feeling of not being in control. In the absence of planning we tend to be reactive and can stumble from pillar to post in the hope that things will turn out fine in the end. Invariably they don’t! In order to be in control, we need to have firm ideas about how and when we want to do things. We also need to consider as many possible eventualities as we can, so that we are prepared for them when they happen. Prescriptive Change, is far easier to manage and control, than Emergent Change. The same is true with distance-learning. It is much easier and much more enjoyable, if you feel that you are in control and that things are going to plan. Even when things do go wrong, you are prepared for them and can act accordingly without any unnecessary stress. It is important therefore that you do take time to plan your studies properly.
Once you have developed a clear study plan, it is of equal importance to ensure that you manage the implementation of it. Most of us usually enjoy planning, but it is usually during implementation when things go wrong. Targets are not met and we do not understand why. Sometimes we do not even know if targets are being met. It is not enough for us to conclude that the study plan just failed. If it is failing, you will need to understand what you can do about it. Similarly if your study plan is succeeding, it is still important to understand why, so that you can improve upon your success. You therefore need to have guidelines for self-assessment so that you can be consistent with performance improvement throughout the program. If you manage things correctly, then your performance should constantly improve throughout the program.
Study objectives & tasks
The first place to start is developing your program objectives. These should feature your reasons for undertaking the training program in order of priority. Keep them succinct and to the point in order to avoid confusion. Do not just write the first things that come into your head because they are likely to be too similar to each other. Make a list of possible departmental headings, such as: Customer Service; E-business; Finance; Globalization; Human Resources; Technology; Legal; Management; Marketing and Production. Then brainstorm for ideas by listing as many things that you want to achieve under each heading and later re-arrange these things in order of priority. Finally, select the top item from each department heading and choose these as your program objectives. Try and restrict yourself to five because it will enable you to focus clearly. It is likely that the other things that you listed will be achieved if each of the top objectives are achieved. If this does not prove to be the case, then simply work through the process again.
As a guide, the Appleton Greene Effective Coaching corporate training program should take 12-18 months to complete, depending upon your availability and current commitments. The reason why there is such a variance in time estimates is because every student is an individual, with differing productivity levels and different commitments. These differentiations are then exaggerated by the fact that this is a distance-learning program, which incorporates the practical integration of academic theory as an as a part of the training program. Consequently all of the project studies are real, which means that important decisions and compromises need to be made. You will want to get things right and will need to be patient with your expectations in order to ensure that they are. We would always recommend that you are prudent with your own task and time forecasts, but you still need to develop them and have a clear indication of what are realistic expectations in your case. With reference to your time planning: consider the time that you can realistically dedicate towards study with the program every week; calculate how long it should take you to complete the program, using the guidelines featured here; then break the program down into logical modules and allocate a suitable proportion of time to each of them, these will be your milestones; you can create a time plan by using a spreadsheet on your computer, or a personal organizer such as MS Outlook, you could also use a financial forecasting software; break your time forecasts down into manageable chunks of time, the more specific you can be, the more productive and accurate your time management will be; finally, use formulas where possible to do your time calculations for you, because this will help later on when your forecasts need to change in line with actual performance. With reference to your task planning: refer to your list of tasks that need to be undertaken in order to achieve your program objectives; with reference to your time plan, calculate when each task should be implemented; remember that you are not estimating when your objectives will be achieved, but when you will need to focus upon implementing the corresponding tasks; you also need to ensure that each task is implemented in conjunction with the associated training modules which are relevant; then break each single task down into a list of specific to do’s, say approximately ten to do’s for each task and enter these into your study plan; once again you could use MS Outlook to incorporate both your time and task planning and this could constitute your study plan; you could also use a project management software like MS Project. You should now have a clear and realistic forecast detailing when you can expect to be able to do something about undertaking the tasks to achieve your program objectives.
It is one thing to develop your study forecast, it is quite another to monitor your progress. Ultimately it is less important whether you achieve your original study forecast and more important that you update it so that it constantly remains realistic in line with your performance. As you begin to work through the program, you will begin to have more of an idea about your own personal performance and productivity levels as a distance-learner. Once you have completed your first study module, you should re-evaluate your study forecast for both time and tasks, so that they reflect your actual performance level achieved. In order to achieve this you must first time yourself while training by using an alarm clock. Set the alarm for hourly intervals and make a note of how far you have come within that time. You can then make a note of your actual performance on your study plan and then compare your performance against your forecast. Then consider the reasons that have contributed towards your performance level, whether they are positive or negative and make a considered adjustment to your future forecasts as a result. Given time, you should start achieving your forecasts regularly.
With reference to time management: time yourself while you are studying and make a note of the actual time taken in your study plan; consider your successes with time-efficiency and the reasons for the success in each case and take this into consideration when reviewing future time planning; consider your failures with time-efficiency and the reasons for the failures in each case and take this into consideration when reviewing future time planning; re-evaluate your study forecast in relation to time planning for the remainder of your training program to ensure that you continue to be realistic about your time expectations. You need to be consistent with your time management, otherwise you will never complete your studies. This will either be because you are not contributing enough time to your studies, or you will become less efficient with the time that you do allocate to your studies. Remember, if you are not in control of your studies, they can just become yet another cause of stress for you.
With reference to your task management: time yourself while you are studying and make a note of the actual tasks that you have undertaken in your study plan; consider your successes with task-efficiency and the reasons for the success in each case; take this into consideration when reviewing future task planning; consider your failures with task-efficiency and the reasons for the failures in each case and take this into consideration when reviewing future task planning; re-evaluate your study forecast in relation to task planning for the remainder of your training program to ensure that you continue to be realistic about your task expectations. You need to be consistent with your task management, otherwise you will never know whether you are achieving your program objectives or not.
Keeping in touch
You will have access to qualified and experienced professors and tutors who are responsible for providing tutorial support for your particular training program. So don’t be shy about letting them know how you are getting on. We keep electronic records of all tutorial support emails so that professors and tutors can review previous correspondence before considering an individual response. It also means that there is a record of all communications between you and your professors and tutors and this helps to avoid any unnecessary duplication, misunderstanding, or misinterpretation. If you have a problem relating to the program, share it with them via email. It is likely that they have come across the same problem before and are usually able to make helpful suggestions and steer you in the right direction. To learn more about when and how to use tutorial support, please refer to the Tutorial Support section of this student information guide. This will help you to ensure that you are making the most of tutorial support that is available to you and will ultimately contribute towards your success and enjoyment with your training program.
Work colleagues and family
You should certainly discuss your program study progress with your colleagues, friends and your family. Appleton Greene training programs are very practical. They require you to seek information from other people, to plan, develop and implement processes with other people and to achieve feedback from other people in relation to viability and productivity. You will therefore have plenty of opportunities to test your ideas and enlist the views of others. People tend to be sympathetic towards distance-learners, so don’t bottle it all up in yourself. Get out there and share it! It is also likely that your family and colleagues are going to benefit from your labors with the program, so they are likely to be much more interested in being involved than you might