Nobody likes to give insights into fields, where problems exist. And due to a mutual comfort zone everybody tends to avoid questions about it. We’re talking about trainers and organisations designing development programs together. For real trainings results as well as positive and direct contribution to business-goals it takes courage – on both sides. We talked with Masha Ibeschitz, coach and training expert, about this delicate topic.
HR orders a workshop about a particular topic and the trainer takes care for content and design. Normally, this is how it works. You say if we dare to leave this comfort zone we can create much more effective trainings and training results. What does that mean?
As a trainer, if I consider myself as a long-term development partner of my costumer following the idea of sustainable human resource development, first of all I have to ask myself: Why actually human resource development? A possible answer is: What happens in human resource development helps to achieve particular business goals. At first sight this answer sounds self-evident. But if you take a closer look it isn’t that simplebecause very often the link between a workshop or training and business goals is missing. In order to build that link, both trainer and customer need to be ready to do some deep work. That means that effective training and results pretty much depend on the trainer’s and customer’s willingness to have a close look at the organisation’s goals, at the strengths and weaknesses of the organisation and the willingness to engage with each other. And this working base often is far outside of the comfort zone of both parties.
Okay, let’s say the trainer is willing to leave his or her comfort zone and explicitely asks HR: “What are the current problems in your company? What are your business goals?” – Is it difficult to ask such questions?
That can vary a lot. The pre-condition for such an honest talk between customer and training provider – or let’s say: development partner – is mutual trust. If training shall serve as a crucial input into achieving business goals you need two things: On the one hand you need customers daring not to order trainings by topics but to really engage with goals and indicator definitions. In the past 15 years the willingness to do so ws increasing, by the way. On the other hand you need a development partner who is capable to understand business goals and circumstances far beyond mere training measures and also to implement these knowledge in the design of a training.
As a development partner, what are the boarders and barriers you meet during this process?
Sometimes you get the feeling that HR is considered to be an internal service provider and not a real business partner. If this is the case it might happen that the board says “Dear HR, our leaders do not delegate enough, let’s organise a delegation workshop!” If HR goes along with the role as a service provider the managers in charge will book a delegation workshop on the spot. A little talk about the contents with the training provider, the design of the training follows quickly and a moment later you attend the delegation workshop. Everybody tries to make the participants happy, to equip them with useful tools and concepts to successfully delegate tasks. In the end, if the participants have the feeling of having learned something new it’s done.
To be fair, this is a lot more than what we knew and experienced in the 90ies. But the possibilities to improve are vast! And there already are concepts to reach much more with training – Kirkpatrick and his New World Model, for instance.
Talking about Kirkpatrick: You completed the certification and even became a Kirkpatrick Facilitator. Congrats! What do you think, to what extent can the Kirkpatrick methodology help in the whole training process?
It’s 25 years now that I am working in the training and consulting industry. During this time I got to know a lot of very interesting customers and fascinating projects. About a year ago I met Jim Kirkpatrick and got to know his concept. At first I though: Well, that’s what we already do in our most successful projects. At least in a very similar way. Then I took a closer look and, of course, did find a lot of elements to extend my own knowledge and to kind of frame it. It’s always a good idea to do things in a structured and professional way – and that is what the Kirkpatrick approach offers.
Do you recommend the certification for trainers only or can it be a benefit for HR as well?
The certification is perfect for everybody who wants to understand the comprehensive potential of leadership development and who wants to explore and define what the very own contribution to it can and should be. So that means trainers, HR and even leaders themselves. And now the times are good to do the certification because by now we do work with the advanced Kirkpatrick model (“New World Model”). The four levels remained the same: Level 1 for happy participants. Level 2 for achieved learning goals. Level 3 for changed behaviour. Level 4 for achieved business goals. The big difference is that instead of following these levels in a chronological order, Jim Kirkpatrick and the New World Model encourage you to start with the end in mind – that means level 4 is the beginning! And here we are again: It is all about the business goals and the contribution training programs can make in order to achieve them.
About Masha Ibeschitz
Masha Ibeschitz is trainer and coach and a specialist in terms of learning effectiveness, leadership and management, communication, organisational development and train-the-trainer. She accompanied costumers like Asfinag, Hornbach, Mondi, OMV, PwC, Telekom Austria, voestalpine and many more.
Recently she became the very first trainer in the German-speaking region offering Kirkpatrick Bronze Certifications.