Justin Hale is a Master Trainer and Consultant with VitalSmarts.
How do I keep things going for learners after the formal training?
Here are a few things to consider:
Read David Maxfield’s article. This provides an excellent explanation on how to keep the skills alive in your organization.
Hold regular practice sessions. This can be a 30-45 minute meeting. Ask people to come with a situation they are dealing with, take the first 5 minutes to quickly review the skill they’ll be practicing, and then spend the rest of the time on practice and feedback from a coach. If people don’t come with scenarios, hand out 3×5 cards and ask them to write down a few relevant situations they deal with. Then go through all the cards and look for trends. Find 3-5 common examples and use those for practice.
Drill and Scrimmage. As with sports, there are two types of practice: drills and scrimmage. Drills are meant to isolate one skill and focus on a lot of repetition. Scrimmage is meant to simulate a real situation.
Drills—Isolate one skill (like STATE) and have people practice with 4-5 scenarios (almost to the point that they start to hate it :)). Make sure they’re in pairs and have one person practice the skill and the other give quick feedback after each practice (the second person should just be offering feedback, not role playing). You can also walk around give feedback on the nuances of the skills. People will start to become more confident and competent with this skill.
Scrimmage—Put people in triads (initiator, respondent, coach) and have them “scrimmage” a real situation. The initiator will begin the conversation by stating his or her path and then the respondent will respond in a way that closely simulates what a real conversation would be like. The initiator can then incorporate more skills (contrast, AMPP, CRIB, etc.)
So remember, if you are going to get learners together after the formal class, try to focus more on practice than review. Make sure they have the skills down (drills) before you throw them into the real deal (scrimmage).