I studied French for 9 years. I spent around 1000 hours being trained to speak French by my teachers in middle school and high school. Not to mention a bunch of time doing homework and learning vocabulary. I got the highest available grade in all the formal exams I took.
So I can speak French fluently, right?
Well… I’m pretty confident I could order a coffee or ask for directions to the beach. So it wasn’t a total disaster.
But could I understand a French movie? No. Could I have dinner with a French person and make pleasant conversation? No. Could I write this article in French? No.
Why am I so bad? Two reasons:
- It’s 23 years since my last French lesson.
- At no point in my life have I spent a significant amount of time in France, speaking French.
This is the problem with so many training courses. We attend training for a week, or a few weeks. We don’t put it into practice. We quickly forget what we learned. And even if we remember parts of it, there’s no-one around to notice if we’re doing a good job and give feedback.
That’s why coaches are so important. If you truly want to get better at something, you certainly need to start by learning some skills (so yes, training courses are valuable), but then you need to practice, and you need a coach who can advise you if you get stuck, correct you when you make a mistake, and show you how improve.
Is there someone on your team who needs coaching? Do you make time regularly to review his/her work or to answer questions? Could you make time for that?
Do you need a coach yourself? Is there someone around who has the skills you need, and the willingness to spend time working with you?
Even experienced people should be continuing to learn. At Award Consulting we have daily team meetings, and we regularly review technical problems together or share new insights with each other. As each person discovers new things through their work, we can grow the knowledge and skills of the whole team by sharing together.
When we work with clients, we often spend time working side-by-side with technicians – on the phone or on a screen-share – so we can coach them through a new process. We find this approach helps build knowledge, skills and confidence.
Coaching isn’t easy. It takes an ongoing time commitment, but it’s by far the most effective way to help build someone’s skills for the long term.
Our favorite way to work with clients is an ongoing support retainer – where we get to know the voice technicians, work alongside them on projects and tickets, and provide some coaching along the way. Learn more about Support Retainers.
If you’re looking for something more lightweight, check out our new community for voice technicians, where you can discuss issues with others in the industry and join monthly video conferences for in-depth discussion.