Leveraging Technology To Support Coaching: videotelephony and LMS technology

Technology-Supported Targeted Coaching

A blend of LMS and videotelephony technology can support and improve coaching practices significantly. It can also improve important processes such as interviewing and selection in a way that adds credence to a coaching culture seeking continuous improvement. Let's examine how both of these opportunities might work from a pragmatic perspective.

1. Leveraging Technology To Support Coaching

In a previous article "Zoom Into The Future With A Videotelephony LMS Technology Partnership," we examined how LMS technology could support 360-degree feedback as a key component of the performance management process. Importantly, this feedback creates the opportunity for an informed/targeted approach to coaching that is both objective and credible.

To achieve this requires the adoption of an effort-based mindset. It also requires the development or adoption of a holistic capability model with a comprehensive means of gathering 360-degree feedback, which also includes a self-evaluation process. Both the 360-degree feedback and the self-assessment must be able to be summed up and compared in an easy-to-read, easy-to-understand, easy-to-compare visual summary (this can be achieved using an algorithm—we use the "we-shine" methodology). This process should reside within the company LMS and provide the required levels of confidentiality. Here's an example of how the process could work.

Process (An Example)

1. Periodically, each employee is invited to participate in a self-assessment together with a 360-degree performance feedback exercise involving a selected group of their colleagues. The 360-degree feedback as well as the self-assessment for each employee resides in their LMS portal together with the follow-up recordings of the developmental discussions, as recorded on Zoom. Where it can add value, participants in the 360-degree feedback can be invited to the periodic reviews to give insight or examples to support the ratings they gave. Each employee is responsible for setting up regular reviews on Zoom with their manager.

2. Let's use Bob as an example. He has completed his self-assessment and his colleagues have completed their 360-degree feedback on his behalf. The results are loaded on his LMS portal and he sets up the required review with his team leader/manager via Zoom. For the purposes of this example, we will only examine one area of the self-assessment and 360-degree feedback. Bob's colleagues' feedback indicates that Bob has the opportunity to develop his performance capabilities whilst Bob in his self-assessment sees himself as relatively strong in this area. Knowing that this would be a discussion point in the review, Bob's manager solicits examples from Bob's colleagues to support why they rated his performance capabilities as requiring further development.

In the model used, Performance Capabilities are a set of capabilities that enable one to take appropriate action as required by the situation (for example, problem-solving and decision-making). These are evident when one is able to demonstrate the level of performance capabilities relevant to one's role. They are the action capabilities that show one is proactive, can solve problems, make the right decisions, and can plan and organize work to meet deadlines and achieve objectives/goals timeously. It is all about understanding, developing, and applying the relevant performance capabilities. In this regard, one's colleagues would express a sense of optimism that you will achieve what you commit to.

3. For the sake of simplicity, we will only examine one aspect of the feedback that Bob's colleagues gave to support their rating of Bob's performance capabilities. Unanimously, they felt that Bob was unstructured when it came to solving problems encountered in projects that he was managing. Bob's manager discusses this with Bob and cites examples to support it. Because the feedback is structured, informative, constructive, and objective, it is credible to Bob. Bob agrees with his manager that he would benefit from coaching on his problem-solving capability. Bob's manager applies his mind and selects Ivan as the right person to coach Bob in this regard and arranges it.

4. Ivan sets up a Zoom meeting with Bob and after some discussion resolves that Bob would benefit from learning the "7 Step Problem-Solving" technique popularized by Dr. Shoji Shiba. He refers Bob to a microlearning course on this approach on the company LMS. Bob completes the course and sets up a further meeting with Ivan. They both agree that Bob would further benefit from watching Ivan use this technique. Bob joins a Zoom meeting in which Ivan is using this technique with his team to solve a problem. Bob now feels confident to use the 7 Step Problem-Solving method with his team. He identifies a problem and sets up a Zoom meeting with his team to resolve the problem. Ivan joins the meeting to assist Bob if he needs help. The meeting is recorded so that Ivan can use it to further coach Bob as required. After a few of these coaching sessions, Ivan is confident that Bob is competent in this regard and reinforces such in a follow-up meeting with Bob and his manager.

5. Combining the use of LMS and videotelephony technology provides powerful, effective, and efficient support in developing a coaching culture.

2. Leveraging Technology To Support Interviewing And Selection Practices For A Coaching Culture

Having reviewed thousands of selection interviewing processes, I find myself giving the following feedback consistently:

  • The interviewers tend to spend more time talking than the interviewee. This clearly defeats the main objective of the selection interview, that is, to gain the information required from the interviewees to make the best selection decisions.
  • In interviewing the same candidate for the same job, the interviewers tend to ask too many of the same questions, thereby replicating and wasting precious time.
  • The questioning and evaluation techniques used lack the robustness required to generate the information needed to make solid selection decisions.

Assessment Centre methodologies and techniques offer excellent insights into how the selection process should be refined to be streamlined and robust. Professor Bill Byham and his team at DDI provided me with great training in this regard.

Using Videotelephony/LMS Technology To Streamline The Selection Process

Below is a brief description of how Videotelephony/LMS technology can implement these insights to support and streamline the selection process:

  • The selection panel meets via Zoom, facilitated by a selection interviewing Subject Matter Expert (SME).
  • The selection criteria for the specific job are decided and the questions to be asked are agreed.
  • The questions are allocated between various members of the panel, only replicating questions between any 2 interviewers where it is a critical selection/criterion/dimension. This cuts down on the time that busy managers/executives need to spend on the process, whilst ensuring that it is still comprehensive, with validation checks and balances.
  • Selection panel members who are new to the organization's selection methodology (we use EAR), would be able to complete a microlearning course on the company LMS and have a practice role-play session with the SME. This would be recorded on Zoom and then loaded onto that person's LMS portal for further coaching purposes.
  • The selection interviews are scheduled individually with each interviewer via Zoom and, with the approval of the interviewees, would be recorded for quality control purposes.
  • The selection decision-making meeting is scheduled via Zoom. The SME would chair it, with each interviewer providing a summary and a rating on the various candidates for the criteria they were responsible for assessing. Where debate and/or disagreement occurs, the Zoom recordings can be accessed to assist with gaining consensus.
  • The recordings of the interviews and meetings would then also serve as a record of the process. These can also be loaded on to the company LMS for further training and coaching purposes.
  • The developmental opportunities of the selected candidate (identified during the selection process) would also be loaded onto that candidate's LMS portal together with a specific developmental plan to address such. Vignettes from recorded interviews could also be loaded to assist deeper understanding of the rationale behind the development plan for both the new employee and their manager/coach.

The above process has stood the test of time without the benefit of technology. The opportunities that videotelephony/LMS technology offer will streamline this into a fast, effective, efficient, and developmental process. Specifically, the assessment discussions that selection panels have when evaluating candidates have a strong developmental component for the interviewers/assessors concerned as well as for the future development of the candidate who is selected.

A Final Word

The opportunities that the blend of LMS and videotelephony technology offer to improve organization performance are endless. Sadly, many organizations are merely dipping their toes in this pool of opportunity. Please jump in, you will not drown!