Using coaching to increase your training ROI

Using coaching to increase your training ROI

Using coaching to increase your training ROI

Earlier this week I presented at the Learning & Development Leadership & Innovation Summit in Sydney. The ideas I shared focused on how to build learner accountability for learning by using coaching to increase your training ROI. This was based on an article I wrote for the Institute of Learning Professionals, reproduced below:

It’s well documented that known that coaching is one of the best ways to develop talent and help people to achieve their potential. However, it is also well documented that many training programs promise a lot and don’t deliver, even when the subject, content and delivery seem great!

The biggest challenge for training programs, is to transfer that new knowledge into application in the workplace. We’ve all been to training programs that kept us interested on the day, and yet when we came back to work other things just took over and before we know it, the new knowledge we gained has evaporated. Research by Knowledge Advisors shows that 76% of learners apply 50% or less of what they learn (1) , and 65% of managers don’t expect to learn anything they can use.  So how can we ensure that investment in training is optimized?

A research paper by Olivero, Bane & Kopelmann (2) on the impact of coaching in a public services group reported that training alone resulted in a 22.4% improvement in performance. However, when the training was supported by coaching, the improvement in performance rose to 88%.

So why is it that coaching shows such an impact? Lets’ begin by considering the well recognised approach to adult learning in the workplace, the 70:20:10 framework.

The 70:20:10 Framework is a learning and development reference model which captures the three types of learning – experiential, social and formal – and explains their relationship to one another.

  • The 70% – Experiential/Experience – learning and developing through day-today tasks, challenges and practice. This is what people do in their business as usual practice that uses and applies their new knowledge and skills.
  • The 20% – Social/Exposure – learning and developing with and through others from coaching, exploiting personal networks and other collaborative and co-operative actions.
  • The 10% – Formal/Education – learning and developing through structured courses and programs, reading and research.

Using coaching to support the 70:20:10 model is a great strategy for improving your overall ROI for training.

Let’s overlay this Learning and development framework with a coaching approach and see what we get.

  • 10%- the training program
  • 20%- Coaching conversations with the training program as the core topic. What did you learn? How can you use this? When will you use it?
  • 70%- putting the actions from the coaching conversations into practice at work. Application of knowledge and retention of knowledge and skills


So how specifically does coaching help support the 70:20:10 approach and improve the overall ROI for training?

1.      Goal setting

Coaching offers each learner the opportunity to create goals for the training which support their own individual learning needs. In this way, the learner can identify their personal benefits by pursuing their goal. Having a specific, measurable outcome that is desired by the individual as well as the business also has a major impact on the engagement of the learner during training.

2. Conscious Learning

Having the learner focus on not only what they are learning, but how they are learning, the learner is able to identify which learning strategies are effective for them. For example, a learner may find that they benefit from talking through concepts with others to help them consolidate new ideas, or that they remember new information better when using images rather than notes.

Creating and maintaining a state of conscious learning can be facilitated by a coach and the use of great questioning can help the learner develop their self-awareness.

3. Planning and accountability

Creating an expectation that learners must demonstrate their learning in the workplace, and apply their new knowledge and skills, creates a number of opportunities. Firstly, through coaching conversations there is the opportunity for each learner to make a plan for implementation of their new knowledge, a plan that they are accountable for. The second opportunity comes through greater engagement in the training itself, with the expectation that there will be results arising from the training that the learner is clearly responsible for.

4. Review and follow up

The fourth activity that coaching brings to a training programme is the potential for a review and feedback process. A review of progress against the individual’s goals and plans of action supports the learner ‘owning’ their learning, and where those goals are achieved or progress made there is great opportunity for celebration of success and recognition of effort, while continuing to focus on the application of new skills in the workplace on an ongoing basis.

Organisations continue to invest in Training programs to develop their people which is great, yet the focus is still largely on the event or program itself rather than the application of the new skills and knowledge in action in the workplace.

How do you currently measure the success of a training program?

To really get the most value and ongoing return out of these events, coaching needs to be considered as a complementary approach to bring much greater ROI overall and to create a much greater development opportunity for your people.

What do you think?


AND: Whenever you’re ready… here are 4 ways I can help you grow your coaching and leadership:

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[minti_imagebox img=”20369″ url=””]Want to give your leadership performance a boost? Take the free 28 day self-coaching challenge.[/minti_imagebox]
[minti_imagebox img=”20364″ url=”″]Want learn some great workplace coaching techniques, then join our next free training session.[/minti_imagebox]
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[minti_imagebox img=”20766″ url=”mailto:”]Need something more specific? Just click the image to send us an email and tell us about how we can help.[/minti_imagebox]

THE COACHING LEADER™ - ORIGIN : Sydney 14 Aug, Brisbane 21 Aug, Online 27-28 Aug - With Stacey Ashley & Sarah Derry – Early Bird Individual & Group