learn my new job! Many companies have a trainer or “coach,” who teaches skills to the new employees on a one-on-one basis. This type of coaching is a spontaneous form of training. It provides immediate feedback, and correction. To establish a structured program, parameters must be set regarding issues such as who will conduct the training, what material will be covered, and how long training will last. In addition, the following topics should be considered:
- Selecting and preparing OJT trainers/coaches
- Working with supervisors for successful implementation
- Developing and/or selecting training materials
- Setting trainee prerequisites
- Evaluating performance
- Granting company certification to trainers/coaches and trainees
- Evaluating the program
The coaching-based On Job Training program strategy is based on a few simple ideas:
- Management has to create a positive attitude about coaching.
- A successful OJT program is created in a team environment.
- A champion in the company is needed to administer the program.
- Supervisors are assigned to oversee the training needs of each trainee. (Note: They do not necessarily conduct any training.)
- OJT trainers use coaching skills as they direct the learning process. Every OJT coach is given specialized training on teaching and coaching skills.
- OJT is conducted based on standardized methods for each job or task.
The foundation of the program is its coaches. Coaches must know and be able to perform the jobs they are teaching and also know how to share their knowledge and skills with a novice. Choosing the right people to be coaches and then giving them the support they need is key to a successful program. A coach is “someone who helps someone else (a trainee) learn something that he or she would have learned less well, more slowly or not at all if left alone.” Here are some of the attributes a good job coach should possess:
Responsiveness – expresses interest in trainee, is a good listener, has good communication skills, accommodates individual differences, maintains relaxed manner, and is receptive to questions.
Enthusiasm – is energetic, optimistic, prepared, willing to commit time.
Humor – able to incorporate humor in personal and real-life examples during training.
Sincerity/honesty – takes every question seriously and doesn’t pretend to know the answer if they don’t.
Flexibility – able to eliminate, adjust, or alter material during training according to trainees’ needs and/or time constraints.
Tolerance – able to accommodate different personalities and learning style.
Each program will improve over time. Today’s trainees will learn about coaching relationships and be trained using methods that adhere to adult learning principles. These employees will have a head start when it is their turn to take on the roles of supervisor and coach in the future.
Whenever I was learning a new job, an experienced worker with lots of patience and one who didn’t mind answering the same question always made it easier for me. One in particular that I remember, took me step-by-step slowly and thoroughly through the paces, and made it seem easy. Being a good “job coach” is the same as being a good teacher. We all probably have a particular teacher in mind that made an impression on us that we have carried through life. The responsibility of a job coach is to ensure that all new trainees are ready to fulfill their job duties in a safe and thoughtful way.