News & Notices

Coaching for Training Transfer

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Last week I did a presentation for ASTD about how trainers can utilize coaching skills to help them increase the training transfer of participants. In the United States corporations spend 210 billion annually on training employees. Yet according to the U.S. Business Leadership Review only a small portion of learning is actually transferred to the workplace. After the training program takes place about 62% is transferred, this reduces to 44% application after 6 months, further dropping down to 20-30% after one year. These are staggering statistics and there are a number of factors that play into why this happens.

Some of training transfer being reduced can be attributed to the following factors:

  1. The training content was not relevant to the job the employee was performing
  2. The time that the training took place was not simultaneous with actual application on the job
  3. The work place was not conducive or supportive to the trainee applying what had been learned

The principle factors identified in research by Love (2001) were lack of encouragement, support and reinforcement of training by the manger or supervisor.


This is where coaching can enter the picture to help bridge that gap from the training event to application on the job and even better, integration of skills into everyday behavior. Coaching can help take Kirkpatrick’s model of evaluation from Level 2, learning up to Level 3, application. Dennis Coates in his article for ASTD Info Line, Enhance the Transfer of Training says “While only the direct manager can provide effective performance coaching in the workplace, they can be supported in this role. For one thing, trainers are uniquely qualified to get involved in follow up reinforcement.”

What would our training transfer rates be if Trainers were to follow up with their participants as a group, team, or 1×1 to help facilitate the support, knowledge and learning integration that participants require to make that connection from classroom or online content to their everyday world?

Coaching can be utilized by Manager or Trainer to help facilitate the process of training transfer. The leader will have the benefit of being able to see frequently how the employee is performing with the new knowledge and skills, which can be very useful if the leader is willing to coach and provide timely feedback for the associate. The Trainer can also play a role in scheduling follow up sessions with participants in a team, group or 1×1, to further coach and help the students make connections in their daily routines.

Trainers can be actively involved in the support and transfer of knowledge into application on the job and integration into a new behavior set. They are intimately familiar with the content and materials of what was trained and can play a vital role in communicating and coaching students through the process of shifting perspectives and habits. This ideal is that coaching becomes a requirement of training so that all participants know that follow up coaching sessions will be inherent in the training process to support the transfer of knowledge and skills.

If you would like to know more about how to set up a coaching program within your training process please contact Karen 🙂


Photo: Freedom / Coney Island Mermaids Parade 2007 See-ming Lee via Compfight  Creative Commons 125px

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