Sometimes the Barrier to New Skills is the Cost of the Tools

I’ve seen the same scenario play out for my organizational partners who feel the urgency for increased coaching skills among their workforce.

That’s one reason why I’m a terrible snow skier. (Or maybe it’s just an excuse.) When I evaluate the cost of the travel for my family of four, plus the lift tickets and everything else, the price for mastery is prohibitive. My motivation to increase my family’s capability in skiing is not sufficiently strong enough to balance the steep entry fee. As a result we remain forever tethered to dry, warm ground.

I’ve seen the same scenario play out for my organizational partners who feel the urgency for increased coaching skills among their workforce. Have you ever purchased coaching training? It’s worse than lift tickets. Coaching training almost always requires role-playing. And that requires a lot of warm bodies and man-hours to create and execute the simulated conversations. Coaching becomes a back burner, nice-to-have while the organization pursues more urgent learning priorities.

There are options. I recently had a compelling experience with an online coaching simulation. It blew my mind.

You should check it out, too. It’s a demo of a new simulation Blueline is rolling out this month: PeopleSIM™: Coaching and Performance Counseling.

I logged in from the comfort of my desk, and was introduced to Brooke Learner, one of my virtual direct reports. Logic told me that she was simply an actress captured on video, whom I was now watching on the screen. But the algorithms that dictated her responses to my coaching interventions were realistic to the point of being bizarre.

“I notice that you talk a lot during meetings,” I told the young woman onscreen, who had been sitting there blinking, looking at me, awaiting my coaching.

Immediately Brooke became defensive: “Well, I’m the only one who is contributing anything in meetings. Everyone else is quiet! So I guess you don’t want my ideas?”

Oops. This is not going well, I thought. Now the conversation was off on the wrong foot, and it would be difficult to recover. My mind raced with other prompts I might have used to frame this coaching conversation. Brooke sat there staring at me, awaiting my next brilliant intervention.

It felt real.

As vivid and engaging as this experience was, what was most interesting was what was not there. No training breakout room. No “real” person to step into the role of actor. No need to create a script or build anything. Brooke was ready to go. I could imagine dozens – no, hundreds – of organizational learners having their own coaching experiences, all from their desks, simultaneously, in a way that is blissfully easy on stressed training budgets.

Even better, the simulation deals with the “inconsistency problem” that plagues role-plays. Brooke Learner responded to my coaching with pinpoint-accurate, unambiguous feedback. The PeopleSIM™ felt real, provided me with detailed feedback and offered comprehensive remediation on the spot. It offered me a fun and engaging path to becoming a great coach.

Brooke is ready for a conversation with you, too. It’s a lot of fun even if – and especially if – you blow it as badly as I did. The learning insights stick.

Check it out for yourself. Demo the coaching simulation now. Then we’ll see how well you do.

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