Robert Coates is a Partner at Blueline. He leads teams to collaborate with clients in defining, designing, and developing communications and development solutions. Robert holds a Bachelor of Arts from Furman University and a Masters of Divinity from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
As a Master Trainer in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), I have worked with organizations around the world for more than 30 years to develop solutions to provide workforces with the knowledge, insights, and skills needed to achieve their strategic objectives.
As Director of a school-age children’s program at an emergency shelter for children in Louisville, KY, I worked with a cross-agency group to develop family and systems training for staff. This led to the opportunity to move into my true passion and calling—training design and facilitation. Jim Tripp, Vice-President at Kaset, Inc. (later to become part of Achieve Global), gave me my first opportunity to become a full-time trainer and facilitator. Over the years, I have continued to seek his advice and counsel.
Later, I started Success Sciences with a partner and founded CanDo Communications before joining Blueline. These founding leadership roles in two start-ups helped me develop a keen understanding of various business aspects and entrepreneurial and leadership challenges.
I wouldn’t be where I am today without Jim’s help and two other mentors from my work with CLG (Continuous Learning Group, now part of ALULA)—Julie Smith and Steve Jacobs, who introduced me to the power of behavior analysis for organizational change. Last but not least, it was Doug Wesley of ChangeCraft who mentored me in what it takes to truly transform an organizational culture.
My Personal Philosophy
- When you have the opportunity and means to help someone, do it!
- Courtesy costs nothing.
- When someone shows you who they are… believe them!
- Life generally doesn’t turn out the way you thought it would, but it still can be beautiful and wonderful.
- It is what it is…deal with it.
- Always be learning!
Why I Joined Blueline Simulations
The founders’ core values of integrity, customer focus, and continual improvement attracted me to the company, as well as the company’s commitment to helping customers achieve their organizational goals through high-quality, immersive, customized solutions.
I was initially a contract partner on a couple of projects for Blueline. I’ve since become a Partner and the pharma practice leader.
The L&D space has changed a lot since I joined in 2004, but our commitment to contextual learning through engaging, immersive learning experiences has not. With our synchronous and asynchronous scenario simulation platforms and our expertise in developing contextual simulations directly related to the customer’s specific needs, challenges, culture, and organization, I think we are well-positioned to continue to bring unique value to our client partners.
What Still Inspires Me About the World of Learning and Development
I love learning, and my favorite part of my job is continually learning about my customers’ challenges, as well as the inner workings of their businesses.
I’m excited to be part of a new focal area for the industry—how to bring effective, engaging, contextualized micro-learning to the development of powerful skills such as sales, leadership, and coaching.
I still recommend everyone in the learning and development space read (and regularly review) Robert Mager’s book, Analyzing Performance Problems: Or, You Really Oughta Wanna–How to Figure out Why People Aren’t Doing What They Should Be, and What to Do About It. Way too often, I’ve seen projects where training has been expected to address a performance issue that had nothing to do with individuals’ knowledge or skill.
- The meaning of your communication is the response it generates in the other person, which may or may not align with your intent.
- A person’s actions always make sense from their frame of reference.
The advice that has got me where I am today:
- You have to be willing to fail in order to succeed.
- Always underpromise and over-deliver.
I live with my lovely and supportive wife in Tampa, FL. In my spare time, I like to relax by working in the garden, playing the guitar, and training for triathlons. I won first place in my age group in my first triathlon at the age of 60! My favorite activity these days is spending time with my two grandchildren.