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20 ways to do e-mentoring and e-coaching – feature

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This feature was contributed by by Jo-Ann Driscoll and Amy Finn, Ph.D. of Centra Software, Inc.


Okay – you have a live Web-based training delivery mechanism in house that you use for training within your organization. It works great – people don’t have to travel to get to your training; your trainers don’t have to travel to their students. Training can be set up at the last minute, if necessary.

Now you’re thinking about other ways to use this tool. Have you thought about mentoring and coaching online? There are a lot of new ways that you might want to utilize eMentoring and eCoaching in your business, and here are just 20 of them!

1. Solve problems – We’re talking about 1-to-1 discussions that focus on solving anything from math problems to managerial problems. Being able to write on a whiteboard to brainstorm the solution or sharing documents in real time over the Web is a great help compared to simply talking with someone on the phone.

2. Assist with topics in question – You can accommodate a variety of questions by bringing another person online to discuss the topic. The session can be set up very quickly.

3. Trouble-shooting – For example, let’s say that you are on the help desk staff and someone calls about a problem with a software application. You can set up a live online session and application share the application in question. Then you can walk the trainee through the portion of the application that is causing the problem.

4. Review projects – Are you wondering about the completion status of a project? Are the reports done? Is the content ready? What stage are the graphics in? Once again, application sharing the project deliverables is a great way to identify where a project stands.

5. Status reports – The status report can be brought into a live, online session so that the results can be discussed while everyone is looking at the same content.

6. Sales forecast review – Wondering what the next quarter may bring? You can work with each regional sales manager to review and discuss anticipated results before the next big sales meeting.

7. Soft-skills coaching – Are some skills lacking within your organization? You could provide overall training, of course, but if skills are lacking in different areas of different individuals, you might want to go online to help out in specific areas.

8. Procedures and process – Questions on procedures and process can be explained step-by-step online with the help of shared diagrams and drawings.

9. Question and answer – Perhaps as a manager or trainer, it would be useful for you to have “office hours” when you are available to answer questions from employees, customers or partners. Use individual, online breakout rooms for additional privacy.

10. Examination preparation – Work with individuals on a one-on-one basis to prepare them for certification exams.

11. Filling out forms – An employee wants to apply for tuition reimbursement, but doesn’t understand how to fill in the appropriate form, or even where the form is located. Go online to show the employee where it is and how to do it. The next time, the employee will be able to do it himself.

12. Benefits explanation – There are often questions on benefits that far-flung employees have. Often those cannot be answered easily over the telephone. Use a live online session to provide an explanation that includes visuals, if necessary.

13. Performance review and employee feedback – In this day and age, many managers are responsible for employees who do not work or live in the same office or area. Performance reviews become a rather impersonal event held over the phone with the review document being emailed or sent to the employee. Using a live, online environment helps to personalize that event and provide more give-and-take.

14. Tutoring – Has one of your employees hit a rough spot in his or her career development? You could just tell him to find some training somewhere, but if you or another employee already has the skills, online tutoring would be a much faster and more efficient way to bring him up to speed.

15. Proposal review – In many situations, a proposal is developed by a group of people with one person as the focal point. Reviewing the proposal can eliminate duplicate statements and clarify the intent. If you use a tool like application sharing in an online session, you will speed up the review process.

16. Content design – Use the live online environment to collaborate on design for a presentation or other content. Individuals involved can look at the same document or presentation and make live updates.

17. Demo preparation – New sales staff may need to learn how to provide an effective, sales-producing demonstration of a software product. You can use application sharing to walk the sales person through the proper procedure for the demo and, if necessary, conduct the demo remotely.

18. Customer issues and objections – One of your sales people is in a sales situation and has found that the prospect has an objection that he cannot answer. A live, online session allows you to provide the support that the sales person needs, enabling you to talk directly with the prospect and the sales person.

19. Review of logistics for conferences or seminars – Are you working with a group responsible for a conference or seminar? Use a live, online session to coordinate various logistics, including room layout, capacity planning, registration, presentation schedules, etc.

20. Dry run for presenter – Do you have a remote presenter who plans to present at your conference? Would you like to have her go through a dry-run with you before the conference begins? Go online with her, upload her presentation, and review the content in advance.

As an added bonus, if you record the session, it will be available for review afterwards.

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