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Supported on-job learning


Does anyone have experience of successfully utilising on-job learning techniques, where coaching, guidance and support has been provided entirely by line managers? I am particularly interested to learn more about:

* How the managers'capability to do this can be developed
* Mechanisms to ensure the coaches themselves are supported
* How success can be measured
* 'Spin-off' benefits

Based on experience, are there any things an HR professional definitely should or should not do?

If anyone can help, I will be pleased to share details of our particular circumstances.
peter north

5 Responses

  1. Using Managers and Other Professionals to Support Training


    I had the task of installing a training process in a North American aerospace company and, given time and resource constraints, I had to use managers and other professionals to suppot the training.

    I also had to come up with a strategy for providing a wide range of training in the UK automotive industry – again using local experts to provide and support the learning.

    Anyway, I summarised the learning I gained from this in an article which you can read on:

    If, after reading this you would like to discuss it further, please e-mail me on the address below.

    Mike Wills

  2. Reflections on developing coaches
    I often wonder whether good coaches are born or can be created, but I’m sure that developing coaching skills is more about an attitude of mind than learning by wrote.

    In your situation, you obviously need to provide some skills training – there are lots of good coaching models about – but it’s important that managers want to make this new approach work, and that may require some good selling first.

    As for support, how about using the managers to coach each other? It’ll help them practise the skills, and realise they have common problems. You could also provide ‘lead coaches’: managers who are more experienced or capable than their colleagues. It’s very easy to fall into the trap of trying to develop coaches without using the very techniques you’re advocating!

    If HR is providing the lead on this new approach, then you need to do some good selling first (see above), and then be a shining example of what good coaching looks like. This is not something that’s achieved by instruction and coercion by the evil HR Director!

    I can point you to specific coaching models, and/or companies that could provide training, so do get in touch.
    Rod Murray
    0118 940 6494.

  3. On-job learning and coaching
    In relation to your question about what a HR professional should/not do, here are a couple of brief additions to the commments of other readers.
    a. do negotiate observable outcomes, allowing from variations in style and stages of development
    b. do ensure that successful achievement at all levels is rewarded, personally acknowledged and publicised
    c. do find ways of harmonising the initiative with posiitive styles of humour and fun within the areas you use for pilot work
    d. don’t expect anyone to fit high quality extra work into an already overcrowded diary.

    Kieran Duignan
    The Enabling Space
    020 8654 0808

  4. Line Managers as Coaches
    You are undoubtedly addressing one of the most powerful ways of creating a learning organisation. Dealing with your questions:
    * Personally, I believe managers’ capabilities as coaches and mentors should be developed through general management and leadership training. Development of one’s staff is an integral and normal part of being a manager or leader.
    * Support line managers by making your best coach the organisation’s guru, champion or senior mentor.
    * Measure success via improved individual, team and business performance (a huge subject on its own).
    * Spin-offs are difficult because by their nature they are hard to predict. I would suggest a happier, more motivated workforce. Continuous learning, encouraged by one’s line manager, is one of the most highly motivating factors. Assessing motivation is difficult itself unless you undertake a staff survey and repeat it to make comparison after, say 2 years.
    I’d be happy to elaborate if you wish.
    Chris C

  5. Training managers to coach

    I designed, delivered, monitored and evaluated a programme aimed at helping line managers both to plan the devlopment of their managerial reports and then coach on-job in areas of competency need. I would be pleased to send you a copy of the evaluation study, which also outlines the method, if you would email your postal address

    Hugh McCedie


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