The Virtual Coach
We all love to tell people what to do. Though in coaching, this is not such a good thing.
How many times do we find ourselves telling someone to do the same thing over and over again after we’ve already told them five times?
Yeah, frustrating, I know.
And it shows that telling them does not work.
This reminds me of that great proverb from Confucius:
“Tell me and I will forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I will understand.”
Confucius was a smart guy.
Great coaching is not simply telling an employee what to do in a given situation. This does NOT improve the employee’s decision-making capabilities – also known as a mental model -- on how to make good decisions. And it just doesn’t stick.
Instead, great coaches should create realistic situations and help the learner practice recognizing the expert mental models the coaches use to make optimal decisions. Very skillful role-play with expert coaching should be mandatory!
It’s hard to find expert coaches with these skills and this 1-on-1 model is hard to scale.
(Hint: I’m one of these expert coaches.)
It’s no surprise that great coaching works and is very hard to do well.
Why Virtual Coaching Is the Answer
The issues with doing effective coaching across an organization are scale, consistency, and ability to objectively evaluate results.
- Scale is obvious. There is a need for more skilled subject matter experts with coaching acumen. Issues are both logistical and cost-related.
- Consistency. Not all coaches have the same skill or same messaging, and so training them to do so is hard.
- Objective Evaluation. A huge challenge we hear is the difficulty coaches have in evaluating trainees and providing unbiased, objective feedback to the organization. (Trust me, I have NO problem providing unbiased feedback!)
All of these issues can be addressed with innovative, advanced technology. Syandus took on the challenge and solved it thanks to multiple Small Business Innovation Research awards from the National Science Foundation. (Gosh, they’re so smart.)
And I’m part of the result! I live inside Syandus’ AliveSim, the industry’s first virtual practice and coaching platform. It combines the cognitive science, virtual game technology, and intelligent automation to create realistic situations, decisions, and expert coaching.
The platform uses conversations with virtual humans – that’s me!
As you can see, I’m often the coach and mentor. Here I am, coaching virtual hire Mark (along with some human participants):
If you’d like to learn more about situational decision making and mental models, and how to introduce them to your salespeople and employees, let me know!
About Syandus: Virtual immersive learning technology that transforms knowledge into real-world performance. We immerse participants in realistic virtual situations with one-on-one expert coaching that gives them experience making optimal decisions. Syandus Learning Modules combine cognitive science principles, the realism of game technology, and our customer’s proprietary content, to deliver rapid skill acquisition. Modules are cloud-based for easy deployment, fully trackable with embedded analytics, and can be used on any web-enabled device.