Make Training Stick: Coaching As a Strategy

By Holly Stiel President, Thank You Very Much Inc. | April 13, 2009

I will focus on the final two questions in this article.

In many hotels, the annual review is the only opportunity employees receive to discuss their performance. With ongoing coaching, even as little as once a month, there are never any surprises. There is also the opportunity for continuous improvement. Little by little, one behavior at a time, employees can improve their performance by at least 12 things within a year, all because they chose which areas they could work on themselves.

I realize that the idea of coaching is nothing new -- what I also realize is that most hotels say they coach when, in fact, they are not actually following a coaching model that encourages self-discovery.

I recently attended a meeting where the executives said they constantly coached and were very familiar with the process. As I probed further, I was told, "I'm not really interested in what the employees think. I just want them to do what I tell them to do." The most important distinction here is that Coaching is not TELLING -- it is asking and listening.

Experience shows that people are much more engaged and successful when they buy into their own ideas. If we, as managers and executives, want behavior to change as a result of training, we need to engage the employee in the learning process. We never liked being told what to do as children and we don't like it any better as adults.

Changing from telling to asking is a huge paradigm shift for the employee as well as the manager. It takes a commitment to the process as well as to the specific language of a coaching conversation. Whenever I teach a class on coaching I am always told that coaching is valuable and important. Having said that, the very next thing I hear is that there is no time to coach. Everyone is so busy they couldn't possibly do one more thing. The true payoff is that if coaching is handled correctly and consistently, it eventually becomes a time-saver and a stress reducer.

Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.