No Training Without Coaching, No Coaching Without Training

Studies have long shown that adult learners retain approximately 26 percent of what they learn in a workshop if the content isn’t reinforced or deployed within a few weeks of the program.  That means roughly 74 percent of the information – and the cost of the program itself – is lost forever.  Why is this tolerated?  What can we do?

In a perfect world, participants would deploy their new knowledge immediately after the learning takes place.  In certain types of on-the-job training this does happen.  Think about apprenticeship programs – a master craftsman shows the apprentice how to do some intricate task, then steps back and watches the apprentice do it himself.  The craftsman knows when to step in and help, and also knows when to let the apprentice problem solve to figure it out.  What do we suppose the retention rate is for this type of learning?  90 percent perhaps?  We don’t know for sure, but it certainly is a lot higher than 24 percent!

Enter the “coach.”  This is someone who coaches in a corporate setting, helping the learner apply the learning that has taken place.  By asking powerful questions, gently reminding and guiding the learner, the coach reinforces the learning that has taken place.  Just like the master craftsman, the coach works with the employee and guides him or her to a higher level of performance and achievement.

Who is this coach?  He or she could be a manager or supervisor, a peer, a recognized “expert” in the department, or even an external impartial person who coaches employees based on their training and experience.  Many approaches work, and the right choice may depend on the culture of the organization and the willingness of employees to be coached.

To sum up, when we train an employee or group of employees, retention rates and desired performance improvements are much higher when the learning is reinforced through coaching.  To let the learner deploy any workshop learning without coaching means losing up to 76 percent of the organization’s investment of time and money, not to mention lost productivity.

For more information about coaching and its impact in the workplace, click here.

– by guest blogger Bob Dianetti


Bob Dianetti is the founder of Radcom, and of Team Dianetti. As a sales and leadership excellence coach, he helps individuals and companies do more, be more, and achieve more. You can find out more about what Bob is doing at