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Archive for September, 2009

Fixed Training Costs versus Variable Training Costs

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On September 21, 2009 NO COMMENTS

calculatingThe current economic client makes it difficult for training departments to obtain any extra funds, much less normal operating funds. Many times departments must “make do” with the budget they’ve been handed. But once you have a budget, no matter how large or how small, you should have an idea of what costs are fixed and what costs are variable.

Fixed training costs are simply the ones you can count on at any point. You’ll budget for these costs and be able to rely on the fact that they will most likely stay the same. For example, the salaries of the training staff are relatively fixed. When you work on your budget, for whatever time period, you know if you’ll be able to add staff, which we will discuss in a moment. You’ll also know how much to budget for increases based on the average from the last year. But altogether, you’ll be able to count on salary as a fixed item.

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7-Steps to Creating a Coaching and Mentoring Program Seven: Make It Permanent

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On September 14, 2009 NO COMMENTS

timthumbAs we close our discussion on creating a coaching or mentoring program, you must take the time to make the program permanent. You’ve measured the success of the program in both human capital and otherwise. You’ve shown that success to the decision makers and stakeholders and they are “on board”. Let’s look at some ways that you can make the program a permanent part of the organization.

First, the key part of permanence is to always be a step ahead of the organization. If things are going to change, you need to be aware of the coming changes. To do this, you should keep in contact with your executive sponsors or stakeholders. Set regular meetings with them using the coaching program as a meeting subject in order to keep the program in their minds. Be prepared to show how you’re evaluating and making changes along the way, both the good and the difficult changes. Once you’ve got this “window” into the future of the organization, you can always be on the lookout for ways to change the program with the organization. And when you do this, your executive sponsorship and buy-in will continue.

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7-Steps to Creating a Coaching and Mentoring Program Six: Look For Ways to Expand

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On September 7, 2009 NO COMMENTS

lookingforwardThe coaching or mentoring program you’ve created is up and running, you’ve evaluated, and you’ve made changes. At this point, you’re probably seeing the successes of the program and would like to help others in the organization achieve those successes. Don’t be afraid to look for ways to expand your coaching or mentoring program. Here are some ways to get more people interested and to expand the reach of your successful program.

First, consider incentive for coaches. If you’ve already implemented incentives for coaches or mentors, look at what incentives you are offering and determine if those are going to be sustainable. If so, offer those incentives to new coaches and mentors in order to get the program into an expansion. If the incentives were experimental, think about expanding them and making them permanent. Under these conditions, think about moving to more valuable incentives. When you find that coaches and mentors are performing well in an incentive environment, this is a sign that you’ve hit the mark. And let’s face it: one of the best ways to get people’s attention these days is to offer value. Another way to expand incentive is to offer “better” incentives for proteges who want to become coaches, or coaches who want to take on additional proteges. There are many ways to get creative with incentive, especially if the program has led to higher productivity or decreased costs.

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7-Steps to Creating a Coaching and Mentoring Program Five: Changing Your Program

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On September 1, 2009 NO COMMENTS

changeMost organizational development professionals know that evaluation of any program can lead to changes. And most of us know that change can be good and also that change can be rather difficult. When it comes to your coaching or mentoring program, you must move forward with the changes you’ve discovered in your evaluation, regardless of whether they are great changes or rather difficult changes. The best way to maintain a good perception, or build one, within the organization is to show that the program can be tailored to fit the current situation. Now is the time to take a close look at your evaluation and determine the changes that need to be made.

First, take a look at the kind of program you have in place. In our first discussion, we talked about the differences between coaching and mentoring programs, as well as the differences between formal and informal programs. Have you discovered that an informal mentoring program just didn’t come together like you thought it would? If so, consider moving to a more formal arrangement. What if your program has achieved results but only on a small scale? This is another reason to consider going from formal to informal. Did mentoring miss the mark, that is, did informal mentoring have a less-than-adequate impact on the organization as far as productivity, management style, or other numbers? If so, think about going to a coaching program that has goals centered on the organization.

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