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Preparation, preparation, preparation!

The cornerstone of effective training is the prep – it’s the crucial ingredient of any successful training programme. Without it you have a wayward initiative, like a ship without a rudder.

We often hear how advisers and planners spend time and money on ad-hoc training courses just to meet CPD requirements. They pick from a list of courses, get a sheep-dip experience, then return to their workplace, get stuck-in to catch-up on emails and work – and lo and behold a few weeks later, it is all forgotten. The invest yield was, yes you guessed, NIL.

It doesn’t have to be this way

Investment in training for financial advisers should deliver results in terms of changed behaviours and long term improvements in performance. I’d like to share some useful tips to help you get it right, and they all start at the beginning – assessing your needs for training across your team and planning the programme effectively.

Step one – conduct an effective Training Needs Analysis (TNA)

Training that really impacts performance does require effort. Be prepared to dedicate your energies to it if you want the best outcomes possible. The good news is, with the correct programme in place, your teams will learn skills to help provide a better service for your clients and operate more effectively. Follow these guidelines to keep you on track:

  1. Training must show a clear link to the ongoing performance management process i.e. it must relate to the role and development path of the individual and how this contributes to the overall performance of the organisation.

  2. It should be a collaborative process, with open communication between manager and adviser to ensure objectives and expected outcomes are clear and agreed.

  3. Consider how best to deliver the training. Whilst there is an array of options available, many training commissioners still tend to favour courses. Is this the most effective option for all the training? Does this reflect the way people learn today and in particular the profile of advisers within your organisation? There are other ways, so be open to considering options and combining different approaches.

  4. A training course is a significant financial investment but beware of trying to cut corners to reduce costs. Where training professionals are asked to compromise on the delivery process, this can lead to changes which impact the overall outcomes of the training.

  5. Training should be designed within the overall development/performance management process rather than ‘bought in’ in isolation. A reputable trainer will ensure that they build in elements of the whole process, blending the two to optimise effectiveness. Supplementary follow-up sessions, coaching or mentoring will also be beneficial to help consolidate the learning and ensure advisers remain engaged in the process.

  6. It’s also important to remember that there is a learning gradient. At the core of TNA is the need to establish the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed for effective performance within an organisation. This is the easy bit – it will take longer to achieve mastery of any new skill and to change attitudes and behaviours that will last.

TNA at work with Capital Asset Management (CAM)

We used this approach to develop a programme for CAM, delivered by our team member Pete Harvey. This is what Alan Smith, the CEO of CAM had to say:

“The Training Needs Analysis process has worked very well for the team at Capital. The initial approach of engaging one to one with each person to identify key issues and roadblocks and then work collaboratively to find a series of solutions through one to one coaching has been a game changer for us. Our team is fairly eclectic with different ideas, outlooks and personalities. However, Peter has been able to work with every one of us and leave each team member with a positive outcome and clear plan of action.”

“I have really enjoyed the process of working with Pete. He has one of the most valuable and yet rare skills in modern business – he listens!

He takes the thoughts and ideas running around in my ‘monkey mind’ and calmly interprets them in his quiet assuming way. We then collaboratively shape them into a sensible structure to remove problems that have been keeping me stuck. Pete has been super helpful for me as a source of wise counsel and creative wisdom.”

If you’d like to discuss a structured approach to planning your training needs, please get in touch firstly with Jan Bowen-Nielsen via email.

To find out more about our Leadership and Management Training and Qualifications to grow your talent and align their skills with your organisational objectives, click here.

This article was previously written by Pete Harvey of Quiver Management, and has been adapted and updated by Jan Bowen-Nielsen.

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