In our last article we explained how you can become an expert at any skill by using deliberate practice. To recap, deliberate practice is set apart from regular practice as it demands a high level of focus, seeking out constant feedback and ways to improve, and making sure that you're always challenging yourself.
If you want to help your learners upskill, develop their talents, and become experts at any skill, then here's how.
How do the very top achievers become the best? With the help of expert coaches
In our last article we looked at the examples of Serena Williams and Magnus Carlsen, the very best of the best in their respective fields. While they undoubtedly have a phenomenal amount of talent and perseverance, they didn't get to number 1 in the world alone. One of the main driving factors of their respective successes were their coaches. Let's take a closer look.
Serena Williams - Tennis: From a young age, Williams had strong mentorship from her father (a former tennis player). As she progressed through the rankings and began to play competitively, she started to receive coaching from some of the world's best former players. Her current coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, has been an integral part of her success - helping her to analyse every single game she plays and encouraging her to push past her limit.
Magnus Carlsen - Chess: Similarly, although extremely talented from a young age, Carlsen also has received expert guidance. Famously, Carlsen was trained by the world's best chess player Gary Kasparov. Although an expert at analysing his own games, it's no doubt helpful to have the constant feedback of a top player and a second pair of eyes when doing analysis on where he could improve.
You might not be training your learners to be the top tennis or chess player, but the principles are the same. Everyone benefits from a coach's mentoring - and in fact it's this type of guidance that can really help to nurture your learners into the best they can be.
Great! I’m sold on the idea of deliberate practice. How can I apply it to learning and development within my company?
As we’ve seen, practice itself isn’t enough. What really makes a person improve at a skill is by practising alongside frequent feedback, testing, analysis.
How can you apply this knowledge to the learning and development of skills within the workplace? Well, many companies make the mistake of expecting their employees to upskill simply by setting them content to complete, such as reading content and completing some exercises. But this isn’t enough.
Ideally, you’d need a system that allows them to learn and receive feedback all in one go, with features such as the following:
- Exercises: Use exercises to test out their abilities. Don't forget to provide feedback!
- Q&A: An in-context Q&A is a great tool for coaching. Especially if allow learners to ask questions on any piece of content, and an expert within the company can answer them - creating a bank of questions and responses, too.
- Coach role: Allowing people to assume the 'coach' role is a great way to encourage mentorship, as they can set assessments, 1-to-1s, and so on for their learners.
- Quizzes: Quizzes are an effective way to test knowledge. But without detailed feedback, it’s hard to know where they’ve gone wrong and how to improve next time.
- Objectives: Set objectives so that your employees can put what they’ve learned into practice - ideally with a way to track their progress and offer advice as they go along.
- Surveys: Getting your employees to fill out surveys on things such as events, training courses, etc. is really helpful when working out how you can improve the next round (i.e. getting feedback from a new employee on induction & onboarding, so you can improve the process the next time around).
- 1-to-1s: Regular 1-to-1s are a great way for a manager to give constructive feedback to their employees, so they can build on their learning for next time.
The best way to help your learners become experts at any skill is to start now. If you help them with analysis, mentoring, and providing feedback and encouragement, then there's no limit to how much they can learn.
If you would like to learn more about facilitating the key elements (such as practice, analysis, and feedback) of deliberate practice within your company, then click here to find out more about Learn Amp.