This content piece is comprised of my story, my lessons and what we are doing to solve a lot of these problems. Please download the content and know you are not alone – in fact – we are united together to help many people for the greater good. And we are here to help you and will be in touch soon.
I spent close to 20 years in HR; Fifteen years in corporate and five consulting for businesses on people best practices, change management and learning and development. I have learned tons of lessons through triumphs and failures; through good leaders and not so good leaders and through all the people I was privileged to have the opportunity to know where I helped them and where they helped me. I didn’t become an entrepreneur because it was something I sought in life. In fact, I still laugh that I am doing this and no longer leading HR. My “why” was always centered around helping others because it made me happy and for the most part, they were also very happy too. The reason for the happiness was grounded in how we helped each other, how we learned from each other, and how we built the core of our potential.
I experienced my first layoff before I even graduated college — in fact I was a child. My parents went through layoffs numerous times in my childhood and were plagued with finding work to be met with not having the qualifications and skills. They did not have college degrees, but they had all the potential and caliber to learn — but very few would provide them a chance. They focused on education being the path to opportunity for me and my sister so we would not suffer like they had in the past. The problem was college education only brings short term results, and not really long term outputs as our world is rapidly changing everyday through technology. Right now, companies cannot find talent and it isn’t because there is not talent anywhere — because there is. It is because of the fact that we stopped investing in people and now we expect talent to be there (fixed mindset) rather than being something that is developed (growth mindset). We take people at face value for what they have vs. what they’re capable of doing. The skills shortage is part of the ignorance epidemic where people are just a commodity and not humans. Humans need to be always learning to further progress not only in the workforce, but as a society. This mindset was always the base and foundation of my core within HR in all the companies I worked for throughout the years. I was not into rehiring, I always had a reskilling-mindset to advance others and bring the engagement, happiness and opportunity to so many people. It was not easy though. Traditional training programs of listening to a facilitator going through endless Powerpoints never made any impact on me or many others. It was hard to retain and apply those concepts and learnings in the workplace. It was foreign and fluffy and many including myself struggled with the“how” to apply whatever we may have learned and retained. Traditional LMS training and module training was equally mind-numbing— again, how can people retain all of this and apply it? When you look at traditional schooling (K-12) there is content, testing, reinforcement and coaching to help individuals apply what they learned in their day to day.
I constantly thought, there has to be a better way?What we are doing is stupid, no one really enjoys it and not many actually remember enough to apply it. Having worked with coaches in the past, mostly for executives, I saw a huge value add to what they could do to help people unlock their potential, retain the knowledge and apply it at work. The problem was, it was costly and time-consuming finding these coaches and ensuring they were legitimate. And when I did have a few finalists for an executive, I remember holding my breath hoping they would like them. I kept on saying, “there has to be a better way”. I couldn’t figure it out and in the interim, continued to watch company after company throw people away due to lack of professional development. I could not do one more layoff, I could not endure another sexual harassment, bullying or discrimination investigation only for it to fall on deaf ears and I could not continue on this path where I felt helpless like the many people I supported. If I couldn’t educate them, what good was I and why am I showing up for work everyday only to come home defeated, deflated and useless. Yes, that is how I felt for 20 years— worthless when I couldn’t help all the people I supported.
Then finally it dawned on me — why can’t I take the best pieces of education and reinforcement and bring it at mass scale?I kept on referring to the Prosci Change Management model as I was thinking about how we can upskill and reskill people in hard and soft skills that they can actually understand, attain and use. First step, we had to bring “awareness” to a major problem at all companies, to CEO’s to CFO’s and most importantly CHRO’s. Driving awareness, that there is a better way to engage and train talent in an affordable way instead of constantly rehiring them—which is so costly, inefficient and ineffective and quite frankly, a major time suck. When I look at things, I always try to get to high impact with low effort — not because of laziness, but because of time and maximum output that can be achieved. Knowing that coaching is not regulated and completely fractured and knowing how much time it took to find, vet and connect people with coaches, the light bulb went off of how I can help CHRO’s and organizations for maximum output in a high output, low effort way that is also affordable and accessible to everyone.
I decided to bring the fractured market of coaches together in a marketplace — a community to help people learn. We take the workout for you and provide experts to companies to advance and invest in their people. Coaching is individual learning with high output of return with reinforcement of skill development. The community of educators in the marketplace keeps people in an always learning mindset for the skills they need to be successful in their job. From communication, diversity and leadership development (soft skills) to project management, sales, operations (hard skills) and more! Every person that comes to the marketplace has access to an educator to help them with their skilled development and to see and feel their progress through development tracking and content reinforcement. It is a win-win. I used to feel alone as an HR executive trying to fight to find ways to help people. But now that I’m helping all of our customers provide continuous learning to their employees, I never feel alone. In doing this we can break the mediocracy principle with constant learning. When someone is learning in a safe and supportive way, anything is possible.
The next step for evolution of learning is building “desire” for people to want to invest in you. Because we have been in this recycle and replace zone since the tech burst of the 90’s, it has been hard for companies, particularly CHRO’s to get the investment monies needed to upskill their talent. Right now, close to 71% of employees are looking for jobs at other companies due to lack of personal development — so the desire is there for them, but how do we build it for the decision makers?Outside of practical math that on average it costs $50K to rehire someone as compared to $5K to actually invest in someone, there is still fear of money being wasted on things that people cannot see. It is hard to see learning and how someone is progressing because typical training programs have not worked — but it is easy to see when people are progressing, engaged and happy. The data shows it! Since our birth in April 2018, we have collected the behavioral data of coaching progress to find some very large themes (please note coaching is a confidential learning structure and data is collected on behavioral progress that stems from the coach, coachees and managers). The major trends we are seeing is that 97% of learners that come to the marketplace of educators are learning and progressing with the agnostic individualized education that they are seeking to develop their skills. This means that 97% of the learners have a growth mindset to further advance themselves. Another major datapoint, is that with all our learners, they are still learning. Any learner that has come in to our marketplace is still with their company and over 73% of learners continue to extend sessions with their current coach or a new coach to help them develop another skillset. In addition, with all the technology we have created to make this accessible for people, the human aspect of learning is at the forefront with a connection with someone who they trust. This is huge and the most important part of the coaching process is to connect with someone on a mental level to help you. Trust needs to be embedded in order to learn and the diversity of our coaches that people can connect with to find their ultimate educator is the largest indicator of success that elevates the learning and the learner within 3 months. When you drive awareness & desire, you enable knowledge to kick in which activates the ability and agility for people to change and further grow themselves. The GROW model is ideal in this scenario. Simply put the GROW Model “is the key to set a Goal which is inspiring and challenging, not just SMART(specific, measurable and achievable in a realistic timeframe).Then move flexibly through the other stages, including revisiting the goal if necessary. The final Will element is the barometer of success. It converts the initial desire and intention into successful action. The GROW approach promotes confidence and self-motivation, leading to increased productivity and personal satisfaction,” which is key to coaching, learning and growing.
Now that knowledge is unlocked it allows for the “ability” for one to really learn and advance their skills. In creating a safe and supportive environment within our marketplace community, learners now have the ability to unlock themselves and transition into a growth mindset. By enabling a growth mindset and having the support from an organization with investment to further skill people, the true power of coaching unleashes for people which is what our data is telling us. The learning from an objective lens from someone that is safe, supportive and purely fixed on their success. With this individualized learning, reinforcement of the skills becomes actionable and livable into one’s day today. The realized potential of someone comes out with ongoing development with their coach.
The true essence of coaching is the change component which I have outlined above with the ADKAR model which cultivates change in people through learning. The change enables new behaviors and a new mind in self development. The change component is critical in coaching with the ever changing landscape of the future of work.
In conclusion, my truest confession of a former HR executive is that things don’t need to be this hard. Meaning, the intention was there to help people, the passion was there to serve people, the opportunity was there to educate people, but the HOW was missing. The workforce is always going to be changing and evolving and it needs to keep the workers of today and tomorrow always learning so the war on talent and skills shortage simultaneously go away-and it will with constant skill development. The last confession I will make in this piece, is this is the first time in 10 years that I am growing. While I helped so many to get the help they needed, very few invested in me for my growth. By changing the landscape I worked in and finding coaches to help me build the potential of possibility with lifelong learning I am growing and stretching myself in so many ways that wouldn’t have been possible prior. And the best part-is that I am no longer angry of what I couldn’t do in the past as an HR executive. In fact, I am the happiest I have ever been because I created a solution for you at the same time as I have been reaching my maximum potential of my own personal growth. We have created a high output/low effort solution for everyone to enjoy. So, let’s go! Let’s develop our people together.