It’s the Model

When asked what makes Entelechy’s training so effective, I can point to a number of things – master facilitators, instructionally-brilliant programming, chunk-sized modules, experiential activities, mind-stimulating exercises, deliberate blending of instructional media/methods, practical application – but one that seems to strike our participants most is our models!  We’ve had more comments from participants on the utility and practicality of our analyzing performance, coaching, feedback, communication, and difficult conversation models.  But why do participants find THESE models so effective?  And how can you apply these lessons to your own models?

I believe that to be effective, models must be prescriptive.  They must prescribe what to do and/or how to do it.  Many models are DEscriptive; they describe something or define it.  There’s a HUGE difference, for example, in describing what coaching is and prescribing specifically how you do it.  In our experience, the “how you do it” is what resonates with people.  In fact, the descriptive stuff often acts as noise; if you MUST describe or define something, move as quickly as you can to the prescriptive stuff.

I also believe that models must be adoptable.  Participants must embrace the tenets of the model; they must believe that the model works.  Part of this embracing is seeing the model in action, working for others.  But the other part of this embracing is seeing themselves use the model.  Seeing the model in action and seeing themselves use the model requires instructional finesse; instructional videos and role plays help participants adopt the model.

headerimage01In addition to being adoptable – easy to embrace – they must be adaptable.  Each person must be able to make the model his or her own; using the model needs to sound and feel natural for them.  I recall one participant, Bob, sharing a story of another training he had attended.  The models Bob learned were highly adoptable – he eagerly cloaked himself with what he learned and immediately put them into practice when he returned to the job.  After a week, Bob sensed a change in his people; they seemed to be growing more confused and many were avoiding conversations with him.  When Bob asked one employee about the unwanted change, the employee blurted out, “We thought you had a terminal illness.  You’re so different and unlike yourself.”  The models – though adoptable – were not adaptable.  They made Bob sound not like Bob.  Participants must be able to tweak the models to make them their own.

If your models are prescriptive, adoptable, and adaptable, your participants may call them “elegant” as one of the participants in last week’s Unleash Your Leadership Potential class called our Coaching Model.  Elegant.  I like that!

Read more valuable leadership and management-related articles in this month’s Unleash Your Leadership Potential newsletter…

November 2014

Author: STEP Consulting