19th Century Prussian General Moltke famously said “no plan survives contact with the enemy.” This came to mind the other day when I heard about a coach who struggled to get engagement with the delegates on a course they were running. I think this was partly because they had failed to get proper quality assurance on their training materials.
I’ve seen this coach on their feet and they are a dynamic and inspiring speaker. They were eagerly anticipating this new course as a breakthrough in their business. If it went well there was the possibility of follow up work with this and associated clients. So they had written a whole new set of course notes & handouts and had them printed on logo-ed paper, spiral bound with a colourful front sheet and acetate cover. It looked terrific; how could it not fail to impress?
The course tanked for a couple of reasons but here I’m going to concentrate on the materials. I can sum up the content in 1 word: great. But as for presentation – as Grace the school secretary in Ferris Bueller said “they make you look like an ass, is what they do, Ed.”
Perception of You & Your Coaching
Getting materials right is crucial to your delegates perception of you and especially your professionalism. Well presented material will pass by unnoticed – why wouldn’t it look professional. But anything sub standard will leap out and jar the senses casting aspersions on you. They will not be impressed by the colourful acetate cover if there’s a typo in the title. And if that wasn’t bad enough the same typo continued throughout the text. Remember spell checkers only pick up misspelt words not a correctly spelt homophone; think your and you’re or sail and sale.
We all know when you hand out any materials in any classroom situation you lose the room for a while whilst they look at this bright glittery object. If those materials are full of errors, typos, omissions or even just written in a way that people don’t relate to, then when you get their attention back their perception of you will have changed. Now your task to run an inspiring session and secure that repeat business becomes so much harder.
It’s very difficult to QA your own materials. I found a copy of my undergraduate dissertation the other day and noticed a typo on the 1st page – how many times must I have read that back in the day and not noticed it? And we also know we can’t rely on technology for everything. So always get someone to QA your material. Just a fresh pair of eyes can pick up so many of the little things your brain has skipped over.
Professional Quality Assurance of Coaching Materials
Now wouldn’t it be even better to get a fresh pair of professional eyes to look over your work? Not only can they get those little errors they can also suggest improvements, perhaps ways of reaching people who learn in different ways. Ways to interact in a coaching situation to different audiences with different outlooks and expectations so that your lovingly crafted session will survive beyond that 1st contact.
The Coaching Revolution™ by Coaches Supporting Coaches; a whole new way of looking at the business of coaching.