Virtual or in-person delivery?
I took up golf many years ago and went about learning to play the game. I read all the magazine articles – “You can swing like Tiger”, “Phil Mickelson shows you his short game”, “Putting when the pressure’s on”, etc. I bought dozens of books and watched endless hours of YouTube videos and televised golf.
I didn’t get that much better.
It was only when I had a golf coach observing my behavior in the moment and giving me prompt feedback that I really began to improve.
The choice of virtual learning versus in-person learning depends on the expected outcome.
- Very effective for delivering knowledge of concepts, theoretical constructs, and specific data
- Effective in connecting people in remote locations
- Low coast after the initial investment in development – materials can be electronically distributed
- Reduces travel expenses
- Easy to track attendance
- Requires investment in appropriate technology and facilitator skill
- Participants can become easily distracted
- Challenging to manage the level of engagement of quieter participants
- Limits the degree to which participants can surface and discuss topics not on the agenda
- Less effective at building communication and interpersonal skills
- Highly effective at enhancing interpersonal skills
- Highly effective at enhancing presentation and communication skills
- Highly effective at building participant networks
- Provides opportunities for immediate feedback and coaching
- Provides greater flexibility for the facilitator to “read” the energy level in the room
- Provides greater flexibility for the participants to surface issues not on the agenda
- Provides a “shared experience” for participants
- Requires investment in travel and expenses
- Increases risk of sharing germs
- Requires greater logistical coordination for meeting rooms, materials, etc.
- Clearly communicates organizational investment in development
When done well, virtual learning can be a fine vehicle for increasing understanding of concepts, theoretical constructs and knowledge. Leadership, especially at the more senior levels, is about relationships, and there is no substitute for being observed and coached in face-to-face interactions with others.
While we do offer virtual development solutions, when the objective is behavior change, we prefer the interaction that is only possible in face-to-face settings.
Off-the shelf or customized?
At Next Chapter Coaching and Development we believe there is no such thing as an “off-the-shelf” leadership development program. While all leaders face similar issues at various points in their leadership journey, how those issues surface and are effectively resolved varies from company to company due to the influence of the organizational culture, regional culture, the people involved, the mission and purpose of the organization and so on. Each solution we offer is tailored to the needs of the client we represent.