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Training Tip: Skill Practice for Team Excellence

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When looking to enhance the skills of your team members, the art of skill practice should play a major role. It’s a method we’ve trained with at The Blue Collar Success Group®, and the feedback we’ve gotten from members is that it’s a game-changer. They’ve seen increased learning and retention from team members, and that directly results in increased revenue and efficiency. 

I’d like to take you through a few of the finer points of skill practice. 

Understanding Skill Practice
First, you may be asking, “what is skill practice?” You might have heard this referred to as role playing. We like to refer to it as skill practice because that’s truly what we’re doing. We’re trying to increase the skill of a team member within the dynamic of a group exercise. The key, though, is to keep it small. 

Small Groups, Big Impact
To optimize skill practice, start with small groups. It doesn’t require a large team; even two individuals can engage in meaningful skill practice. Ideally, three participants work best: the technician, the client, and the coach. Each person in the group rotates through these roles, ensuring a comprehensive learning experience. 

Defining Roles and Expectations
Setting clear expectations for each role is crucial. The technician’s task is to get it right, aided by a scripted guide initially. Memorization comes with practice, transforming the interaction into a fluid conversation. The client’s role is to be agreeable, allowing the technician to focus on perfecting their skills. The coach ensures the technician stays on track without directly instructing, fostering a coaching-up mentality. 

Empowering with Answers
To guarantee a smooth process, provide the technician and client with the necessary answers beforehand. Display key questions and their corresponding answers on a poster or whiteboard. This empowers both roles, ensuring consistency in responses and facilitating a seamless learning experience. 

Rotating Roles for Holistic Learning
After the technician has practiced the targeted section, rotate roles. This rotation involves the technician becoming the client, the client becoming the coach, and the coach becoming the technician. This dynamic ensures a well-rounded understanding and application of skills. 

Guiding from the Sidelines
As the facilitator, your role is to monitor, rather than intervene. Walking the room, your objective is to ensure the flow of skill practice continues. If a coach falters, gently guide them back on track, emphasizing the team approach – where together, everybody achieves more. 

Potential Challenges
The main challenge we see is that many in the room already have the answers. Therefore, when someone makes a mistake, it can create an awkward situation if not handled correctly. Remember, the purpose of skill practice is to help someone get it right, so how you moderate when this happens is key. 

Keep in mind that not everyone is going to embrace skill practice initially (not everyone likes to be on display in group settings). However, if done correctly, once the ice is broken it can become an exercise that your team looks forward to. Not only will it help scale up their skills, but it also helps them feel connected to you and the rest of your team. 

Read this article and more in the May/June 2024 edition of ACCA Now. 

Chris Crew

Posted In: ACCA Now, Customer Service, Employee Training, Management, Sales Training, Soft Skills

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