Empowering professionals across the state of Arizona to develop workplace Talent            

  • 05/30/2019 10:36 AM | Anonymous


    Photo by Julian Howard on Unsplash


    Learning and development initiatives have a huge opportunity to increase participant application and retention of content by better leveraging one key relationship. How is that possible, you might ask?

    It all starts with leveraging the participant’s manager in the development process as a manager-coach.

    Leadership development participants need a support system up, down, and around them to make development really stick – and the manager is a key component of this network.

    Coaching plays an important role in supplementing leadership development. It can help:

    • build faster, sustained outcomes
    • support learning retention and behavior change
    • provide real-time feedback on application
    • focus attention on development plans
    • offer support on challenges
    • drive accountability
    • connect the dots to the organizational big picture

    A coach approach to managing in the workplace prepares people to make the most of their skills and aptitudes, recognize the opportunities that best suit their talents, and move from motivation to action. Getting managers to incorporate coaching into their traditional management skills helps leadership development participants by encouraging personal growth and development between key learning opportunities.



    Participants’ managers don’t always understand their role or know how they can support the development process. But we can change that by formally incorporating touchpoints for participants and managers to have coaching conversations about the leadership development program and the participant’s takeaways.

    Here are some key ways you can engage a leadership development participant’s manager as a coach:

    • Prior to the design of any training/development, get feedback from the participants’ managers to find out what the needs are and them what success looks like for their employee’s participation in the training.
    • Clearly communicate the purpose of the program and the targeted leadership competencies that managers can watch for participants to demonstrate.
    • Educate managers on how they can coach direct reports to support the development during the program.
    • Provide clear expectations on their role in following up with employees before, during, and after training and in giving employees an opportunity to use the new leadership skills.
    • Provide a participant/manager conversation guide to structure conversations during a training/development initiative and help to ensure that managers are connecting with their direct reports that are participating.
    • Have managers work with employees on individual development plans (IDPs) or action plans that accompany leadership development to make sure they apply to the participant’s role and the leadership program objectives.


    To support a recent leadership development program for emerging leaders, we provided The Coaching Clinic™ to the participants’ direct managers, prior to the program start. In addition to the skills, knowledge, and practice the managers received from the Clinic’s structure, they also received tools and other resources to help them best support their participant. 

    We included a manager-participant communication guide, an overview of the content the participant would be exposed to, and the questions the manager could ask to ensure understanding and application. Having this level of knowledge positioned those managers with clarity around their role and how they could best support their participant. Subsequently, the managers not only saw increased involvement and success with their participant, but they also gained valuable coaching skills!


    The manager is such a critical component of the participant support system that enables them to apply learning to their day-to-day job. Providing managers with coaching skills to support participants is a key step to maximizing the impact of leadership development and reaping the rewards that coaching can add to leadership development.

    Linda Dausend CPLP, is a senior consultant at FlashPoint. Linda collaborates with clients to unlock the power of great leaders within their organizations.


  • 05/28/2019 10:26 PM | Anonymous


    Bad salesman trying to convince to a bored client in her office or businessman in a job interview

    Feedback Without Coaching Is Like a Gift Without Batteries


    By Dianna Anderson

    Thursday, May 2, 2019

    Brought to you bycylient.png

    It’s so disappointing to receive a gift you can’t use until you get the batteries to make it work. Giving someone feedback without offering them coaching to make sense of what they are receiving is like giving a gift without batteries--it doesn’t work. Feedback and coaching should be seamlessly paired to spark the insights needed to inspire employees to put in the considerable effort required for lasting behavior change.

    Traditionally, people use feedback to inform others that they perceive something the other person is doing is “wrong” or “bad” and is causing problems. The person offering feedback may even tell the receiver what they need to do differently to “correct” the problem. Many assume that once feedback has been delivered, their job is finished and the problem is solved.

    The real problem with this approach is that simply informing someone you want them to do something differently is not likely to result in behavior change—for many reasons. Think about the last time someone told you to change your behavior ... did you say to yourself, “Of course! Let me get right on that!”? Probably not. Assuming that people will, of their own accord, understand the benefit of learning a new approach and sort out what they need to do differently to attain that outcome is a recipe for frustration on both sides. The person receiving feedback will be frustrated that they don’t know what to do with what they were told, and the person offering feedback will be frustrated that the receiver hasn’t changed.

    Pair Feedback and Coaching

    To avoid this all-too-common outcome, it’s essential to offer developmental feedback within coaching conversations. Feedback can be offered with a coaching approach to appreciatively inform people that they are limiting themselves is some way. That’s the sole focus of feedback. Coaching can then be used to illuminate the underlying assumptions, beliefs, fears, and skill gaps driving the limiting behavior. This pairing of feedback and coaching helps employees understand how they will benefit from doing something differently and gives them the support they need to move into meaningful action.

    That’s why when Cylient partners with organizations to build coaching cultures, we ensure that people learn solid “in the moment” coaching skills before they learn how to offer feedback. Teaching people coaching skills first provides the additional benefit of equipping them to appreciate the uniqueness of other employees’ perspectives and approaches, which enables people to deliver feedback in more appreciative ways—and without the wrapping of judgment that often causes others to reject the gift they are being offered.

    Effective feedback conversations result in an authentic, uncoerced commitment to learn a new way of doing something. That’s what happens when feedback is woven into real coaching conversations--it helps people turn the insights they gained from well-delivered feedback into actions that support them to attain outcomes that truly matter. Sparking this kind of feedback to happen “in the moment” all the time is essential for energizing a culture of coaching and learning.

    Ineffectively pairing coaching and feedback is just one reason feedback often fails.


    About the Author

    Dianna Anderson

    Dianna Anderson, MCC, is the CEO of Cylient, and the creator of Cylient’s unique, systematic approach for instilling coaching cultures—what Cylient calls Change-Able® organizations. The Coaching in the Moment® approach that Dianna created has enabled thousands of people, worldwide, to integrate coaching approaches into any conversation with anyone, at any time, in order to build connections and co-create new ways of thinking and working together. Forbes calls Dianna a pioneer in the creation of coaching cultures. She recognized the transformational power of coaching as a leadership style in the early 90’s when she began her coaching career as one of the first graduates of Coach U. She’s worked passionately since then to realize her vision of making coaching a way of life for the world. She is the co-author of Coaching that Counts, which offers a compelling business case for individual coaching in organizations.

  • 03/24/2019 8:25 PM | Anonymous

    Small business owner showing employee new plan on tablet computer


    Practical Learning Transfer Techniques to Bridge Learning to Performance

    By Ian Townley, Jason Durkee

    Wednesday, March 20, 2019

    While the exact number varies by study, research consistently shows that less than 30 percent of learning is applied on the job. Put differently, 70 percent of learning is likely waste or learning scrap. Many a TD practitioner’s reaction to such data is to design and deliver better training. Unfortunately, that doesn’t solve the problem, because the challenge is to change the training design focus from input of new knowledge to application, or learning transfer.

    Technique 1: Understand the Minds of Users Applying Learning on the Job

    As trainers and instructional designers, we always carefully design training so that participants aren’t under-stimulated or overwhelmed, bored or too challenged, tired through repetition, or confused by variation. However, before shifting our focus to learning transfer, we didn’t fully understand how our participants felt, thought, and behaved when applying learning on the job.

    Over time we realized that the most important thing to improve transfer is to understand what learners do on the job and what’s going on in their minds. They might think to themselves, “Should I try those skills? No, too busy, maybe next time.” Or, “What did I learn in training? Hmm, I don’t remember. Oh well, I’ll do it the regular way.” Or even, “I’d really like to try those techniques from training. But, you know, I’m just not ready yet.” Watching learners in action, talking to them when they’re working, and putting yourself in their shoes are all effective ways to get learning transfer started.

    Technique 2: Identify Common Transfer Problems

    Once you’ve started understanding the problems learners have applying training on the job, you’ll quickly realize that the reason learning doesn’t get transferred into behavior and results is almost never that the learners are lazy or unintelligent. Looking closely, you’ll also see some important patterns. For example:
    • When there’s a lot to remember, learners tend to forget.
    • When they need a lot of practice to master skills, learners won’t improve unless they have opportunities to practice those skills.
    • When learners must change their mindset, they’ll often have doubts and second thoughts about whether they can actually do what they learned.

    Through our decades of experience, we’ve confirmed that different types of training content have predictable learning transfer obstacles. Once you’ve identified the problems you’re likely to face, you can start planning to address them.

    Technique 3: Match Solutions to Transfer Problems

    After you’ve identified the learning transfer problems learners face on the job, it’s surprisingly straightforward to design tactics to avoid them. For example:
    • If learners forget content, send them a series of spaced reminders.
    • If learners don’t have frequent opportunities to use the new skills, involve managers to create chances for them to practice.
    • If learners need practice to attain a higher level of ability, follow up with exercises they can use to build their skills.

    Fortunately, choosing the right learning transfer solution becomes fairly obvious if you understand the application problem.

    As talent development professionals, we must help learners not just develop skills, but also transfer those skills into behavior on the job and get results. In most cases, the learning program is successful, but the transfer effort needs improvement. These three practical transfer techniques will get you started, and hopefully lead to better results for you and your organization.

    If you want to improve performance that transfers into great results and ROI but still find yourself forced to do standard training, join us at the ATD 2019 International Conference & Exposition for the session, Goodbye Learning Events. Hello High-Performance Learning Journeys. We will combine discussion, video, activities, cases, and action planning to help you understand exactly how you can design and deliver more effective learning journeys involving microlearning, virtual learning, and learning transfer.


    About the Author

    Ian Townley

    Ian Townley, CPLP, is an independent learning and performance consultant based in London, United Kingdom. Over the last 17 years, Ian has designed, developed,and delivered learning to cross-cultural audiences for clients in three continents. He specializes in management development and 21st century soft skills learning design. Ian has had the pleasure of working with some of the most recognized names in industry, including Google, Pfizer, and Bayer. He is passionate advocate for the learner and has spent a large chunk of his career trying to solve the puzzle of how to effectively implement learning transfer to benefit the learner and the business.


    About the Author

    Jason Durkee

    Jason Durkee, CPLP, is president of workplace learning and performance consulting firm Idea Development based in Tokyo and a director of ATD Japan. Since the 1990s, he's designed and delivered cross-cultural awareness, innovation and communication development programs to more than 40,000 participants in Asia. Idea Development is recognized as leader in learning transfer, dynamic training design and effective use of technology in Japan. Jason regularly speaks at T&D related events in Asia and has published several books on business communication. 

  • 03/18/2019 9:48 AM | Anonymous

    The next book we will be reading is The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. In total, there will be about two months of reading/discussion before our weeklong end-of-book discussion begins on May 30th.

    If you are interested in participating with other ATD chapters and netowrking at a national level, check out the TD Professionals Book Club page.

    If you are participating, please get the book as soon as you can.  You can find our new book on Amazon here.

    What are you hoping to get out of reading The Power of Habit? Have you heard of this title before?

    Come and share your thoughts with the group in the Online Forum (http://td.pbc.guru)! 

  • 03/16/2019 10:16 PM | Anonymous

    african woman holding speech bubble


    Delivering Actionable Feedback


    By Ken O'Quinn

    Wednesday, January 16, 2019

    Many managers are not good at providing feedback, yet it is one of the most important tools they have to improve a team member’s performance. Indeed, people rely on accurate, useful assessments of their work to help them become better at what they do.

    Effective feedback not only provides guidance to help an employee perform tasks correctly, it also clarifies expectations, builds a person’s confidence, and fosters trust between a worker and the manager.

    Essentially, useful feedback helps employees see how their performance is aligned with the organization’s goals, and it motivates teams to achieve at a higher level. How well people perform is directly related to their ability (from knowledge, skill, and feedback) and their motivation, explains psychologist Edward Locke.

    Many employees have said in surveys they do not receive effective feedback, which is attributable in part to the fact that managers rarely receive training in management communication—not in college, not in MBA programs, and not in executive education.

    Here are a few suggestions managers can follow if they want to give their team members useful, actionable feedback.


    Be Specific

    Don’t provide feedback that raises more questions than it answers. When an employee says, “I’m not clear about what you want,” the manager needs to be more specific about their expectations. Precision is important, because the more exact an employee is at completing a task, the more reliable the outcome. And in many fields, such as engineering, precision is critical.

    Don’t tell an employee that you would like to see “a better job” next time. Using specific language makes the feedback easier to process and remember than comparative adjectives, such as better, stronger, bigger, and nicer. For example, it’s more precise to say, “We cannot have any scuff marks or other abrasions on the surface of this product."

    Prepare for the Conversation

    Critical feedback can create a stressful atmosphere. Employees sometimes get defensive. In response, you become more emphatic, and the employee, in turn, gets increasingly sensitive. The cycle continues, and tensions rise.

    Go into a feedback conversation prepared. Think ahead about what you want to say. What issues need to be addressed? What is the outcome you want? What topics don’t need to be brought up? Don’t try to think through the conversation while you are having it, because you are apt to fumble your way through, or you might sound vague and uncertain.

    Know Why You Are Giving Feedback

    Managers often are uncomfortable giving feedback because they are concerned about alienating the employee. Tone is important, so be polite and respectful. But remember that the purpose of feedback is to provide information that helps the person improve their performance on the job. The more they improve, the better their performance review, and the more they contribute to the team and to organizational goals. Stronger self-confidence is a side effect.

    Encourage Others to Share Suggestions

    Feedback should not be aimed only at subordinates. Managers should elicit feedback from their own superiors and from peers, and employees should invite colleagues to share constructive criticism and helpful observations. Feedback also can be self-generated through personal reflection and evaluation.

    Giving, receiving, and implementing actionable feedback—that leads to learning and tangible results—is essential to performance. One way people translate that feedback into action is by setting goals, which will be a topic for another post.

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    About the Author

    Ken O'Quinn

    Ken O’Quinn is a professional writing coach who has helped thousands of business professionals worldwide improve their ability to craft clear, compelling messages. He started Writing With Clarity following a long journalism career with the Associated Press and now conducts corporate workshops and provides one-on-one coaching. He is the author of Perfect Phrases for Business Letters (McGraw-Hill). His clients include Facebook, GE, Dell, Chevron, Cisco, Georgia-Pacific, KPMG, Campbell’s Soup, Oracle, Motorola, Reebok, Dow Chemical (China), SAP (Singapore), and Vale Mining Corp. (Brazil). 

  • 08/21/2018 10:50 AM | Deleted user

    Managing learning programs is no small feat. It requires knowledge of business and learning objectives, the adult learning theories, and communication throughout, just to name a few. Fortunately, ATD has provided resources for you to piece this puzzle together properly and efficiently. In this article, you will receive some insights into managing learning programs, and receive more resources for your ongoing learning.

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  • 08/13/2018 11:38 AM | Deleted user

    Thought leaders in a 2017 podcast series on TD.org discussed how performance improvement is relevant and how to plan ahead. How are you stacking up in the performance improvement world? What are steps you can take now?

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  • 07/23/2018 10:00 AM | Anonymous

    The ATD VOS Board expresses great appreciation to Cayly Dixon for her leadership and commitment in serving as President this year. Her company was acquired, significantly changing her role and limiting her ability to continue as ATD VOS President. We are grateful, however, that Cayly remains committed to the chapter and intends to stay involved! We extend the very best wishes for success in her new responsibilities with Quorum Software!

    The Board has elected Ina Heffner into the chapter President role until the Fall elections. Ina has previously served on the VOS and Houston chapters' Boards and reconnected with ATD VOS as a volunteer on the 2015 conference committee. She was elected to the Board as Project Manager/Secretary for 2016-18. In this position, she has worked closely with the Board on administrative processes, most notably ensuring the chapter meets, documents, and reports annual Chapter Affiliation Requirements (CARE) accomplishments to ATD National. She is a seasoned leader who is familiar with the chapter’s mission and goals. 

    Ina was an independent facilitator and consultant since 2010 and is joining Salt River Project this month as a  Senior Human Resources Analyst, specializing in learning and organizational development. We are excited to have her leadership. 

    Both Ina and Cayly are committed to delivering value and the ongoing development of key chapter activities like development programming, networking events and the community of practice. Contact Ina at President@atdvos.org

  • 07/11/2018 10:13 AM | Deleted user

    Managing learning programs is a daunting task and requires commitment from stakeholders and learning professionals. Some organizations struggle with learning programs so much so that a new program is launched, evaluated and revamped multiple times throughout the year. The success of the learning program can be narrowed down to the success of the learning organization itself. In this "oldie, but goodie" article from 1993, found in the Harvard Business Review, building a successful learning organization is the focus. The article provides examples of what businesses have done to gain a commitment to learning, including the first steps of fostering an environment where learning can happen. 

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  • 07/06/2018 9:51 AM | Deleted user

    How many of you enjoyed math in school? If you did, you will represent the one person in my example. For me, in school, I hated math class. I also hated the lone person in the class who liked it. Hate may be a strong word, but I just could not understand the appeal. I felt as though the rest of my class was on my side on this one. Each day there were audible sighs when we were told to open our books to the next “exciting chapter” of math. Those sighs seemed to fuel the appreciation even more for the one student and the teacher. I thought to myself on many occasions what it would be like to love the subject of math as much as these two did. Would the overall class experience be better?

    Let’s take this a step further, and probably more applicable. In your current role/department/team, how well does a process or project work when everyone is excited about the process/project? In my own experience, the times when I have worked on a project when everyone on the team was excited and provided input and creativity, the time passed incredibly well and we were successful! In a way, it felt as though we were a community rallying together to accomplish the same goal. The term “strength in numbers” probably applies here.

    I’d like to explore this “community” a little more. There is an industry term, “Community of Practice”, that you may be familiar with. This community is a group of like-minded, often similar in role and responsibilities, that strives to help one another in their respective work-environments. They share best practices, discuss difficult situations that they have worked through or overcome, and bring new innovative approaches to the group to improve industry standards. Think back to the math class. How do you think math would have improved for you with a community like this to assist? We’d probably all be in math-related fields of work!

    What does all of this mean for the ATD Valley of the Sun chapter? Well, simply, we’d like to be that community of learning and talent development professionals. Imagine an organization with members that can improve their understanding of a specific topic, probably job-related, by communicating in an ongoing format. This format would allow for the asking and answering of questions, knowledge management and sharing, stealing borrowing ideas, problem solving, etc. Your membership in ATDVOS should include this community and we’d like to establish it. Soon, we will be posting a series of blog communications for you to interact with, begin to establish a regular cadence of communicating as a community, and begin solving problems for one another to build-up our career aspirations.  In the interim, take a look a Stan Garfield’s Communities of Practice article, posted on LinkedIn in 2016. There is a great deal of information to learn about how communities will benefit us. Stay tuned!

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