If you were to ask me if I like to run, I would most likely say “no.” However, a little-known fact is that I have completed 5 full marathons and numerous half marathons, 10k runs and 5k runs.
Why run, you might ask? As I began moving toward the half century mark, I needed to find a way to be healthier and get my weight under control. That is when I teamed up with my running buddy, Brent Engel. We ran together at work during our lunch break and met up every Saturday morning for what we termed, our long run. Brent is not only a great running partner, but his behaviors can be utilized to become a better coach and trainer. Here are just a few examples of behaviors Brent exhibits:
• Every Saturday morning, Brent would prepare us for our long run by driving the route, which was a little over 5 miles in length, and dropping bottles of water. While we carried water with us during the run, it was not enough to last the entire route. During our run, just at the time we needed it, there were a couple bottles of water to provide us with the motivation to continue moving forward.
Be sure to fully prepare your teams for continued success. Be aware of the points when they may need extra resources to continue and take steps to provide them.
• When training for a marathon, there are several long runs that are approximately 20 miles each. Needless to say, they can sometimes be difficult to complete. On several occasions, I would let Brent know that I was not sure I could finish the run. At this time, Brent would begin encouraging me verbally and even altering his pace to match mine, but he would not let me give up.
Many new team members and managers will reach a point when they begin to doubt whether or not they can learn the task or perform the job. This is when those words of encouragement will mean the most. Be on the lookout for those points in time when people typically hit a wall and be available to help them through it.
• Finally, after waking up early and completing a long run for yet another weekend, it is easy to either stop and rest or simply move on without fanfare. But completing a 10 to 20 mile run is quite an accomplishment and Brent would always ensure we celebrated our achievement with a cup of coffee. It was a small thing but it allowed us time to talk about our run, discuss any issues we were having, and begin mentally preparing for the next weekend’s run. Learning a new skill or mastering a current one is always an achievement and it should be celebrated. The celebration does not need to be huge (Brent and I recognized our weekly accomplishment with a cup of coffee) but the event needs to be recognized. As the trainer, we may have learned the skill a long time ago but it is brand new to the learner.
As trainers, we must ensure basics are completed such as presenting the content and checking to verify the information is retained, but we have so much more to do to ensure the success of our learners. Accumulate and provide the tools and resources necessary to perform the job. Know the usual points in the process when mental and physical barriers generally appear and be available to provide encouragement and motivation when appropriate. And do not forget to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of the learner. Even a small act can make a big difference!
Jeff McLanahan is a seasoned executive with more than 20 years of proven success with some of the most well-known and highly respected franchise brands. Jeff has held executive roles in the food service industry as well as the home services industry.