Captain Hindsight – Cliff Notes for Coaching – Documentation

What I’ve learning (and wish I had known in hindsight) about being a good coach is:

Many people think a training or coaching session is like high school or university where they are expected to scribble every word you say in a paper notebook they will never look at again. Remind them there are no points for thorough notes and there will not be a written test at the end.

Remind them that the true test will be if they are able to apply what they’ve learned when their boss asks them to perform the task as part of their job tomorrow, next week, or next month.

Take typed notes for the person you are coaching during the session.

Tell them at the beginning that you are taking notes for them and that you will email them the page at the end of the session. Watch a huge look of relief appear on their face.

Write cliff notes. The notes are meant to jog their brain the next day when they’re struggling to remember what you covered. If there’s a key step they kept forgetting, include that part in your notes.

Example: Add Notebook to SharePoint site Navigation **remember to paste link into Notepad + use top URL**

Do not write a short novel. They will never read it. This is not technical documentation. They can use Google to search for step-by-step instructions if you help them learn the language they need.

Remember to include a mix of folksonomy and the correct taxonomy in your notes.

It will not help them understand your notes if you use 100% ‘techie jargon’ = “how to format text by increasing the indent position”.

It will not help them be able to Google how to do something if you use 100% ‘cutesy nicknames’ = “how to move words to the right”.

Taking a moment to work together to agree on the wording to write down gives their brain a chance to process the key point.

While you type out the note, ask them to practice the new skill two or three times by performing the action – this will help them gain muscle memory on where to look and where to click.

Taking the time to quickly type out the notes during the session creates some natural breaks or pauses in the stream of information you are dumping on them.

This is the fifth of five ‘captain hindsight’ blog posts about things I wish I knew when I started coaching. Click here to see the other four posts in the series.