Party Professor – May 2023


Coaching vs. Training

Training Is Important, but Coaching Truly Builds a Team of Winners

Beth Standlee 0319

Beth Standlee

By Beth Standlee, CEO, TrainerTainment

Imagine you employ a new team member who seems to be a great new hire. You’ve taken every step to help ensure her success. The job description is clear. The orientation provided all the rules and best practices for successful service. Your new team member completed all your online learning courses and passed with flying colors. Finally, she worked three shifts with the best OTJ (on the job) trainer in your facility. She’s now ready to face a shift on her own.

The day comes and traffic was horrific. Your new team member arrives 10 minutes late for work. As a coach and a good leader, the best thing you believe you can do is to be understanding and compassionate. The challenge is, the late to work behavior violates your “always ready to work” core value. The training provided in orientation says on time is five minutes early. If you choose to ignore or downplay the late arrival as a coach you’ve now rendered the training irrelevant.

As difficult as it might be, a good coach expresses curiosity about the “why” of the late arrival and can express understanding of the horrific traffic. However, a great coach asks the follow up question that sounds like this: “Beth, I get it that the traffic was bad, and I am wondering what you can do different in the future to make sure you are on time?”

It is important for the ideal team member to own their behavior and be accountable for their job. Often, I think, as leaders we are hopeful bad behaviors might get better as time progresses. The reality is, when we let any bad behavior go unnoticed, we might encourage just the thing we don’t want with our silent approval. An additional consequence can be other team members may feel as if you’re playing favorites or the on-time policy doesn’t matter for a new hire.

Conversely, if the newbie arrives on time (five minutes early) and is enthusiastic about her first shift, a good coach gives recognition and support about how great the day is going to be because she’s on the team.

Training in and of itself is education. We must learn the rules, understand the processes and have the how, what, and when of the job. Coaching, however, is the determining factor in whether or not you have “A” players or team members willing to simply get by.

Reinforcement, feedback, curiosity and input helps a manager or owner become a great coach. Great coaches produce teams that win.

There is a distinct difference between telling someone what to do and coaching someone to succeed. As an employer who works with many front-line and first-time employees, you have a grand responsibility to influence our leaders of tomorrow.

What to Do Now?

Step 1: Make sure your training and onboarding processes are clear.

Step 2: Once there’s confidence in step one, the expectation is your ongoing coaching efforts are sure to help you have the next all-star team!

For additional information regarding motivation and getting the most from your team, check out an amazing author, Aubrey Daniels, a leading scientist in motivation, and/or invite a coach from TrainerTainment to work with your leadership team.

Beth is the CEO of TrainerTainment LLC, a training company devoted to the family entertainment and hospitality industries. Beth and her team are focused on helping the companies they serve to make more money through sales, guest service, leadership and social media marketing training. Training products and services are delivered in person, through books and DVDs, and virtually with e-learning courses, webinar development and 24/7 online access. Visit her company’s website at



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