Tailor to learning styles. Although there are many learning styles, a careful review ofadult learning theory reveals that three styles predominate. These three are notmutually exclusive; certain employees may rely on a combination of two or perhaps allthree. Nonetheless, staying attuned to each employees style or styles will help�focusyour coaching.First, theres analyzing. Claudia from Ann Taylor is an analyzer. She �understands atask by taking it apart, examining its elements, and reconstructing it piece by piece.Because every single component of a task is important in her eyes, she cravesinformation. She needs to absorb all there is to know about a subject before shecanbegin to feel comfortable with it. If she doesnt feel she has enough �information, shewill dig and push until she gets it. She will read the assigned reading. She will attendthe required classes. She will take good notes. She will study. And she will still wantmore.The best way to teach an analyzer is to give her ample time in the classroom. Roleplaywith her. Do postmortem exercises with her. Break her performance down into itscomponent parts so she can carefully build it back up. Always allow her time toprepare. The analyzer hates mistakes. A commonly held view is that mistakes fuellearning, but for the analyzer, this just isnt true. In fact, the reason she �prepares sodiligently is to minimize the possibility of mistakes. So dont expect to teach �her muchby throwing her into a new situation and telling her to wing it.The opposite is true for the second dominant learning style, doing. While the mostpowerful learning moments for the analyzer occur prior to the performance, the doer s�most powerful moments occur during the performance. Trial and error are integraltothis learning process. Jeffrey, from Michelle Millers store, is a doer. He �learns the mostwhile hes in the act of figuring things out for himself. For him, preparation �is a dry,uninspiring activity. So rather than role-play with someone like Jeffrey, pick aspecifictask within his role that is simple but real, give him a brief overview of the outcomesyou want, and get out of his way. Then gradually increase the degree of each task s�complexity until he has mastered every aspect of his role. He may make a fewmistakes along the way, but for the doer, mistakes are the raw material for learning.Finally, theres watching. Watchers wont learn much through role-playing. They ��won t�learn by doing, either. Since most formal training programs incorporate both of
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theseelements, watchers are often viewed as rather poor students. That may be true, butthey arent necessarily poor learners.�Watchers can learn a great deal when they are given the chance to see the totalperformance. Studying the individual parts of a task is about as meaningful for themas studying the individual pixels of a digital photograph. Whats important for �this typeof learner is the content of each pixel, its position relative to all the others. Watchersare only able to see this when they view the complete picture.
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