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Coaching versus training: They are separate yet inseparable

As an apprentice tech fresh out of a trade school in 1979 to now some 40 years later, what I see works best is both training and coaching done simultaneously in a live-working environment

Which came first — the chicken or the egg? Which comes first — coaching or training? Are they the same? What will understanding the difference gain you in your repair center business? If there is a difference, how do I know which one I truly need?

Dave Schedin, CompuTrek

From my experience starting out as an apprentice tech fresh out of a trade school in 1979 to now some 40 years later as a coach and trainer, what I see works best in auto repair centers is a duality of both training and coaching done simultaneously in a live-working environment.

My tech school days were awesome, and I learned a lot with classroom training and some hands on. The problem was that training hadn’t fully hit my hands when I started my first job. My first automotive mentor was Brian Maddy at Maddy’s Automotive & Dyno Tunning, in North Seattle, and his mentoring/coaching was invaluable. While he taught me, he made me do the work and, when I got stuck, he didn’t tell me what to do but challenged my thinking.

“Getting a trainer and coach to come to your real-world environment to help implement proven methods and systems with you and your team far surpasses off-site or remote training alone.”

Another coach/mentor entered my life in 1995 when I was service manager/advisor in a small-town dealership, who coached me to results of going from 1.67 hours per RO to 3.3 in 4.5 days. I never looked back. He was right on the front counter with me coaching through live repair orders and hard-to-deal-with customers in my live environment — answering my questions, dealing with my fears and lack of knowledge of what I really needed to do as an advisor. He spent more time challenging my thinking than the content of the training, which actually was very simple to grasp once I got out of fear.

Getting a trainer and coach to come to your real-world environment to help implement proven methods and systems with you and your team far surpasses off-site or remote training alone. At CompuTrek, we have really good live or remote workshops where it is not uncommon for an advisor go back and increase .4-.6 hours per RO on their own within a few weeks. Later when we come on-site, and they gain another 1.0 hours per RO from real-world training and coaching.

Training is the transfer of information from one to another. It is about CONTENT. A person takes in new or elevated information about one or more topics then it is up to them on their own to implement and master what they learned in real life.

The training content challenge. Most trainers and training programs “train to the content.” Meaning, once they give you information their job is done. Most training is done so it makes it easier for the trainer to train and control. They create seemingly logical curriculums, say for a service advisor, that has 12 or more lessons. The participant is then forced to go through all 12 and in order and timeline, so they get all the CONTENT. A problem arises when the advisor needs lesson number eight today, but they won’t get lesson eight for another six months! Potentially, 1,000 customers and their vehicles would miss out on the benefits from the training.

Enter coaching. True coaching trains AND coaches to the results based on history and current results. Real-time coaching and training don’t just give you content in “our order” and call it good. Effective advisor training covers what advisors need to be top performers and is based on their current results being produced. If an advisor has good labor and parts gross profit (GP) and struggles with preventative maintenance (PM), closing predictive benchmarks, based on vehicles needs and not sales goals, then doing another round of GP training is a waste of everyone’s time and your valuable training dollars.

AND… if the advisor has been through GP training, even multiple times, but still struggles to hit goals, then another round of GP training is also a waste of everyone’s time and training dollars. Now they need a “breakthrough” of what it is holding them back or keeping them stuck and going around the proverbial mountain again and again. They need coaching.

Very few people have ever gotten unstuck on their own. Think about it, a person is using thinking that keeps them stuck and they are going to use “keep me stuck” thinking to get unstuck?

Coaching and training is an investment in you and, as a result, your business will experience increases in multiple areas — and not just financial increases.

When is the last time you invested in you to be a better version of your current self?


Next from Coach Dave: Understanding the difference between and “a-ha moment” and true breakthrough. Dave Schedin can be reached at 800-385-0724, dave@computreksystems.com, and www.computreksystems.com. He offers a complimentary 30-minute coaching session.

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