Posts in Coaching
How can we use competency models to develop a competency-based training program for supervisors?

This question has 2 parts.  First relates to how to develop supervisor’s own skills, and the other is how to coach more effectively.  I’m breaking this into 2 parts.

1) How To Develop Supervisor’s Own Skills

Like any other role, a competency model for supervisors will focus on those tasks they need to perform to achieve their part of corporate strategy.  This likely includes a combination of people management and technical/functional tasks/skills.  Competency-based learning is where you map learning activities to the entire competency model.  You want to do this including activities across the 70-20-10 model (experiential-collaborative-formal).  Your Training Program will contain elements of these activities, but should enable people to consume ONLY the activities they need to close their skill gaps.  For example, if you build a traditional training program, maybe a 1-2 week formal course, and someone is capable in 80% of the tasks/skills being taught, that’s a huge waste of time and money, not to mention the supervisor’s own frustration of being stuck.  But if you create a training program across the 70-20-10 model that is sufficiently granular, so that people can do only the activities they NEED (to close their skill gaps), you will create not only the best training program, but you’ll make it very MANAGEABLE – you can update any element more easily over time without re-doing the entire program.

2) How To Coach More Effectively

If you are using competency models with the people that the supervisors are supervising, then through active participation in their team’s competency assessment, supervisors will see exactly what skill gaps each team member has.  This makes their job SO much easier.  No guesswork!  They know exactly where (the skill gap) and how to coach (the behaviors in the model).  Plus, they can identify task-based mentors so team members can work together to build bench strength.  If a Personalized Learning Plan for closing any gaps is automatically generated, it will be hard for a supervisor to say, “listen, I know you have gaps, and here’s a list of activities you can do to close them, but I’m not going to give you time to do that.”  Rather, it reinforces a culture of learning, and creates an environment that makes it easy to execute.

News / Events / Blog Posts | SkillDirector
Who is most important before, during, and after training resulting from using a competency model?

(Question posted by participants in recent webinars)

There are 2 people who are most important: 

  1. The person who is doing the assessment that identified the need for training
  2. And their manager

By aligning the understanding that a skill gap exists, both the employee and the manager will be bought into the training.  The employee will be motivated to participate, and the manager will be comfortable with the time out of the job to attend.  After the training is over, the employee and the manager will be able to focus on applying the learning to the job, using the behavioral examples for the skills.  And this accelerates learning transfer.


News / Events / Blog Posts | SkillDirector
Why Competency Models Can Keep The FUD Factor In Coaching From Eating You Alive

Imagine you are a successful individual contributor who has just been promoted into your first management role.   You have 8 direct reports that you’ve worked with in the past, but do you really “know” them?  All eyes are on you as you have to begin showing your coaching capabilities… something you’ve never had to do before.  Where do you begin? 

If you have competency models for the roles of your team, and a competency assessment tool, your fear, uncertainty and doubt (“the FUD factor”) are over.  You can use the skills in the model, and the skills assessment data (yours and your direct reports) to have a data driven conversation about specific areas where they are strong, and where they need help. 

Your conversation can go something like this:

You see a perceptual difference – some skill where they think they are strong and you think they are lower. 

You:  “I see that you appear to have a real strength in this area, and I’m not familiar with it.  Can you give me some examples where you have performed these behaviors?”  (While looking at behavioral examples)

You both agree on a particular area of strength they have.

You:  “You’re really strong at this skill.  There are several people on our team/in the region that could really use assistance improving here.  How do you feel about being assigned as a task-based mentor to one of those people from time to time?”

You both agree on some skill gaps they have.

You:  It looks like there are 4 skill gaps.  Which 1 or 2 do you think most affect your success in your role?  Let’s take a look at what learning opportunities are available to close them.  What do you prefer?  Would you like to work with a mentor on this activity?  Let’s look at the behavioral examples, to see what types of projects might be useful for skill building.

Now, in every subsequent 1:1 conversation, you’ve got great talking points.  

  • What activities did you complete?
  • What did you learn from them?
  • How can I help you to apply these new skills?
  • What experiences can I provide for practice or to complement the activity?
  • How can we celebrate your achievement?
  • What will best help you prepare for your next role?

The quality of one’s manager, and their ability to have great conversations and develop them is one of the reasons people stay in a job and remain engaged.  And conversely, when a manager can’t do this well, it’s why they leave. When you give a manager a roadmap to do this well, you drive skill gap closure, engagement and retention.

If you want to improve the capabilities of your managers, and help them maximize the daily impact on their direct reports, don’t let fear, uncertainty and doubt get in the way.  Embrace competency models and make them actionable so they can be used daily.

Also at: and


News / Events / Blog Posts | SkillDirector