Just imagine for a moment you are a BIG rock star in the year 2000. You have been famous for quite a while. Maybe you started making it big in the 80s. You came through the established career route – as an artist you practiced your craft, you found a manager and a record labels/ publishing company who then promoted you and your songs via live gigs, TV and radio.
Life is good, you have mansions in LA and London, groupies, gurus, all kinds of pills to give you all kinds of thrills, your ole grey haired daddy driving your limousine. (© Shel Silverstein)
To keep your lifestyle going you do a lot of touring. And as part of the touring you sell a lot of merchandise. And your record company loves to finance your lifestyle by paying huge royalty advances and you also make money from publishing. Pretty nice life eh?
And then the Internet arrives. Over the next few years you find your songs pirated by pretty much everyone – no one wants to buy CDs or products anymore. And as more and more people become connected your traditional sources of income starts to dry up. Your record company will not finance expensive new records and tours, the groupies disappear, your Dad throws you the keys and your dealer does not return your calls. Life has suddenly become very, very tough.
So you are faced with a stark choice. Sell up and retire to a small mid-west town only appearing occasionally in ‘Whatever happened to…?’ shows or find ways of dealing with this new monster that has taken your livelihood away.
The more successful artists have not taken the ostrich position but have found new ways to engage with their audiences embracing and using new technology.
So what is this to do with the management training industry and coaching? I would say we are at a point now which is the equivalent of where the music industry was in 2000. We are faced with the likelihood that many of the ways we have learned to earn income are about to be turned around.
Companies are facing more and more pressure to:
- Drive down costs
- Show that the intervention has an ongoing positive effect
- Keep learners in role while they are learning
- Demonstrate the ROI of training and coaching
The old way of selling coaching and training is changing rapidly:
- I will sell you a course/coach sessions
- I will turn up and train/coach/mentor you with my expertise and materials for a limited period of time
- I will go away and leave you to it.
What companies are going to expect in the future
- High quality content streamed from the Internet in a variety of formats
- Available at the point of need rather than fixed time
- Evidence that the effect of training/coaching is being retained and utilized
- Content that is intuitively developed for their issues and context
- Ways of developing skills through the Internet as well as passing on knowledge
- Ongoing support to implement the learning.
You may be thinking at this point ‘But they cannot digitalise the amazing contribution I make interpersonally by my presence!’ Don’t be too sure Sherlock. In subsequent blogs I will be covering in more detail how this shift is already happening and what the industry can do to get on board rather than be left stranded by the tide of communication technology.
As with music there will no doubt be some ‘superstar’ coaches/trainers who can still turn up and command big fees and audiences. But there will be fewer of them. Are the rest of us doomed to go the same way as the dinosaur rock stars? There are differences. There are definitely very few groupies in management education! Personally I’m going to get some energy and get motivated about the situation. Now where did I leave that dealer’s number?