NexTech Academy provides an online vocational training program for the plumbing, HVAC and electrical trades. Recent blog posts have walked you through a series of laws that guide Training Leaders to be most successful in implementing this program in their companies.
Students in this program are supported–no one expects them to learn on their own. Training Leaders and other staff members are committed to creating a positive learning environment. And, students are equally responsible for their participation and for upholding their end of the commitment; that is, they are to be held accountable.
Did you know that Aloha can mean hello or goodbye? Some words have many meanings–some even feeling like opposites–depending on context or the person defining them. What does accountability mean to you? Does it bring up the word consequences? Even those can be positive or negative. At NexTech Academy, we encourage Training Leaders to shift from the “pain and pleasure” principle to personal motivation.. Helping students define their why will produce the motivation they need to hold themselves accountable for completing the steps required to reach their goal. Why should they complete a 12-24 month training program? Maybe their paycheck will double, or triple! It’s your job to assist them in realizing their personal why.
What’s In It For Them?
Being successful at work has many benefits. It’s more rewarding, your knowledge base in an area of interest expands, your job and thus your finances can feel more secure, positive relationships with coworkers add value to your life, etc. Zoning in on why training matters to a student is an important part of uncovering motivation. One technician said they “love wearing the hero badge” that comes from restoring customers’ basic needs like hot water in their home–and with that, the genuine appreciation for your efforts. What’s in it for you? Why did you get into the business, and more importantly, stay in the business? Sharing your story with the students in your training program might be a useful demonstration tool.
Vision of Success
Help students brainstorm and create their vision of success. Why do they want to be an electrician? What made them choose a career in HVAC? What do they want to be able to do in their free time outside of work? What do they want their schedule to look like? Brainstorming a holistic vision of success with more details and more big-picture ideas might drum up more motivation.
Accountability can be angled a couple ways. We encourage you to lead with incentives– those that the students themselves have identified. Our learning programs ask a lot of students, and they will need their own personal reasons for staying committed and accountable. We want their incentives to motivate them toward their vision of success. As mentioned in the fourth law regarding discipline, it’s important to recognize that long-term goals are the reason to continue climbing the stairs, to work through the modules one-by-one.
Encouraging Students to Stay on Track
- Taking the Lead: Student progress is directly linked to the Training Leader’s participation in the program. Setting clear expectations for students at the start of the program, and regularly checking in to assess progress and address obstacles, lay the groundwork for accountability.
- Monitoring Progress: The view you have in the online curriculum allows you to see a student’s activity in each course and the last date and time they were active. You’re able to see how many hours they’ve spent in the program and an overall training summary.
- Address Issues with Curiosity: Explore why they didn’t meet their deadlines or goals: was there technology trouble, something else outside their control, a family emergency? Or did they just not prioritize, were they just lazy?
People Skills and Intentional Language
Service technicians rely on people skills to interact with customers. Similarly, Training Leaders will also use another unique set of skills to work with and motivate students. Remember, they’re people, too! When holding students accountable, it’s easy to fall into the trap of “giving them grief” when expectations are not met. Learn to address the behavior, not the individual.
Which would you rather hear? “You’re falling behind in your coursework. You need to get on the ball and catch up or else! You don’t want to fail out of the program do you?” versus “I see that you’re falling behind; is there something I can do to help you catch-up? Your success is important to me and the company and I’m here to help.” Which of those statements is going to provide the most positive result?
Remember that you have support in supporting each new student. You’re not alone and neither are they. In our next post of this series, we emphasize the importance of utilizing the resources available to you.