Personalized Coaching At Scale

Everyone is talking about modifying and developing the skills of the workforce, but so many are struggling to figure out what to do about it.

One of the most significant challenges is that each individual is different and brings with them their own unique skills, experiences, and opportunities for growth.

While formal training can play a role, research shows us that coaching can dramatically improve the effectiveness and sustainability of the change.

Unfortunately, organizations often fail to include or limit this necessary layer due to the limitations of traditional coaching.

In this episode I’m talking with Kristy Mccann Flynn about the importance of coaching at all levels of the organization. We’ll also talk about how that need led her to co-found GoCoach to help organizations address this need at scale.

Follow Kristy on LinkedIn


[00:00:04] Christopher Lind: All right. Happy Friday, everyone. Again, this is the last learning tech box before taking a little Thanksgiving break, but we will today continue to explore the landscape of learning technology while cutting through the fluff and answer the questions you need to answer while building out your digital learning infrastructure. Today I am joined by Kristy McCann Flynn. We are talking about coaching and what that looks like. Where are you in the world today? 

[00:01:02] Kristy McCann Flynn: I’m in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania today. 

[00:01:05] Christopher Lind: Okay. You’re out in Philly. All right. How’s the weather doing there? We’ve had a couple nice days here. I guess I didn’t say, but my background never changes. Waukesha, Wisconsin, over by Milwaukee. We’ve had a couple nice days and we’re about to hit the dip. Where are you at? 

[00:01:22]Kristy McCann Flynn: I think we’re about to get out of it. We were in the 20s the last couple of days, which was not fun, but it’s supposed to be 60 today. We’ll see. Oh, wow. 

[00:01:31]Christopher Lind: Okay. You had the dip. I suppose our weather is probably making its way. It’s making its way over there. All right. Are you going to go outside today? 

[00:01:39] Kristy McCann Flynn: Well, I’m fortunate enough that I do have a dog and so I have an excuse to go out. It’s finally Friday, right? Thank God. 

[00:01:48] Christopher Lind:  Finally Friday. It’s finally Friday and it is the Friday before Thanksgiving. I’m usually pretty happy in general, but I’m in a very, very dap and happy mood today. 

[00:02:00] Kristy McCann Flynn: Okay. 

[00:02:02]Christopher Lind:  Before we get into it though, we always have this question. This one kind of does have something to do with the topic though. I didn’t do a complete winger in terms of the question. I am interested to hear what you have to say. For those of you watching, feel free to play along in the comments. I’m curious where you’re at, but for you, Kristy, what is something you were coached on when you first got that coaching, you just did not want to hear it? Just absolutely not interested in that feedback. 

[00:02:30] Kristy McCann Flynn:  Yeah. There’s probably a lot of the things over the years to be quite candid. I’ll tell you two. The first one’s obvious and then the second one wasn’t obvious. Consistently throughout my career, because before I started GoCoach, I was a former HR executive. A full on China shop was consistently used on me. I knew that, but it was the way that it was being translated to me that was really bothering me. 

[00:03:14]Kristy McCann Flynn: It’s the words that especially for female leaders that drive us bonkers because there could be a passive aggressiveness with it where I was told I was aggressive. I was told a lot of different things as far as my style where I was trying to be assertive with the dozen executives. I was just like, all right, it’s cool for this executive to throw an F bomb in a meeting, but when I do it, I am the bull in the China shop. It was hard. I felt that there was a lot of bias that was instilled with that. 

[00:03:54] Kristy McCann Flynn: It took me time to ring true because I started to look at it, not from an overall view of what everybody was giving me feedback on, but really started to individualize it. I would go into meetings and understanding their preference and style of communication before I pushed in mine. I think that was very important because when I took into consideration how somebody else communicated, it balanced my communications with them. It did make things a lot easier. It’s still a work in progress. I just got told this day. We all have triggers. 

[00:04:43] Christopher Lind:  I know the things that set us up. You said you had another one. You have another one too? 

[00:04:49] Kristy McCann Flynn: Yeah. The one was choose your battles, which I also knew was something I needed to work on. Once again, it was the way that was outlined to me. Basically, it was like, quit poking the tiger. 

[00:05:09] Kristy McCann Flynn:  I’m just like, well, does anybody realize that the tiger’s a jerk? We all should be poking him. 

[00:05:18]Christopher Lind: Poke me, you’re whipping? Yeah, okay, got it. Yeah. 

[00:05:23] Kristy McCann Flynn: Once again, getting this cliche type of feedback that wasn’t really translated to me, but once again, had to pull back the feedback of what it meant to situational conversations and how I was communicating, how I was positioning myself, and the why behind it. That’s why the Susan Scott Fierce Conversations model actually really helped me, because when it came to pick and choose your battles, I realized that some of the battles that I was picking were stupid. They didn’t mean anything. 

[00:05:56] Kristy McCann Flynn: When you look at the decision tree in Susan Scott’s Fierce Conversations, if you’re going to go into battle, look at the roots in the trunk, because that’s what’s going to sustain the tree, not the leaves or the branches. They’ll grow back. Before I do go into something, I look at it, is it a core foundational issue, or is it something that is not a big issue right now and eventually will fix itself? I think that that’s been important. 

[00:06:23] Christopher Lind:  Okay. All right. I’m going to dig into this a little bit. Mine, just so you’re right, you shared yours. I’ll share mine. Mine was interesting. I still remember this, because I got coached on, it was earlier in my career, and I got coached on the fact that I’d done this big executive presentation, and I got the feedback that I was way too casual and way too just comfortable in front of this group. I actually got really mad at first. I’m like, okay, that’s my style. My style is more casual and things like that. 

[00:07:00] Christopher Lind:  Again, the emotional reaction, this is what I think we were getting at, that emotional reaction, because of the way it was delivered, it was like I was told you need to be more polished and you need to be more serious and take things more seriously. I got really upset. I’m like, well, that’s not going to happen, because if you know me, that’s not going to happen. Then again, once I cooled off a little bit, I started reflecting on that. I talked to some other people about it. 

[00:07:25] Christopher Lind: They went, I guess I understand what you’re saying, which is, one, adapt to your audience a little bit. Recognize who your audience is. It doesn’t mean you have to become someone you’re not, but just be more intentional about the way you’re doing that. Then I was like, okay, that’s fair. I started to work on that. Again, is it still a work in progress? Sure. Are there times where I get a little too comfortable? Yeah, but I think it’s one of those things that it was extremely valuable to get. Okay. 

[00:07:56]Christopher Lind: On the topic, this is what we’re talking about all day today, or all day. Well, we probably could talk all day, honestly, but we’re not going to. We’re going to talk for another 50 minutes here on coaching and really what is the purpose of coaching? What’s the benefit of it, which we started talking about here by sharing our own stories. Then you are the CEO and founder of Go Coach, and I’m really curious because obviously we’re talking about coaching. If you haven’t figured it out and the name is Go Coach, it has to do with coaching. 

[00:08:27] Christopher Lind:But when people say, what is Go Coach? How do you describe it to people? 

[00:08:33] Kristy McCann Flynn: Yeah. No, I mean, it’s pretty simple, hence the name, but essentially we’re a coach marketplace that up skills and re skills all employees, entry level to executive level and hard and soft skills. We’re really bringing personalized learning to everybody that’s out there and understanding that there’s so many different learning styles and coaching is a great way not only to be able… able to get the reinforcement. 

[00:09:04]Kristy McCann Flynn: Outside our coach marketplace, we also have a learning experience platform that consists of trainings, micro learnings and content that are there once again to help with the reinforcement of learning. The reason why I say that is that it’s one thing that they’ll learn something, but it’s the next thing as to how you apply it. That’s often the breakdown with any type of learning and development and why there’s a huge frustration, especially with college kids coming out of school and not being able to apply their learning into the workforce. 

[00:09:38] Kristy McCann Flynn: So the coaching brings not only that personalization and that agnostic field based on learning styles and what you’re looking to do, but it helps reinforce that behavior to make a change, which is so important because it’s that change that takes time. Hence your question on the feedback that we got or what we were coached on. 

[00:09:59]Kristy McCann Flynn: It’s always going to be a work in progress, but when you have a champion and ally that’s there that’s supporting you along the way and helping you uncover these blind spots, they help to unblock where you are and start to unlock your potential. And that’s what we’re really trying to do. 

[00:10:17] Christopher Lind: Well, and coaching is not a new concept, but one of the things, and I said this in the beginning, this is a growing category in the market. And I think historically coaching was reserved for a very small percentage of the population. I mean, it was a very small percentage of the population that had access to coaching. And it seems to me like part of what’s happening is there’s a bit of democratization around access to this kind of stuff. So in the coaching category, I’m curious about this though. 

[00:10:47] Christopher Lind:You talk about the coaching marketplace piece is because I’ve seen coaching platforms that are totally AC, right? It’s a hundred percent digital. You’re dealing with a chat bot or some sort of AI. Then I’ve seen on the other end, you’re actually dealing with a live person. You’re interacting with a true real coach and not true, you know, a real coach. Where do you sit on that spectrum? 

[00:11:11]Kristy McCann Flynn: Yeah. Well, like AI and algorithms are great for efficiency, but they’re not great for actual learning. And so, you know, we have all that technology to make it easy. Like, you know what I mean? We are virtual, we are, you know, digital learning, but there is a human behind, you know what I mean? What’s going on, how people are being up-skilled. And what’s most important too, that we do, especially within a lot of these, you know, other coach marketplaces that are out there is that we didn’t over tech it. 

[00:11:45] Kristy McCann Flynn: Like there is a lot of technology that that’s applied behind the scenes. Like, you know what I mean? To help people make, you know, the decisions that they need to make when it comes to, you know, picking a coach and, you know, understanding what their learning path is and why. But it’s very important to meet the user, meet the learner where they’re at. And so, you know, even with all that technology, every, you know, learner gets to be able to pick their coach and to pick their path, you know, I mean, there’s recommendations and whatnot. 

[00:12:12] Kristy McCann Flynn: But, you know, especially what we’re finding, especially with the younger generations is that I can have all the AI in the world, but guess what? They’re still on filtering everything. And they want to see everybody that’s on the platform. And I think that that’s very important because we do show our coaches and, you know, which is just normal to begin with, because it shows the diversity of us and the diversity of learning. 

[00:12:33] Kristy McCann Flynn: And if, you know, and so it’s not just about pleasing the stakeholder, which is an HR, it’s really about, you know, understanding the learner and where they’re at. And we have been very conscious of that from the beginning. 

[00:12:44] Christopher Lind: Okay. So for the coach marketplace, then is that I’m picturing almost an Amazon of coaches in some regards where you’re going in and you’re saying this is what does that process? What does that process look like? If you’re an end user and you’re and you have go coach, how are they then selecting identifying? I mean, is it kind of like that? I mean, walk me through it. 

[00:13:05] Kristy McCann Flynn:  Yeah. So every learner will come in and, you know, begin with an assessment to understand where they currently are, not just within their career development, but where are they with their overall wellness? Where are they with their financial health? You know, where are they just in life? So we’re essentially getting that current state snapshot because a lot of times people think they need help on one thing, which they probably do, but you have to go back to get help on other things in order to get to that thing. 

[00:13:36]  Kristy McCann Flynn:  So we’re able to take that current state snapshot and that current state snapshot essentially pulls all the data together to really start to position the coaches and then the stuff on the learning experience platform that they could do on their own with the trainings and the micro learnings to really get a good starting point. 

[00:13:54] Kristy McCann Flynn:  And that’s important because it’s, you know, when we’re really identifying the current state that helps build a bridge to the future state, which is where do you want to be, you know, I mean, a year from now or two years from now. And so we’re very, you know, very heavy in the data and analytics, but we’re also making sure that it’s a guided journey, you know what I mean, where they have the ability to say, nope, even though this data is telling me this, I feel I need to do X, Y, and Z. And they have the ability to do that. 

[00:14:27]  Kristy McCann Flynn: And so with the blended and the guided learning, it not only, you know, captures that current state, but it’s also giving them the ability for them to essentially make the choices at the end of the day. Okay. 

[00:14:38]Christopher Lind: Well, you hit on the one part, which was going to be one of my follow-up questions, which is from a, what should I even be getting coaching on? A lot of times people may not know, or they may think they know, but it’s not really what they need, or they don’t understand the underpinnings because maybe this is the thing you really need coaching on. But to get there, like you said, you need to work on these things first to be able to do that. 

[00:15:02] Christopher Lind:  So this is actually then walking people through a process and guiding them to say, hey, based on these things, these are the types of things that we think. And then is it narrowing it down and then saying, and these are the coaches that can help focus in that area? 

[00:15:15] Kristy McCann Flynn: Precisely. Precisely. The more data that we get, the more that we’re able to narrow down on the coaches and then, you know, some of the virtual content and trainings to be able to put together what that overall learning package and curriculum is going to be for them. So just like case in point, I’ll use one of our first customers and first manager that go through the program a couple of years ago. She struggled with communications. We know she was in a growing startup and running product management. 

[00:15:52] Kristy McCann Flynn: And still a little bit green, but because she consistently got feedback that her communications were never clear or that she was always all over the place and that things were ambiguous, she automatically assumed that like, all right, I need a communication coach, et cetera. 

[00:16:10] Christopher Lind: OK. That was the assumption coming in. 

[00:16:12]Kristy McCann Flynn:  Right. So with the data, though, with the assessment with the data, it was automatically able to peel back the layers of the onion. And what it was is more of an executive precedence, confidence, and the fact that she still had a lot of gaps within product management. 

[00:16:30] Kristy McCann Flynn: So her, she was having struggles communicating certain things because she didn’t feel confident what she was doing because there was gaps within her area, her specialty area, and the fact that she had never been at this high level before and was actually speaking in front of a board for the first time. So they’re all different components of communication, but now we’re able to pull it back. 

[00:16:52]Christopher Lind:It’s an important point because you see some of these things. And a lot of times, and I think this is, to me, you look at coaching and coaching is in many ways the ultimate in personalization because you have another person that’s getting to know you on a personal level and asking those questions, helping you come to those things, especially on big topics like communication. Communication is so huge that saying, well, I need coaching on communication. Well, what, what area, what kind, like what facet of that do you need to develop? 

[00:17:22] Christopher Lind: Because maybe you are fine with communication, but like in your example, maybe you need to know more about the product and build some confidence in having these conversations with this different level or realize they’re just people too. You know, so that interesting. So with that, okay, so I think I understand the workflow piece in terms of, so you’re doing some of this stuff, but one of the things you mentioned was that a user could potentially say, I get, this is what you’re recommending on this. I don’t necessarily want to follow that path. 

[00:17:54] Christopher Lind: The question I have with that, and this is something I’m interested in how other orgs are dealing with this. Cause I see in, in the seat, I sit a lot of times you’ll see two camps, you’ll see the camp that says, no, we want to tell people what they need. We want to tell people what they need to develop in. And we’re not really interested in whether they agree with it or not. We’re going to try and push them in that direction. And other orgs are much more on the, Hey, let’s give people some flexibility. 

[00:18:19] Christopher Lind: I think there’s room for balancing that well, but I’m curious how what’s been the response or how have you navigated some of those? Because I have to imagine there’s been times where people have said, we don’t necessarily just want people to have free reign to choose what they want to get coaching on. How do you navigate that? 

[00:18:37]  Kristy McCann Flynn: Yeah. So from a, I’ll talk to it from a system perspective, how we balanced it, and then I’ll get my two cents on it for what it’s worth. 

[00:18:44] Christopher Lind: We’ll do it both ways. 

[00:18:47]  Kristy McCann Flynn: Yeah. So we balance it because we do goal tracking and assessment. Everybody that’s coming in essentially, you know, is attached to, you know, some type of goal where they’re looking for help for improvement, you know, filling in those gaps and whatnot. 

[00:19:01] Kristy McCann Flynn: And so, you know, even if it’s outside the track of what, you know, the manager is saying, if there is a connection with the goal alignment, which is very important and another important part of our initial assessment coming in, then, you know, we’re able to tie that together where it’s at least having a starting point because like we have seen a lot of managers make recommendations on something and some of the recommendations are not solid based on their own bias. Like, you know what I mean? I was called aggressive for 20 years. 

[00:19:32]Kristy McCann Flynn: I get that I’m assertive. Quit calling me aggressive. You know what I mean? And so, you know, it’s a whole learning evolution that we have to go through. And the minute that you start to force somebody in a direction, you go into like one or two camps. Do they have a growth mindset or do they have a fixed mindset? Right. So if somebody is coming into the platform and they want to be able to learn. 

[00:20:13]Christopher Lind:  Let’s begin. Let’s begin. Let’s begin. Let’s begin. Let’s begin. Let’s begin. Let’s begin. Let’s begin. Let’s begin. Let’s begin. Let’s begin. 

[00:24:56] Christopher Lind: I think we’re… and preferences. So let’s stipend it this way so that our goal is for you to develop. Our goal isn’t to force you to develop the way we think you need to develop. Now that’s a fundamental shift in organizational thinking. But I can imagine, like you said, these are your forward thinking organizations. Those ones that are thinking, I have to imagine, like you said, they don’t even care. 

[00:25:18] Kristy McCann Flynn: They don’t even care about the investment. 

[00:25:20] Christopher Lind:  That’s like, this is what we’ve been going for all along is to build this culture of development where people are developing. And… the they’re growing, they have this growth mindset, and we’re facilitating that. So I think it’s worth noting and going into versus… Because I think a lot of people are struggling with this because they’re still trying to make it work for everything and it just doesn’t. 

[00:25:42] Kristy McCann Flynn: Katie Robbert No, it doesn’t. And believe me, as a former HR executive for 20 years, getting countlessly thrilled in board meetings and executive meetings, like I gave you $100,000 and like 30 people left the organization, like, what did this training do? And we still have all these problems. And it’s just like, well, first off, learning is not one and done. It’s evolving. And so we have a starting point, but that’s often the issue is that that starting point is hard to get further because we are doing a one size fits all. 

[00:26:17] Kristy McCann Flynn: When you’re looking at annualized personal wallets where people can go out to different places and look at the things that they want to be able to learn involved in, and there’s a personal choice attached to it, you’re going to see much greater ROI. Robby Barbaro Oh, amazing. 

[00:26:32]Christopher Lind: And what engagement is going to go up naturally because you have a say in I wanted to do this. This is something I saw value in. 

[00:26:40] Kristy McCann Flynn: Yeah. I mean, anyone that thinks people… Anyone that still is in the mindset that you’re just going to force somebody to do something, like, they’ll go up with all that. Like, you know, we were never attuned that way to begin with. And if the last four years showed anything, we’re definitely not attuned with that moving forward. Like, you know what I mean? And we’re adults. Like, you know what I mean? And it’s… Even just look at it like in a much more higher level, like higher education right now in K-12 is failing. Why? 

[00:27:15] Kristy McCann Flynn:  Because it’s a one size fits all model that’s not working for virtual learning right now. The problem is, it’s not virtual learning, the model’s always been broken. So, you know, like… 

[00:27:25]Christopher Lind: Virtual is getting the… 

[00:27:27] Kristy McCann Flynn: Right. 

[00:27:27]Christopher Lind: It’s taking the blame. It’s like, well, see, virtual doesn’t work. It’s like, no, we’re trying to apply a broken system into a different category that it was never designed. 

[00:27:36] Kristy McCann Flynn: Yeah. Yeah. So, you know… 

[00:27:39] Christopher Lind: That was one customer type, right? That was one customer type. To me, that’s like the ideal state where it’s like, great, you’ve got the stipend, you’re already there in the way you’re thinking. People are going to do this. They’re going to be able to engage in those that choose coaching as which I don’t know who wouldn’t, honestly. To me, that’s like, when you got a stipend, you have the opportunity to say, hey, I can get a coach to help me grow in these areas that I need help. That to me is ideal. But okay, what are the other two? 

[00:28:05]Kristy McCann Flynn: Yeah. So, the other two is what I’ll call traditional. They’re a mid-marketer enterprise that start with middle managers or new employees or new execs or their high potentials. They do these groups and they put them groups of 20 for the year through the process and then they’ll pick another group of 20. And that’s great. Which is fine. It works well and they continue to get that learning evolution for the things that they want to develop. But I also just think it disenfranchises the people that don’t get picked. 

[00:28:50] Kristy McCann Flynn: It was one of the hardest jobs as an HR individual is that we would consistently try to box people in where they were at as far as their growth and their progression. We used to use, and you probably use this, Chris, a nine box. And you’re literally putting people in boxes. And the minute that you put people in a box, you’re boxing out their potential. And that’s your opinion, by the way. And granted, there may be some data and evidence behind it, but when you put somebody in a box, I think it can be very limited. 

[00:29:27]Kristy McCann Flynn: And so while the traditional buyer, I understand what we’re doing, that that has been the norm within organizations for a little bit, I challenge them to really go to the more progressive component and don’t box your employees out. Let them choose their paths. So that’s number two. Any questions on the traditional? 

[00:29:46] Christopher Lind: No. Well, not questions, but I think it is, to me, I see where that category comes in. And you still see this happen a lot where you do have the special group of people that have this. And again, it’s… 

[00:30:03] Christopher Lind: I see where it comes in and can there be value when done right? I think there’s opportunities where you can do it. But again, like you said, it runs the risk of isolating the rest of your population. There’s inherently bias in the process in terms of, well, how are we putting people into these categories? Now you’re giving an upper advantage. There’s a lot of things. 

[00:30:26] Christopher Lind: But the mindset shift that has to happen is, and this is sometimes really hard for people to let go of, letting go of that control and saying our employees are the best people and we trust them to decide what their gaps are. So again, I think, you know, are they going away? Probably not. But I think there’s definitely opportunity to say, well, we can do that and then expand out into a broader category. Okay. 

[00:30:52] Kristy McCann Flynn: So it’s not just a control thing. I mean, like how many jerks and nine bots did you see? You know, I mean that jerks in a high potential category. It’s not just a control thing. It’s a protection component. And it’s one of the reasons that we have such not only systematic racism, but systematic bias throughout everything. Every single process and theory that we have put in place continues to benefit the people that it’s always benefited. Like, you know what I mean? 

[00:31:20] Kristy McCann Flynn: And like, you know, like when people like laugh, it’s like, oh, coaching is for executives. And it’s like, you know, nine out of ten times executives are the last people that need coaching. Start the work on the people who still have like that growth mindset that want to learn and evolve. And you start to breed a new group of people that have that open mind, you know what I mean? And don’t get stuck, you know what I mean, in these, you know, terrible habits. 

[00:31:42] Kristy McCann Flynn: And, you know, that eventually, you know, takes over, you know, their identity and who they are. And that’s what always used to drive me on. 

[00:31:48] Christopher Lind: That’s why I was so excited as democratization of coaching started expanding because, again, this is the kind of stuff that’s instead of the divide growing further, which is people who are on this end, just keep going further out because they have executive coaches that are driving, they have all these access to resources. Now you can actually reach and actually start to close that gap. 

[00:32:12] Kristy McCann Flynn: Yeah, yeah. So I mean, I think we’re getting there. But like, once again, like, it’s why when we built ThoughCoach, we knew we were going to be applying a lot of technology, but technology wasn’t going to rule the day because the minute that we went to rule the day, it’s just going to continue to put you back in the systems that we’re trying to break right now. Right. 

[00:32:33] Kristy McCann Flynn: And that’s why having that agnostic, you know, user feel of, you know, being able to go to a place like, you know, I mean, it’s safe and supportive and, you know, have options and be able to help, you know, bring your own path, you know, that’s still tied the goals. It’s like, it’s once again, like anybody can get to a goal. It’s how you did it that matters. 

[00:32:52] Christopher Lind:  Yes. 

[00:32:53] Kristy McCann Flynn: And that’s what needs to be evaluated, not the actual goal. 

[00:32:58] Christopher Lind:  Well, and and going back to mindset shifts, that is a that is a different way of thinking about this stuff is saying, what are we going back to your point of what was something that you were you you kind of through your coaching journey realized was, well, pick your bet. What are the things you’re focusing on? Are you focused more on the way people are going through their development pathway and what choices they’re making and which ways or do you really care about? Are they getting where we need them to be? 

[00:33:24] Christopher Lind:  And if they’re getting where they need, we need them to be. Who cares what pathway they took? Let’s just enable the pathways and then sit back and say, we’ll help you get there. But what we care about is that you get there. 

[00:33:37] Kristy McCann Flynn: Yeah, yeah. I mean, it’s getting away from that micromanagement, you know, thing. And a lot of times, like, you know, I mean, control is easier for us rather than, you know, learning and identifying and, you know, getting to know someone like, you know, I mean, like, it’s easier to… you know, it’s easier to abuse the hell out of a policy than it is out of a person, right? But eventually it beats the person. 

[00:33:57]Christopher Lind: Well, and the thing is, I was talking about this on a panel the other day. And sometimes we’re pretty hard. I think we’re pretty hard on ourselves. And for good reason, we should be. There are lots of things that we can continue to look at and go, why were we doing this anyway? This is to me why I get so excited about technology is the fact that personalization and getting to know people on a personal level is it was and instill it, it’s much more time consuming. 

[00:34:26] Christopher Lind: And so we put people in boxes, we make assumptions, because it’s easier, especially as your organization grows. And you have lots of people and you’re trying to do this across, across country lines and things like that. And so I think historically, we just said, well, I don’t really know how else we can do this. So let’s try and do our best. And I do think a lot of people were trying to do their best and say, well, let’s design something we think will work for the masses. And let’s let’s put it out there. 

[00:34:53] Christopher Lind: The thing is, is technology is eradicating all of those limitations. Now, we have to we know what’s going on, we have the capability to reach people on a personal level, there are different platforms and technologies that are now give us better visibility that give better access to things. So the excuse of, well, we just we can’t personalize, we just don’t have the time resources. Well, it’s no longer an excuse. It’s literally no longer an excuse. 

[00:35:21]  Kristy McCann Flynn:  Yeah, it’s one of the reasons that you know, I created this, like, you know, one, if I stayed in HR, especially, by the way, all the HR people that are out there, God bless you, like, you’re doing a fantastic job with this, you know, year, because I know if I was an HR right now, I would probably be, you know, in a jail cell from, you know, all the different pressures, you know, because I mean, it was one of those things, like, you know, the reason I make that statement is that, you know, our job was always hard enough, and I was 

[00:35:50] Kristy McCann Flynn:  And I was really frustrated. You know, I mean, leading large organizations and not being able to find something that had mean meaningful value to the employees and to the organization. And that’s where it drove me nuts. I ripped out more systems and I actually put in just so we can get to those constant conversations rather than having some stupid form that takes somebody two hours to write. And we wonder why everybody hates performance management. 

[00:36:16]  Kristy McCann Flynn: They hate performance management because of the system behind it, not the actual like, you know, I mean, delivery component. And so easy is not always effective and efficient. And but you know, I mean, but with technology now when used the right way, we can make things easy and efficient and effective. And that’s where we have the ability to do so to your point. 

[00:36:35] Christopher Lind Yeah, well, and that’s just it is now it’s less of a this or this and it’s a this and this. And I think that’s the exciting part about this. But again, this is where and it’s why I started this show in order to get there, you have to understand this stuff, you have to understand these capabilities, you have to know they exist, so that you can start challenging the status quo of what you know today, which is well, this is what we have to do because this is all you can and it’s like, no, it’s not not anymore. It’s not that might have been true. 

[00:37:04] Christopher Lind: Five, 10 years ago today. It’s not okay. So the third category, right? We went on it. We went on a bender there. But let’s see. 

[00:37:10] Kristy McCann Flynn: Yeah. Third category is what I like to call Neo, you know, from the matrix because there are large enterprise companies that are completely matrix. And there’s so many different beat drums. You don’t even know where to start. There’s no consistency. Some are centralized, some are decentralized. It’s a it’s a hot mess. Right. 

[00:37:36] Christopher Lind: And so within that, you’re with those organizations. 

[00:37:39] Kristy McCann Flynn: Yeah. The good news is, is that we built the platform to, you know, regardless of what, you know, highly matrixed, you know, Neo world that you live in, you can have multiple buyers that come in from, you know, multiple different divisions that can do the learning and development stipends and can do the blended learning or can just do, you know, the traditional training and development. 

[00:38:05] Kristy McCann Flynn: So we have built a very, you know, flexible and programmatic, you know, platform that really, you know, gives you that not one size fits all, but everybody fits all type of model. You know, knowing that there’s going to continue to be, you know, shifts and transformations, you know, with an L and D, you know, especially for the next three to five years. And so within that, we make it easy. 

[00:38:30]Kristy McCann Flynn: So each stakeholder can still have visibility into, you know, one part of one company and, you know, while somebody is looking at another part of the company and but everybody that comes in, they get the same service, regardless of how their division is handling things, if that makes sense. 

[00:38:47] Christopher Lind: Yeah, it does because you’ve got the different use cases. So use case one is kind of your progressive centralized organization where you have central control of this, you can do a budget management, stipend management, all this through a central function, which is great if you have that setup. If you have that setup, kudos, it’s awesome. 

[00:39:07] Christopher Lind: Really, if you look at category two and category three, they really address the similar use cases, though, which is, it’s not a central one size, not one size fits all, because you said it’s not that, but it’s like you can’t centrally govern all of this. 

[00:39:22] Christopher Lind: So you may have these either cohorts or pockets, or you have these functions or fragments where they say we want to do this for our division, things like that, which in large matrix global organizations, yeah, trying to target a central, there is no central person, there’s not a, you can go to and say, we’re going to do that. But if I’m understanding you correctly, in those environments, you’re then connecting those dots on behalf of that organization so that there is still visibility into, hey, where is this being done? How is it being used? 

[00:39:54] Christopher Lind: Because I have to, there’s a ton of data, a valuable data to an organization to see, hey, 

[00:40:00] Christopher Lind: What is our talent doing? Where are they developing? What are the things? How well is it working? And so to have that locked in the silo of, well, only dysfunctional leader knows this. That’s a that’s a disservice. 

[00:40:11]Kristy McCann Flynn: Yeah, but we bring it all together. Like, you know, I mean, and that’s a great part, you know, because I remember like when I was at Pearson, and, you know, working for my CHRO at the time, and, you know, like, you know, everybody was sending her a different format of, you know, what the learning outcomes were, like, you know, I mean, like, you can imagine, like, you know, how many like, you know, pivot tables and ugly graphs she got with that. 

[00:40:35] Kristy McCann Flynn: And, you know, she couldn’t see that and nor nor could she see it is she had a very hard time articulating that to, you know, senior leaders. And we had our own leadership and the CEO. So knowing that I’ve gotten caught, like, you know, I mean, in this, you know, neo world numerous times, I was just like, you know, I mean, if we have one side of GE that comes in another side of GE, but like so many figures out that we’re both in two divisions, we can all bring it together and show that the progress throughout the entire thing. 

[00:40:59] Christopher Lind: Well, it’s such an important piece because the reality is having navigated this multiple times, it is when you don’t have that visibility, it is very hard to tell a story in terms of impact, value, things like that to be able to scale it because you’re on your own island and then it gets lost and people don’t realize how much spend is happening, the lack of utilization or positive utilization to be able to say, hey, this is working really well. 

[00:41:28] Christopher Lind: Why don’t we stop doing this thing that is contributing absolutely nothing, but we’re spending a lot of money on it and let’s shift gears and say, why don’t we do this over here that’s working really well and scale it and get the same value that we did. But the only way that happens is to have that visibility. 

[00:41:44] Kristy McCann Flynn: So, yeah. 

[00:41:45]  Christopher Lind: Okay. Extremely helpful. I want to go into another area because you talked, so you’ve got the coaching marketplace, which I think makes sense in terms of, like you said, I’ll use the, our industry loves analogies, right? The Amazon of, although it’s better than Amazon, because instead of just going to Amazon and being like, hey, look, I want one of those and those and those and those, it’s, hey, let’s do some assessment on the front end. Let’s see what you actually need. 

[00:42:12]  Christopher Lind: Maybe Amazon should steal your model because that would be great if you could go to Amazon and say, what do you need in your, anyway, sorry. So, there’s that, but you also talked about the fact that there is this LXP, which I get very nervous when that term gets thrown around, because that means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. So, I do want to decrypt what you mean by that because there is a learning content component. Now, is that bundled automatically? Is that a separate component? How is that connected to Go Coach? 

[00:42:41]  Christopher Lind: Or is it an all-in-one? 

[00:42:44] Kristy McCann Flynn: It all depends once again on the company’s needs. We try to be programmatic. And so, for the Neo world, they like that bundle because they have a mass amounts of people. And to be able to have access to a lot of these virtual learnings, micro learnings, content, video, et cetera, is a good starting point because you want everybody to essentially have the same tool kit at the end of the day. And so, leading with one of these bundles and then going into the coaching for reinforcement to get that behavior change, we see for a lot of the larger clients. 

[00:43:21] Kristy McCann Flynn: And so, you know, we have it there because once again, we don’t want to box people out based on their learning style. There’s some people that don’t want to be coached. And I get that. And actually, like, you know what I mean, learn much better by, you know, going through a video or reading something. And so, you know, I’m not just looking at this from a buyer perspective. 

[00:43:41] Kristy McCann Flynn: I’m looking at it from a learner perspective and making sure that we’re not we don’t become some monolithic, you know, giant that only helps, like, you know what I mean, a core of the population. Like, you know what I mean, like that we have that agnostic view. 

[00:43:53] Christopher Lind: Okay. Well, and Venus had asked earlier about this in terms of, you know, applying human-centered design into the process. And I think just in general, what we talked about earlier on, you know, thinking about, hey, if you do a stipend model, you’re already being more human-centered in your design because you’re saying, well, let’s put the person at the center and say, what do you really need? 

[00:44:11] Christopher Lind: But I think your point about the learning content side of it is that’s also being more human-centered for the org to say, well, what do you need based on where you are and what do your employees need? Maybe they do need content. I think from a learning preference standpoint, you know, personally, we all learn through experience and practice. And I think that’s the thing that I think how you structure that pathway is really important. And again, some people, like you said, they may want that additional coaching. 

[00:44:43]Christopher Lind: Some would rather be kind of on their own island and things like that. I personally, I think coaching enhances anything you’re doing, whether you like it or not. To me, I think where you see people that resist the coaching is really a lack of understanding or a perception of what it is that, oh, this is a bad thing. I’m going to have somebody tell me, I’m going to therapy. I can see that. 

[00:45:07] Christopher Lind:So with that, though, for people on this, so it’s almost in some regards for organizations that may not have, I have to imagine this content then is aligned to specific skills that you have focused your coaching around that you say, Hey, we know we coach to these things. These are the topics that we coach to most frequently. So you’ve started creating digital content to supplement that that then can be added on if it’s if an organization says, Well, we don’t really have any of that right now, or what we have isn’t really a good idea. 

[00:45:37] Christopher Lind: So we’re not really that useful and we want to align the two that’s then where people are blending the coaching marketplace with the learning platform, correct? 

[00:45:45] Kristy McCann Flynn: Yeah. And it’s also for reinforcement too, because like, you know, a lot of stuff takes time, like it takes people five to seven times just to hear something, they might actually do something. So that that’s a lot. But you know, let’s pick on digital transformation, because literally every company is going through a digital transformation, right? So let’s unpack all that. And within a digital transformation, we’re going to 

[00:46:08] Kristy McCann Flynn: It just doesn’t, you know, move in the company from A to B and jobs change and people changing and you know how the organization is going to operate that’s changing. It’s a whole change management practice. And so, you know, I used to get like, you know, laughed at, you know, 10 years ago, when I was, you know, going through digital transformations, and I brought in, you know, change management training practices and like, this is all fluffy, like, no, it’s not. 

[00:46:29] Kristy McCann Flynn: This is actually a pragmatic, like, you know, project plan for people to go through every single different stage of the organization to be able to transition from you know, A to B. And so like, you know, somebody is being coached and you know, one of the biggest things that they’re getting coached on is that change management, which by the way, is number one of all the things that we coach on when we look at all of our data analytics. It’s change management, communication and, you know, situational leadership. 

[00:46:54] Kristy McCann Flynn: Those are the top three things that people, you know, I mean, are using within the marketplace. Change is huge. Anyone who says it’s fluff, look at the data. It’s a lot of use cases. But like, you know, you hear these change management concepts the first time and it makes you uncomfortable because it does look fluffy. Like, you know what I mean? And then you start to apply it. 

[00:47:19] Kristy McCann Flynn: And so like, when you’re getting coached on this, a lot of these content resources and libraries that we have helps reinforce what they heard, you know, because remember five to seven times just to hear it, and then to actually take action. And that’s very important as far as a learner journey, too. 

[00:47:37] Christopher Lind:  Excuse me. So sorry. So I mean, it does make sense, though, right? Because no matter what you look at, and this is one of the things that I think has actually been interesting to watch is that there was this kind of moving trend where I think we’ve we’ve hoped as an industry as organizations, it’s almost I compare it to the dieting or fitness industry. We’re always looking for this thing, like, what’s that one thing we can do one time, and match magically, everybody just changes. And it doesn’t work that way. 

[00:48:11] Christopher Lind: That’s not the way people to grow and develop. They don’t, they don’t watch a micro learning video. And suddenly, they’re a master communicator, because, well, I watched this TED Talk, or I watched this really insightful thing. They do it by watching multiple things, or experiencing multiple things, getting coaching on how to do that, while practicing it getting feedback on that. So I think that’s one of the things that, you know, we continue to battle that back. 

[00:48:36] Christopher Lind:  And I think this is an interesting point of your approaching this from a holistic standpoint of, yeah, we have some content, we have some digital content designed to augment and supplement this. The coaching is then designed to do this. 

[00:48:50] Christopher Lind:  So for people who are thinking about this, or looking at this, it’s not so much in an ideal state, you tell me, but in an ideal state, you’re combining the two of these, along with probably some other things as well, that the coaches and coaching to you’re going and doing, if you’re getting coached on executive presentations, or executive delivery, hopefully, you’re going out and giving some of these and then coming back and engaging with the coach and talking about what happened, while consuming some content along the way. 

[00:49:18] Kristy McCann Flynn:  Yeah, no, and not only that, the coach needs it, coach is not an expert of everything either. Like we have made it part of our mission is that we got to be constantly upskilling our coaches. And so like, you know, we have a lot of this content there for them also, you know, I mean, as they further evolve and learn, you know, within their own right,… their own growth mindset, which I think is important. So everything that we have built, and everything that we have put together is learning all the way through. 

[00:49:44] Kristy McCann Flynn:  We are not a check the box type of organization. I have checked many boxes in my life and you know what has happened? All them ended up being unchecked again the next year. And that was annoying as hell to be able to do the same damn goal year over year, and not even be able to move an inch. So we are not a check the box organization and we did not build GoCoach to be a check the box organization. 

[00:50:06] Kristy McCann Flynn:  We built it to be evergreen, you know what I mean, constantly following, you know what I mean, with information, with tools and with learning to be able to meet people where they’re at. 

[00:50:21]Christopher Lind: Okay. I see a lot of opportunity for organizations to build trust with their employees because there can be some skepticism around, you know, the coach-coachee relationship has long been very, you know, private. And now with the democratization of this, I can see there being some concerns, at least on the employee side, well, now, right, this is part of a company marketplace, you’re are you getting all this data on what I’m being coached on? How it’s going? 

[00:51:15] Christopher Lind: How are organizations managing that so that it still feels like a sacred thing while at the same time organizations, they do need to know some of this stuff to be able to know how it’s working? 

[00:51:26] Kristy McCann Flynn:   Yeah, it’s a great question. 

[00:51:28]Kristy McCann Flynn:   I mean, what the data consistently shows them, you know, what we tell every stakeholder and every learner is themes. It has to be themes, like, you know, I mean, because like, everybody’s going to have different outcomes as far as like how their learning is progressing, how they did it and where they’re going. But, you know, those data themes, you know, I mean, you know, are very important because it also shows where the organization is at when it comes to culture, when it comes to engagement. 

[00:51:52]Kristy McCann Flynn:   So once again, we’re not going to be able to do everything like, you know, I mean, in one year, it’s picking and choosing your battles. And so those data themes are, you know, building integrity, you know, for the direction for what needs to happen the next year for the direction that needs to happen, you know, the year after that, which is very important. You know, data can’t be abused. And so, you know, we’re safe and supportive place because like, whatever happens between the coach and the coach, that’s sacred. 

[00:52:17] Kristy McCann Flynn:   Like, you know, I mean, like, you know, I mean, we have assessments that come across the way, you know, I mean, where people provide feedback. But once again, the only feedback that’s shared are data themes, like, you know, I mean, not individual, like, you know, I mean, things that are important. 

[00:52:31] Kristy McCann Flynn:   And that’s really important. 

[00:52:34] Christopher Lind: And this is what they said and that is not coaching…

[00:52:44] Kristy McCann Flynn:  we’ve had clients that come in, you know, our potential clients that come in that want to see that granular data. I’m like, no. 

[00:52:51] Kristy McCann Flynn:   And not only that, they want to see, they want to pick the coaches for their employees. 

[00:52:57] Kristy McCann Flynn: I’m like, yeah, this is gonna be a great relationship. 

[00:52:59] Kristy McCann Flynn: So not only are you going to tell the employee that they need to be coached, but you’re going to pick the coach? I was just like, have you considered coaching for yourself? 

[00:53:07] Kristy McCann Flynn:   Believe me, I lost a lot of clients with, you know, we are not going to compromise, why we built this. Like, you know, like, you know, I mean, instead, we built something for people to get comfortable with the uncomfortable and a second troll component of letting go of, you know, of me. 

[00:53:29] Kristy McCann Flynn:  And we’re seeing it right now, especially like, you know, I mean, in this digital age, like we during for our audience out there, we in Q2, we gave our product away for free for everybody. 

[00:53:39]Kristy McCann Flynn: And, you know, we’ve helped thousands of individuals out there, which was great. 

[00:53:43] Kristy McCann Flynn: But like, you know, I mean, we got a lot of feedback. 

[00:53:45] Kristy McCann Flynn:   Coming in, like, you know, I mean, in these trainings and in these coaching positions, that was important. And, you know, where we started seeing tools like Zoom and Slack being used for micromanagement, we’re like, you know, people had to respond to a Slack message within three minutes, they had to, you know, always be on video on Zoom. And, you know, they had to respond, you know, to like, you know, I mean, like some other message, like within an hour. 

[00:54:06] Kristy McCann Flynn:   Again, we’re micromanaging people, the digital, like us being remote is not the issue. We are the issue. The same problems are there. We’re just manipulating them for the environment. You know, and like you said, you know, even consistently in these trainings, like, you know, I mean, like this goes back to manager core competencies. 

[00:54:27] Kristy McCann Flynn: This goes back to like, you know, soft skill training, like, you know, where emotional intelligence change patterns are important. 

[00:54:33] Christopher Lind:: Yeah. Well, it’s a really important piece. And I think this is something I’ve been advocating for, you know, since I’ve been in learning tech, which is, I don’t know, as long as I’ve been in my career, but is the fact that there is a data ethics and compliance side of this that we have to take into account for this because it is very important as you’re looking at some of these digital solutions to be asking those questions and asking, what are you doing with this? 

[00:55:02] Christopher Lind:And yeah, the tendency might be to say, man, wouldn’t it be great if we could have all this data on our people? No, actually, no, I don’t think it would be great. Is it good for you to have some trends and insights and things? Sure, that can be very helpful in understanding where you need to go. But should you be, you know, diving in and digging into every single thing that’s happening? No, I don’t think so at all. 

[00:55:25] Christopher Lind: And in fact, I think that’s one of the things that, as I’ve been talking to a lot of people recently about this is, you know, we’re as we’re moving into this more digital trend where everything’s digital, and all that data is being captured somewhere is what’s being done with it? How is it being governed? 

[00:55:42]Christopher Lind: And how are we making sure that ethically we’re managing that well, because we run the risk of creating something we we didn’t intend or creating more damage with something that maybe we thought was designed to be a good thing that then goes south because we abuse the data. So I think it’s good to hear. And that’s why I wanted to go to that point of making sure that it’s clear that this is that’s not what’s happening with this, at least with with Go Coach, for sure. 

[00:56:08] Kristy McCann Flynn: No, absolutely not. I mean, believe me, I look at the failures of, you know, people like Zuckerberg and others, and we were not becoming that whole of ignorance. You know, we’ve built this with integrity. And, you know, it we consistently safe and supportive is what the environment produces, and we will never negate that. The other thing, too, you know, that I’ll say to a lot of people out there, so like, I, I can’t tell you throughout my, you know, HR career, how I thought I was doing something great. And then the data was used against people. 

[00:56:37] Kristy McCann Flynn: So I to give an example, I gave like all the sales individuals, like, you know, I mean, discs, like, you know, I mean, like, I was like, to understand people’s right, which is great, right? 

[00:56:50] Kristy McCann Flynn: Until once again, it was getting manipulated. And they stopped hiring salespeople that were falling within an S, you know, or a C because they weren’t aggressive enough. I’m like, no, the point of the disc wasn’t to use the data against people. It was to show where people at so you know how to communicate with them. 

[00:57:08] Christopher Lind: Like, I know, it’s well, and I, and that’s where, you know, when I’m working with people, or even just within my own teams, and we’re talking about this, it’s always the how could this be used? How could this be used wrong? Like, let’s make sure we think about those things. Let’s not assume it’s always going to be used right, because then that way we can think about how can we safeguard that? How can we protect this, things like that. 

[00:57:32] Christopher Lind: So the one last question that one last question that just came through, I am curious, you did mention earlier on, but Venus asked this one. So in terms of people who are doing this stuff, how even though they may not necessarily have a clear ROI to Okay, well, now we’ve seen EPS, how typically are people then connecting this back and saying, all right, we did this, and we’re seeing this benefit. What are some of those measures that they’re using to explain that or tell that story? 

[00:57:59] Kristy McCann Flynn: Retention. It’s all about retention. People talk about career advancement. People talk about promotion, people talk about career ladders, people talk about pay equity. It all boils down to retention. If you can upskill and retain somebody, like you’re naming your saving the company tons of money plus you’re evolving the individual, which is a win win. And this is so important right now because like, you know, the economy isn’t all that great right now. Like, and, you know, but even when the economy was great, what we were doing to people wasn’t. 

[00:58:35] Kristy McCann Flynn: We were throwing people out left and right, because they lacked certain skills and because they weren’t perfect. 

[00:58:41] Kristy McCann Flynn: Right. 

[00:58:42] Kristy McCann Flynn: Do you know how many people and money that we lost and what was supposed to be like, you know, I mean, the best part of like, you know, I mean, like the economy, we were throwing people left and right, we’ve pissed away more money. Sorry. Like, it doesn’t make sense. And it’s ridiculous. You can’t be doing this. You need to be investing in people. 

[00:59:01] Kristy McCann Flynn: It’s a fiduciary responsibility. It’s a human responsibility. And as you’re as you’re able to see that retention and especially that engagement, like as to how people are doing. And if those are, you know, doing well, then you’re on the right path. But it all ties back to that. 

[00:59:16] Christopher Lind: Okay, well, that’s it. That is a great ending. And I think it is an important piece, you know, to highlight because the thing I like about retention as a metric on this is not only is it right, that human metric where you’re saying, hey, we retain people, they stayed, we’re doing the right thing because they’re here, they’re engaged, they’re they’re staying. But it’s also easy to quantify from a financial standpoint, that you tell the story of this actually is saving the company X number of dollars because metric is a healthy blend of the two. 

[01:00:02] Christopher Lind: Well, this has been fantastic, Kristy. I enjoyed the time together. I hope everyone else enjoyed it as well. Lots of good comments coming in. And so thank you for the time. Thanks, everybody, for watching. Don’t forget to subscribe to the channel. I’m not here next week. I will be celebrating Thanksgiving with my family. But thank you all for watching and we will see you in two weeks. And thank you, Christy for being here. 

[01:00:24] Kristy McCann Flynn: Thank you. Have a Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. 

[01:00:27] Christopher Lind: See ya.