Its Purpose?
Many of the techniques I’ve written about are ideal for covering a broad range of people and a broad range of topics. Each is useful for their own particular purpose, but I feel it important that you understand who you’re onboarding, and customise each of your techniques or at least the way you execute them to help them become more effective.


Image taken from Dogwelder’s flickr stream under the Creative Commons Licence.

How Did We Execute It?
Although everyone on our team went through many of the same onboarding strategies and techniques, I sat down with each new person to find out a little bit more about them. I found it important to ask questions such as:

  • What do they want to get out of the project?
  • What have they accomplished that they’re particularly proud of in the past?
  • How do they think they learn the best?
  • What are they worried about?

Each of their answers don’t immediately necessitate the change to any session, but it gave me a much better idea of how I should adapt it, or expand on the session in the way that best suits each individual.

Why Is It Important?
Everyone that I’ve worked with is very different – some learn more effectively in different ways, and many have very different backgrounds and experiences. I feel it’s important as a coach to understand where they come from, and their different needs, tailoring content and the way information is conveyed to their particular style. Some people feel that the Socratic method is always an effective technique, though is often executed in a way that can be patronising and demeaning, particularly for more experienced people. Telling war stories or success stories is sometimes more effective, with the little anecdotes sticking in their memories. For others, visual techniques for conveying information is the most effective way they can learn. Others just need to do it themselves.

In short, there is no “Golden Hammer”, so don’t try to use it on everyone.