Everything you need to know about on the job training methods. A number of training methodologies and techniques have been developed over the years to meet certain specific needs.

On-the-Job training refers to the methods that are used at the workplace, while the employee is actually working.

It means ‘learning while doing’. The trainees learn in the real work environment and gain practical experience dealing with the tasks and challenges during a normal working day. The main advantage of on the job training is that trainees understand the rules, regulations and the work procedures by adopting them in their day-today performance.

On-the-Job methods do not have to incur any additional cost or loose working time.This is a common method of training for employees performing operative functions.


For examples, the employees are trained on new machines so that they adapt easily to the new working conditions. The success of this method depends upon the quality of the trainer; thus, it is essential to properly select the trainer to make the system work.

The various on-the-job training methods are:-

1. Induction 2. Apprenticeship 3. Internship 4. Coaching and Counselling 5. Delegation of Authority 6. Promotions and Transfers 7. Retraining 8. Vestibule

9. Job Rotation 10. Special Projects 11. Committee Assignments 12. Selective Readings 13. Multiple Management 14.  E-Learning 15. Self-Instructional Mode.


Also learn about the suitability, merits and demerits of different on the job training methods.

On the Job Training Methods: Induction, Apprenticeship, Coaching, Vestibule, Job Rotation, Promotions and Transfers

On the Job Training Methods – Top 9 Methods: Coaching and Mentoring, Understudy, Job Rotation, Special Projects Assignments & a Few Others

In the on-the-job training method, the employees are trained on-the-job at their workplace. This is a common method of training for employees performing operative functions. For examples, the employees are trained on new machines so that they adapt easily to the new working conditions. The success of this method depends upon the quality of the trainer; thus, it is essential to properly select the trainer to make the system work.

Method # 1. Coaching and Mentoring:

Coaching and mentoring constitutes the most commonly used method to train the employees while they are on their jobs. Coaching involves the development of one-to-one relationship between the employees and supervisors, which ensures continued guidance and feedback of the employees on how well they are handling their tasks. Mentoring is a particular form of coaching used by experienced executives to groom the junior employees. Normally, mentoring involves one-to-one coaching for a period of several years until the employee is eventually capable enough to replace the mentor itself.

The merits of coaching and mentoring are explained in the following points:


a. Provides an excellent opportunity to learn quickly through continuous interaction

b. Offers constant guidance to the trainees to be on track and make optimal utilization of available facilities

The demerits of coaching and mentoring are as follows:

a. Creates a feeling of jealousy among other employees who are not able to show equally good performance.

b. Results into unwanted favouritism if mentors form overly strong bonds with trainees. This can also have a demoralizing effect on other employees.

Method # 2. Understudy:

Understudy refers to the method in which trainees are prepared to perform the work or fill the position of their superiors. In this technique, a trainee who is likely to assume the full duties and responsibilities of the position currently held by his/her superior is called as an understudy. The understudy fills the position of his/her superior that is about to leave the job due to promotion, retirement, or transfer. For instance, the departmental head may pick up one competent person from the department to become his/her understudy. This gives the understudy an opportunity to try out his/her leadership skills.

Method # 3. Job Rotation:

Job rotation involves the movement of employees from one job to another, so that they can attain the understanding of different functions and processes of an organization. In addition, to release boredom, it allows employees to build a rapport with a wide range of individuals within the organization, which further facilitates cooperation among the departments. The cross-trained workforce provides the organization a great amount of flexibility when transfers, promotions, or replacements become inevitable.

Job rotation may create numerous serious problems when the trainees are shifted to various jobs very frequently. In such a situation, the trainees do not get enough time to explore and learn one phase of a particular operation and develop a strong degree of expertise. Further, it would create a situation of chaos for the trainees when they are exposed to rotating managers, having contrasting styles of operation.

Method # 4. Special Projects Assignments:

Special project assignments denote a highly useful training technique, under which trainees are assigned a project that is closely related to their jobs. Sometimes, a number of trainee executives are put together to work on a project directly related to their functional areas. Trainees analyze the problems and submit the written recommendations, which provide them with a valuable experience in tackling the problem.


These special project assignments help the trainees to analyze the organizational problems from different angles and perspectives. When trainees work as a member of the team, they not only acquire knowledge but also learn how to work with others having different viewpoints.

Method # 5. Committee Assignments:

Committee assignments refer to the method in which the trainees are asked to solve an actual organizational problem. In committee assignments, trainees have to work together in a team and offer solution to the problem. This method of training helps the trainees to develop team spirit to achieve a common organizational goal.

Method # 6. Selective Readings:

Selective readings refer to individual self-development programs that are meant for executives. Some organizations have a planned reading program under which the executives are provided books, journals, and articles related to their functional areas. This helps the executives in enhancing their knowledge and understanding of various aspects of their business.

Method # 7. Multiple Management:

Multiple management represents a system, under which a junior board of young executives is constituted that analyzes major problems of the organization. The junior board makes recommendations to the board of directors after analysing the major problems. In this method, the young executives learn decision-making skills and the board of directors receives the benefit of wisdom of the executive team. Moreover, in the long-run, the vacancies in the board of directors can be filled by these junior board members.


The aforementioned on-the-job training techniques are cost effective, as the employees actually work while they learn alongside. Moreover, on-the job training techniques provide immediate feedback to the trainees, which motivates them to absorb and learn the right way of doing things.

Method # 8. E-Learning:

E-learning refers to a sequential or procedural method of learning supported by electronic media. An e-learning module normally does not have an instructor, and the knowledge and information is transferred through various tools, such as the Internet. In addition, it comprises knowledge pools and virtual classrooms. Such learning may be self-initiated or encouraged by an educationist to overcome the geographical and time boundaries. E-learning is not user-friendly for everyone. For example, generally, people in their late 40s and above are not very tech savvy; therefore, they may not consider E-learning a very good option.

Method # 9. Self-Instructional Mode:

Self-instructional mode of learning implies learning through self- guidance with the help of various resources. It is a self-initiated process that has to be taken up by trainees. In self-instructional mode, trainees can learn at their own pace, without face-to-face interaction with an instructor. The most important merit of self-instructional mode of learning is that it can be taken up at one’s own pace, as and when the trainee wants to learn.

On the Job Training Methods – 8 Important Methods: Induction, Apprenticeship, Delegation of Authority, Promotions and Transfers, Retraining & a Few Others

It is a fact, all personnel of a business establishment or company get some sort of on the job training at the time of joining the establishment. This training is very essential for employees in skilful comfortable performance of job. The main advantage of on the job training is that trainees understand the rules, regulations and the work procedures by adopting them in their day-today performance.


This system of training is most economical. Since additional personnel or facilities are required for conducting this type of training. It is most suitable for teaching a particular job, which can be procured in a short period.

(1) Orientation or Induction Training:

It is meant for the newly-selected employees and its sole object is to adapt them to the specialized job requirements and work methods of the enterprise.

Thus, the new employee is, to begin with, given a description of his job. At the same time, he is provided with a set of policies, rules and procedures which have a bearing on his performance. He is also told about his immediate superior and the subordinates who will work under him—the person from whom he will take orders and those to whom he will give orders.

In many organizations, there is a formal orientation program for new employees to help them to adjust and adapt to their work environment. This includes taking new employees round the offices or plants of the organization, giving lectures, and showing them films which familiarize them with the history, growth and achievements of the organization. Also, they are informed about the personnel policies of the enterprise and the benefit schemes operated for employees.

Most small and medium-size organizations provide orientation training by attaching the new employee(s) with a senior employee who teaches him techniques of performing the job besides keeping him informed on all matters related to the organization

(2) Apprenticeship Training:

It is one of the oldest forms of training. The new worker(s) is appointed as an apprentice. He is placed under the charge of a qualified senior worker. The apprentice learns the methods of work by observ­ing and assisting his senior. In skilled trades, apprenticeship training is the most common. Electricians, machine-men and plumbers usually learn their jobs through such training.


The period of apprenticeship may be different from job to job. It may be anything between two and five years. During apprenticeship, the worker is paid less salary than a trained worker. The Gov­ernment too has taken measures to safeguard the interests of apprentices, including regulating their wages, hours of work, insurance, etc.

(3) Delegation of Authority and Assignment of Responsibility:

It is an arrangement where a superior assigns a duty or responsibility to his subordinate and also delegates to him matching authority to control the necessary human and technological resources for performance of the said duty or responsibility. It boosts the morale of the subordinate who now feels at liberty to make and implement his decisions without looking up to his superior.

Delegation as a form of training has several advantages. It enables superiors to train their subordi­nates in specific jobs by making them take their own decisions and also enjoy a sense of accomplish­ment when a given task is successfully performed.

However, for various reasons, delegation as form of training is not very popular. The superiors may have their own reasons for not sharing authority with their subordinates and the subordinates too may not be very keen to accept responsibilities.

(4) Promotions and Transfers:

A promotion or transfer in the case of an employee may significantly change the nature of his duties and responsibilities. His transfer to a different workplace will require him to build equations with a new set of co-workers. The same may be the case with promotion which may bestow authority on him besides increase in his remuneration package.

But it may not always be safe to try out promotion or transfer as a means of training. This is because the subordinate will harbour a feeling of insecurity until his superior confirms him in the new job.


Moreover, holding a temporary incumbent accountable for any lapse on his part may be neither possible nor desirable. In any case, he will himself be afraid to make any important decisions for fear of incurring the displeasure of his superior.

(5) Refresher Training or Retraining:

Rapid scientific and technological changes can make even the properly trained workers feel out-dated. Changes in technology and work methods will also lead to changes in job requirements. As a result, even trained workers may need to learn new work methods and techniques.

Refresher training helps workers in learning new work methods and skills but it also enables them to improve the work methods they had learnt earlier. Change in technology and work methods leads to production of new goods and services and old hands will need refresher training to adapt themselves to the requirements of new environment.

(6) Vestibule Training:

“Vestibule” means a passage or room between the outer door and the interior of a building. Vesti­bule training means training given to new workers by special instructors inside the factory prem­ises, but away from the shop floor.

Vestibule training is similar to on-the-job training. The only difference is that while on-the-job training is provided by the line supervisor on the shop floor itself, vestibule training is provided by special instructors, away from the shop floor.

Vestibule training becomes necessary if the number of workers to be trained is large, the work methods to be taught are too many, and the line supervisor, because of responsibilities of his job, can­not spare time for training.


Vestibule training offers several advantages. First, it can be imparted to a large number of workers without affecting the work on the shop floor. Second, the instructors are specialists who devote full time and attention to training and do not attend to shop floor duties. Third, trainees can concentrate on learning because they are away from the distracting sounds on the shop floor. Last, the line supervisor, relieved of the responsibility to impart training, can attend to his duty efficiently.

But vestibule training also suffers from certain drawbacks. First, it is imparted at a place away from the shop floor and trainees are denied opportunity to experience the actual work conditions there. Second, there will be avoidable blame-game between the instructors at vestibule training and the line supervisor, in case a worker trained by them commits a mistake. Last, the organization has to incur extra expenditure to acquire machines and tools for vestibule training.

(7) Job Rotation:

Job rotation may be vertical (in which case it is same as promotion) or horizontal (in which case it may be a transfer).

The object of job rotation is to provide diversified training to an employee by making him learn the nature of work at different work-centers. Job rotation may take different forms. For example, the employee selected for training may be assigned jobs, one after the other, in different departments in a specified period.

Another form of job rotation may be to send the employee to observe the work performed by dif­ferent departmental heads. Here, the employee himself does not do anything; he merely observes how various departmental heads perform their duties.

Yet another form of job rotation may be creating certain positions to be occupied by trainees only. The object here is to provide actual work experience to the trainees.

(8) Creation of “Assistant to” Positions:


This involves posting a trainee as an assistant to different departmental heads. The object is to broaden his outlook and to prepare him for wider managerial responsibilities. It is common to find civil ser­vants in India being given this training.

Working as assistant will enable the trainee to acquire actual managerial experience in each depart­ment. The departmental head will be always at hand to offer expert advice on performance of jobs assigned to the trainee.

(9) Committee or Board Membership:

A committee means a group comprising members which is assigned a task to report on, or resolve a problem situation and also delegated authority for the purpose. The authority is in terms of the “right to vote” which is granted to each member irrespective of his placement in the organization. Thus, if a supervisor and his subordinate are both members of a committee, they will have equal authority to participate and vote in the deliberations of the committee.

Membership of a committee is a useful training device. It enables members to interact with one another and pool their ideas and experience to resolve problem-situations faced by the organization. It enables members to learn how to arrive at a consensus decision (official agenda) after members have given expression to their emotions and angry reactions (hidden agenda).

On the Job Training Methods – 3 Main Forms: Coaching and Counselling, Understudy & Position Rotation (With Advantages and Disadvantages)

In this method, training is mostly imparted on the job. The employee is trained while he/she is engaged in the work by utilizing the actual work situation for the purpose, wherein an experienced worker or supervisor instructs the trainee on the job. This method is particularly adopted where the process of pro­duction is automated.

Although it is apparently simple and relatively less costly, if not handled properly, the cost can be high in terms of damaged machinery, unsatisfied customers, misfiled forms, and poorly taught workers. Simple observation and practice, which are informal techniques, are two of the greatest sources of on-the-job knowledge.

A person learns his job simply by watching others doing it and then eventually duplicating or copying these observed behaviours. Another aspect of on-the-job training may be more formal, for example, when a new employee on the way to run a certain machine is assigned to a senior employee.

The primary responsibility in on-the-job training rests on the employee’s line supervi­sor. This is a part of the supervisory function which he/she must have learnt to perform competently and sympathetically. It is for the HR department to ensure that supervisors are adequately trained so that they can, in turn, be responsible for the on-the-job training of their sub-ordinates.

On-the-job training is suitable in cases where skills can be learnt in a short span or when few employees have to be trained on the same job at the same time.

There are three forms of on-the-job training which are discussed below:

Form # 1. Coaching and Counselling:

The line supervisor not only teaches the job, knowledge, and skills to his/her sub-ordinates, but also councils them very often. The emphasis in coaching is on learning by doing. Coaching and counselling are similar in many respects. When a supervisor is interacting with a sub-ordinate, it is often difficult to clearly define whether he/she is performing a coaching or counselling role. Theoretically, these concepts may differ, but pragmatically it is not possible to totally separate these training techniques.

Form # 2. Understudy:

The line supervisor is assigned an understudy or assistant, and in addition to his/her regular duties is expected to give training to his/her understudy. An understudy is prepared to perform the work or fill the position of another. He/she is a trainee who at a future time shall assume the duties and responsibili­ties of the position currently held by his immediate supervisor. The understudy is an off shoot of man­power and succession planning which ensures that a fully qualified person will be available to take over a manager s job whenever a line supervisor leaves his/her position due to promotion, transfer, retirement, and so forth.

Form # 3. Position Rotation:

Also known as job rotation, this involves the transfer of trainees from job to job and sometimes from plant to plant on a co-ordinated, planned basis for learning purposes. Job rotation is intended to give the trainee a broad perspective of the organizational activities.

The trainee is systematically transferred from one job to another so that he may get the experience of different jobs. This will broaden his horizon and capacity to do a variety of jobs. Rotation of an employee from one job to another should not be done frequently. He should be allowed to stay on a job for a sufficient period so that he may acquire the full knowledge of the job.

Job rotation is used by many organisations to develop all-around workers. The employees learn new skills and gain experience in handling different kinds of jobs. They also come to know the interrelationship between different jobs. Job rotation is also used to place workers on the right jobs and prepare them to handle other jobs in case of need.

On-the-job training offers the following advantages:

(i) On-the-job training is suitable for teaching those skills that can be learnt in a relatively short time.

(ii) It has the advantage of strongly motivating the trainee to learn.

(iii) It is not located in an artificial situation. It permits the trainee to learn at the actual equipment and in the environment of the job.

(iv) On-the-job training methods are relatively cheaper and less time consuming.

(v) The line supervisors play an important part in imparting training to their subordinates. Because of the above advantages, on-the-job training is superior to off-the-job training.

However, on-the-job training suffers from the following limitations:

(i) It takes longer time for the employee to learn the required skills.

(ii) Expert guidance may not be available to the employee. The weaknesses of the supervisor or instructor from whom the new employee learns are passed on to him.

(iii) There is disturbance in the production schedules. The supervisor is more interested in getting work than imparting the skills.

On-the-Job Training Methods –  With Its Suitability, Merits and Demerits

On-the-Job training refers to the methods that are used at the workplace, while the employee is actually working. It means ‘learning while doing’. The trainees learn in the real work environment and gain practical experience dealing with the tasks and challenges during a normal working day. On-the-Job methods do not have to incur any additional cost or loose working time.

The various on-the-job training methods are:

i. Apprenticeship Programmes:

It is a method of training where an employee works under the guidance of a master worker to acquire higher level of skills. During the training period, the trainee receives salary in the form of stipend, which is lesser than the normal salary he/she may earn after being trained.

This training requires a trainee to:

a. Work under guidance of a master worker or mentor.

b. Acquire the specifically designed higher level of skills required to enter the respective trade.

c. Spend prescribed amount or additional time to acquire skills.


This training is suitable for jobs requiring:

a. Detailed and in-depth practice of skills or

b. In-depth technical knowledge.

Example – A sales executive is appointed as an assistant to the assistant sales manager for a period of six months to learn about company products and marketing skills.

Merits of Apprenticeship Training:

a. Trainee receives stipend during training period which encourages him to work.

b. Helps trainee to acquire skills to enter skilled traits like plumbing, electrician etc.

c. Enables trainee to combine theoretical knowledge with practical skills.

Demerits of Apprenticeship Training:

a. It is an expensive and time-consuming method.

b. Trainee may leave the organisation after acquiring skills resulting in loss of efforts.

c. It requires contiguous supervision for a long period of time.

ii. Coaching:

It is a method of training where a superior guides and instructs the trainee as a coach to learn skills and processes.

Coaching involves:

a. Setting of mutually agreed upon goals.

b. Suggesting the means to achieve the agreed goals.

c. Periodic review of trainee’s performance to ensure that goals are achieved as planned or suggesting ways to improve performance in case of any deviations.


This training is suitable to:

a. Prepare managers for future.

b. Train a subordinate who is eligible for a promotion to a higher position.

Example – Supervisors in a factory train new or inexperienced machine operators with basic knowledge about machines and skills to run the machine.

Merits of Coaching as a method of training:

a. Cheapest method to train managers.

b. Trainee is groomed to replace or relieve seniors from his responsibilities.

Demerits of Coaching as a method of training:

a. Senior may be biased towards his/her subordinates.

b. Training quality is entirely dependent on the senior.

iii. Internship Training:

Internship training is the combined effort of the educational institutions and business organisations where selected candidates continue regular studies for a prescribed period and also work in a business enterprise for a specific period of time to acquire practical knowledge and skills.

Internship training involves:

a. Joint effort of educational institutions and business enterprises.

b. Educational institutions impart theoretical knowledge whereas business enterprises impart practical knowledge.

c. It brings the balance between the theoretical knowledge and practical skills required to perform a job.


It is adopted by professional or technical organisations who prepare professionals for managerial positions or technical experts.

Example – The engineering courses require the third year students to gain experience in their field by working in the business organisations for a period of two-three months. MBA students also work on real life projects in their second year programme to gain managerial experience.

Merits of Internship Training:

a. It brings balance between theoretical and practical knowledge.

b. It provides students the exposure to real world.

c. Training cost is shared between educational institutes and business enterprises.

Demerits of Internship Training:

a. This type of training may be limited for technical people.

b. Business organisations may not give appropriate practical knowledge to trainee for the fear that they may learn and leave leading to waste of time and cost.

iv. Job Rotation:

Job rotation is a training method where members of staff rotate roles or tasks by shifting from one job to another or from one department to another so that they gain experience of a full range of jobs. Job rotations help employees to have a broader understanding about the organisation and learn skills to perform different types of functions or jobs.

Job rotation helps staff to:

a. Involve in operations of various departments and test his/her ability and aptitude.

b. Interact with employees of other departments and improve social relationships.

c. Acquire skills to undertake responsibilities at different levels within the organisation.

Suitability – It is a method suitable to train employee for general management positions, transfers, promotions and replacements.

Example – Mr. Murthi working in the accounts department of Sell Well Ltd. is responsible to look after the medical reimbursements of all employees. Recently he is given the responsibility to take charge of purchases for the factory. Another employee looking after collections against sales is given the responsibility of dispatches. All these transfers are within the organisation at similar levels but different roles.

Job rotations are a common phenomenon in government organisations. Officers are transferred from one office to another. For example, an employee working in the South Campus office of Delhi University may be transferred to the North Campus office.

Merits of Job Rotation:

a. It helps to develop cooperative approach towards different functions or positions in the organisation.

b. It helps to develop broader horizon and perspective of managers.

c. It helps employees to understand problems of different jobs.

Demerits of Job Rotation:

a. Frequent shifting might create confusions in the mind of an employee.

b. Frequent transfers or rotations may decrease employee efficiency and productivity.

c. Employees may not enjoy job satisfaction.

On the Job Training Methods – Job Instructions Training, Coaching, Job Rotation, Apprenticeship Training and Mentoring

A number of training methodologies and techniques have been developed over the years to meet certain specific needs. There is no one method of training that can be treated as best for everyone or for every group because different situations demand different methods and approach.

When the employees are taught relevant knowledge, skills and abilities at the actual work place it is called on the job training.

The following methods used for on the job training are:

(i) Job Instructions Training:

The learning that occurs is centered on the job. The trainee is placed into the real work situation and shown the job by superior after that the trainee is permitted to copy the trainer’s way. This method is simple and fairly economical if handled properly.

To improve the effectiveness, three points should be kept in mind:

(a) It is a joint effort involving both the trainer and trainee

(b) The trainer is responsible for creating a climate of trust.

(c) The trainer must be a good listener.

This method provides immediate feedback on result and quick corrections of errors. However, it demands a skilled trainer.

(ii) Coaching:

It is a kind of daily training in which the trainer works with one or more trainees. It is informal and unplanned type of training. The trainer or coach assigns tasks, monitors trainee’s behavior and provides reinforcement and feedback. This method can be expensive if one person serves as a full time coach for only few trainees.

(iii) Job Rotation:

This kind of training involves moving of employees from one job to another for the purpose of providing them with a larger organisational perspective and a greater understanding of different functional areas. This added knowledge may be needed for performing higher level tasks. These are several potential problems related to use of job rotation such as increased work-load for trainees and frequent job change may produce stress and anxiety. The trainee may not be very productive during this time.

(iv) Apprenticeship Training:

This method is traditionally used in crafts trades and in technical areas. The trainees spend prescribed amount of time working with an experienced trainer or coach. The training period varies from one year to two years depending upon the nature and type of apprenticeship. A major part of training time is spent on the job productive work. The trainee is paid stipend which is less than the salary of skilled workers.

The main advantage of this method is that the skilled manpower is maintained but on the other hand, one weakness is that the period of apprentice is predetermined and those who learn fast may quit the programme in frustration.

(v) Mentoring:

In this type of training, a senior employee who act as a mentor sponsors and support a junior or less experienced employee who is a mentee. A mentor is a teacher, coach, counsellor, host, guide, and facilitator in the realisation of the vision of the young person (protégé). The mentor shares experiences with the men tee, act as a role model and provides guidance on how to survive and get ahead in the organisation.

In general mentor shape the behaviour of mentee in a work situation, both formal and informal mentoring can take place depending on the work culture and the philosophy of top management of the organisation. In India the mentoring is based on the “Guru-Shishya” relationship. As per Economic Times, 25 October 2002 organisation like TISCO, Neyveli Lignite Corporation, Polaris and Coca – Cola India are using mentoring system.

On-the-Job Training Methods – 6 Most Popular Training Methods: Job Instruction, Coaching, Mentoring, Job Rotation, Apprenticeship, and Committee Assignments

The most popular on-the-job training methods are as follows:

1. Job Instruction Training (JIT)

2. Coaching

3. Mentoring

4. Job Rotation

5. Apprenticeship Training

6. Committee Assignments

Method # 1. Job Instruction Training:

One approach to systematic on-the-job training is the Job Instruction Training (JIT) developed during World War II to train the solders.

The various steps in JIT are:

i. Preparation of the Learner:

a. Put the learner at ease.

b. Find out what he or she already knows about the job.

c. Get the learner interested and desirous of learning the job.

ii. Presentation of the Operations and Knowledge:

a. Tell, show, illustrate and question in order to put over the new knowledge and operations.

b. Instruct slowly, clearly, completely, and patiently, one point at a time.

c. Check, question, and repeat.

d. Make sure the learner really knows.

iii. Performance Try-Out:

a. Test the learner by having him or her perform the job.

b. Ask questions beginning with why, how, when, or where.

c. Observe performance, correct errors, and repeat instructions if necessary.

d. Continue until you know that the learner knows.

iv. Follow-up:

a. Put the employee on his or her own.

b. Check frequently to ensure that the learner follows instructions.

c. Taper off extra supervision and close follow-up until the person is qualified to work with normal supervision.

Method # 2. Coaching:

According to Brad Humphrey and Jeff Stokes (2000, book-The 21st Century Supervisor), coaching employees is one of the supervisor’s single greatest contributions to the organization. They identified coaching as one of the nine essential skills for organizational leaders. Edgar Schein has emphasized the OD consultant’s role in coaching and counselling.

In 1969, coaching assumed a new level of importance when Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard introduced a management model entitled Situational Leadership.

Coaching process is a relationship. It is only through working together that the coach and the individual (or team) can take an activity that at first seemed impossible, and try to make it possible through sincere effort. In this relationship, the coach provides the environment, support, feedback and encouragement, while the individual or team must be open and committed to change and improvement.

In an ideal world, successful coaches keep creating situations where they are no longer needed. The qualities of a good coach are- positive, supportive, trusting, observant, respectful, patient and assertive. Furthermore, it is also important that a coach be focused and clear.

To illustrate the attributes of a good coach, Marshall Cook (1999) developed a useful tool that compares and contrasts the traits of the archetypal “boss” with the ideal “coach”.

Attributes of Good Coach:

The Boss:

a. Talks a lot

b. Tells

c. Fixes

d. Presumes

e. Seeks control

f. Orders

g. Work on

h. Puts products first

i. Wants reasons

j. Assigns blame

k. Keeps distance

The Coach:

a. Listens a lot

b. Asks

c. Prevents

d. Explores

e. Seeks commitment

f. Challenges

g. Works with

h. Puts process first

i. Seeks results

j. Takes responsibility

k. Makes contact

This list provides a useful profile of what an ideal coach would look like. There are diversified opinions in deciding the work of a coach. In general, however, there are three factors that are repeatedly identified as central to the work of a coach.

These are:

i. Focus on Communication:

Commitment to good communication is very much required for successful coaching.

A good coaching session should:

a. Have a clear purpose

b. Have established ground rules

c. Keep focused

d. Be based on clear and simple communication

e. Depends on openness to new ideas

f. Have an open door policy

g. Place special attention on modelling good behaviours and body language

h. Have competing demands placed on a manager’s time.

ii. Invest in Problem Identification:

In a coaching programme the problem should be identified properly. Effective problem diagnosis is critical to improving performance.

The skills required for effective diagnosis are:

a. Listening skills- Coaches must avoid the temptation of immediately rushing in and naming what they see as the problem. They should ensure that there are no distractions and should avoid the temptation of leading the conversation.

b. The ability to develop good questions.

iii. Identify an Effective Problem Solving Strategy:

Effective and successful coaches keep creating situations where they are no longer needed. Marshall Cook (1999) provides some simple, pragmatic insights into solving problems by coaching. He prescribes a seven-step methodology for coaching employees to solve problems.

The methodology challenges the coach and the person(s) being coached to:

(a) Define the opportunity (problems are often opportunities in disguise)

(b) Define the goal

(c) Create the action statement

(d) Create the action plan

(e) Set the evaluation standard

(f) Confirm the understanding

(g) Plan the follow up.

Pros and Cons of Coaching:


a. Coaching is not a therapy. It assumes that the client is healthy rather than suffering from some pathology.

b. Coaching is future and action oriented.


a. The limits of a coach’s skills and abilities must be acknowledged.

b. Sometimes people of the organization are unable to accept the coach.

Method # 3. Mentoring:

While coaching by an employee’s immediate superior usually focuses on job performance, mentoring is usually much broader and focuses on general career and personal development. Mentor’s role is usually filled by someone other than the immediate superior, and usually by a person of higher rank from outside the employee’s department.

Generally a mentor is an individual of higher status who is willing to invest time, interest, and support in a subordinate person over an extended period of time. According to Ostroff and Kozlowski (1993), a mentor is a senior and experienced organizational member who specifically helps a young professional to develop their technical, interpersonal, and political skills.

However, this differs slightly to the view of Burlew (1991) who states that the definition of a mentoring relationship has changed from the intense, exclusive, multiyear relationship between senior and junior colleague, to now include an individual involved in a variety of short-term, low-intensity interactions with peers and direct supervisors.

Most definitions agree that a mentoring relationship is an interactive and dyadic relationship. Mentoring can be accomplished on a person-to-person basis, or the mentor can meet with a small group of four to six proteges. With the group approach, the group has the potential to evolve into a learning team whose members can coach each other.

The Organization Development (OD) consultant can provide valuable training, such as training in active listening or training in small-group process interventions, for those involved in this process.

The main objective of mentoring is to help an employee attain psychological maturity and effectiveness and get integrated with the organization. In a work situation such mentoring can take place at both formal and informal levels, depending on prevailing work culture and the commitment from the top management.

Differences between Coaching and Mentoring:


i. Coaching takes place within the confines of a formal manager- employee relationship.

ii. Focuses on developing individuals within their current jobs.

iii. Interest is functional, arising out of the need to ensure that individuals can perform the tasks required to the best of their abilities.

iv. Relationship tends to be initiated and driven by an individual’s manager.

v. Relationship is finite-ends as an individual transfers to another job.


i. Mentoring takes place outside of a line manager-employee relationship, at the mutual consent of a mentor and the person being mentored.

ii. Mentoring is career-focused or focuses on professional development that may be outside a mentee’s area of work.

iii. Interest is personal and professional – a mentor provides both professional and personal support.

iv. Relationship may be initiated by a mentor or created through a match initiated by the organization.

v. Relationship crosses job boundaries. Relationship may last for a specific period of time (nine months to a year) in a formal programme, at which point the pair may continue in an informal mentoring relationship.

Features of Mentoring:


a. Listen and understand

b. Challenge and stimulate

c. Coach

d. Build self-confidence

e. Teach by example

f. Act as role model

g. Share experiences

h. Offer encouragement


a. Listen

b. Act on advice

c. Show commitment to learn

d. Check ego at the door

e. Ask for feedback

f. Be open minded

g. Be ready to change

h. Be proactive

Functions of Mentoring:

The various functions the mentor provides for the protégé and the organization are broadly categorized as career-development, psychosocial, and organizational functions.

a. Career Development Functions:

Career-oriented functions are activities which not only help the protégé’s to develop his/her career within the current organization, but to help in developing general career progression. These functions include sponsorship, protection, coaching, challenging the protégé, and giving them exposures which are described below. According to Scandura (1998) these mentoring functions are “vocational career support”.

i. Sponsorship:

To fulfil the function the mentor acts in a proactive way to benefit the protégé’s career by championing their suitability for promotion and career benefiting assignments.

ii. Protection:

Protection of the protégé is similar to sponsorship, but in a defensive manner. The mentor protects the protégé from undesirable assignments and internal politics which may harm their career development or advancement.

iii. Coaching:

Here the mentor provides advice, analysis, and feedback with the intention of improving decision-making, organizational fit, and skills of the protégé.

iv. Challenge:

Mentors help mentees to develop necessary competencies through challenging job assignments and appropriate feedback.

v. Exposure:

Mentors expose their protégés to senior-decision makers to demonstrate their abilities and aid them in the creation of their own internal and external networks.

b. Psychological Functions:

Psychological functions are aimed at improving the protégé’s psychic development. These functions include- role modelling, confirmation and acceptance, counselling, and friendship.

i. Role Modelling- Mentors offer mentees a pattern of values and behaviours to imitate.

ii. Confirmation and Acceptance- Confirmation and acceptance is the process of the protégé building a sense of self as a professional through the mentor affirming and understanding the protégé’s experiences.

Mentors offer support, guidance and encouragement to mentees so that they can solve the problems independently and gain confidence in course of time. Mentors help people to learn about the organization’s culture and understand why things are done in certain ways.

iii. Counselling- Mentors functions as counsellor to protégé’s or mentees. Mentors help mentees work out their personal problems, learn about what to do and what not to do, offer advice on what works and what does not, and do everything to demonstrate improved performance and prepare them for greater responsibility.

iv. Friendship- Mentors also provide friendship and a role model for protégés. They offer practical help and support to mentees so that they can indulge in mutually satisfying social interactions with peers, subordinates, bosses and customers.

c. Organizational Functions:

The third type of mentoring function is the organisational function. Covan (2002) argues that mentors help the organization by monitoring their protégé and assuring they work to the appropriate standards. He also states that mentors help the organisation by teaching organizational values and processes to the new employee. There are less organizational related functions in mentoring, as the focus of mentoring is more concerned with developing the protégé to benefit the organization.


1. Mentees have easy access to someone for support and friendship; information and learning; coaching; and advocacy.

2. Mentoring is linked to a new employee’ learning the ropes faster than an un-mentored newcomer


1. Feeling of jealousy may be created among the mentees who do not get a good mentor.

2. Sometimes the mentor forms strong bond with the mentees creating unwarranted favouritism which leads to a demoralizing effect on other workers.

Organizations like TISCO, NTPC, Polaris, CITI Bank, Proctor and Gamble and many more have given a lot of importance to mentoring programme.

Mentoring can succeed if- (i) there is genuine support and commitment from top management, (ii) mentors take up their job seriously and transfer ideas, skills and experiences in a systematic way and (iii) mentees believe in the whole process and carry out things in an appropriate manner.

Method # 4. Job Rotation:

This training allows employees to rotate themselves among different narrowly defined tasks and gain experiences of those tasks. This implies periodic shifting of an employee from one task to another. When a job is no longer meaningful, interesting and challenging the employee is rotated to another job especially at the same level having similar skill requirements.

The objective is to expose the employees to different experiences and wider variety of skills to enhance job satisfaction and to cross-train them. It gives future managers a broad background.

For example an administrative employee may spend two or three days of a week looking after reception areas of the business and directly dealing with customers and enquiries. Next two days he/she may spend in doing his/her current work. Another example may be in an auto assembly line, one worker whose job is installing carpets would be rotated periodically to a second workstation where he/she would install only seats in the car.

After that he/she might be rotated to a third work station, where his/her job would be to install only the cars’ instrument panels. During the course of a day on the assembly line, the worker might be shifted at two-hour intervals among all three workstations.


a. It reduces boredom and monotony of the job.

b. It teaches the employees multi skill.

c. Employees with a wider range of skills give management more flexibility in scheduling work, adapting to changes, and filling vacancies.

d. It helps in managing the work in the absence of employees.

e. It motivates the employees for better productivity.


a. It increases training costs.

b. The productivity is reduced by moving an employee to a new position, just when efficiency at the previous job is creating organizational economies.

c. Job rotation creates disturbances in the sense that members of the work group have to adjust to the new employee.

d. Supervisor has to devote more time by answering the queries of the newly rotated employee.

Method # 5. Apprenticeship Training:

Apprenticeship is typically associated with the skilled trades, derived from the medieval practice of having the young learn a trade from an experienced worker. Apprentices (or in early modern usage “prentices”) or protégés build their careers from apprenticeships. Most of their training is done while working for an employer who helps the apprentices learn their trade.

This is in exchange for their continuing labour for an agreed period after they become skilled. Theoretical education may also be involved, informally via the workplace and/or by attending vocational schools while still being paid by the employer. Apprenticeships are route to certain skilled blue- collar jobs.

In Europe, apprenticeships are still one of the major ways for young men and women to gain entry to skilled jobs. In the United States, apprenticeships are largely confined to adults wanting to work certain occupations, such as carpentry and plumbing. These apprenticeships generally last four years, and the apprentice’s pay starts at about half that of the more experienced “journey workers”.

In India, The Apprentices Act was enacted in 1961 and was implemented effectively in 1962. Initially the Act envisaged training of trade apprentices. It regulates the programme of training of apprentices in the industry so as to conform to the syllabi, period of training etc. as laid down by the Central Apprenticeship Council and to utilize fully the facilities available in industry for imparting practical training with a view to meeting the requirements of skilled manpower for industry.

The Act was amended in 1973 to include training of graduate and diploma engineers as “Graduate” and “Technician” Apprentices. The Act was further amended in 1986 to bring within its purview the training of the 10+2 vocational stream as “Technician (Vocational)” Apprentices. Overall responsibility is with the Directorate General of Employment and Training (DGE&T) in the Union Ministry of Labour.

DGE&T is also responsible for implementation of the Act in respect of Trade Apprentices in the Central Govt. Undertakings and Departments. This is done through six Regional Directorates of Apprenticeship Training located at Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kanpur and Faridabad.

State Apprenticeship Advisers are responsible for implementation of the Act in respect of Trade Apprentices in State Government Undertakings/Departments and Private Establishments. Department of Education in the Ministry of HRD is responsible for implementation of the Act in respect of Graduate, Technician and Technician (Vocational) Apprentices.

This is done through four Boards of Apprenticeship Training located at Kanpur, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai.

Pros and Cons of Apprenticeship:


a. Apprentices get chance to work with an experienced guide, coach or trainer.

b. Apprentices can clear the doubt first handedly.


a. Uniform period of training is offered to trainees.

b. People have different abilities and learn at varied rate. Fast learner may quit the programme in frustration while slow learner may require extra time.

c. Technologies are being changed rapidly. Hence trainees who spend years learning specific skills may find, upon completion of their programmes, that the job skills they acquired are no longer appropriate.


Internships are a route to white-collar or managerial jobs in a variety of fields. Internships are opportunities for students to gain real-world job experiences, often during the time they do their summer project. Although most internships offer very low or no pay, student interns can often gain college credits and, possibly, the offer of a full-time job after graduation.

Method # 6. Committee Assignments:

In this type of training, the trainees are asked to solve an actual organizational problem by working in a group. Talented employees are being assigned important committees in order to broaden their experiences. By this they also understand the personalities, issues and processes governing the organization.

This develops the team spirit of the trainees to achieve the common goal. But sometimes committee assignment leads to “social loafing”, which is the tendency for individuals to expend less effort when working collectively than when working individually. Some other times, committee assignment becomes notorious time wasting activities.