Using Learning Modalities in Coaching

In the workplace, visual and auditory modalities of learning are often more dominant and this is primarily the reason behind instructional materials being designed to either catch the cognitive attention of employees or their sense of hearing. There are ways to tell whether employees are more of the visual or the auditory type. Being able to determine whether they react to what they see or here is important in effectively delivering continuing education to them.

As more and more companies are giving more attention to coaching as a learning and development tool to help improve the performance of employees, more and more managers are learning more about different and effective ways of giving their employees the kind of coaching that they need.

One way to effectively deliver the reinforcement and motivation needed by employees is through learning more about their representational systems and how these modalities affect their aptitude to pickup what instructions and messages are being given to them. These four representational systems are auditory, auditory digital, kinesthetic, and visual. People who react more to what they see (or what we call the visual type) tend to be neat and well-groomed. They tend to observe erect posture – including slightly holding their head up high. They are also normally thin who breathe in a shallow manner or from the top of their lungs.

They can also be very organized and they can memorize or remember things based on what they see. They are not easily distracted by noise but they often have difficulty remembering verbal instructions. They usually give importance to appearance and they tend to give focus on how things look. When coaching with this type of persons, try to paint a verbal picture or make use of pictures and/or videos.

This can help them identify their feelings, desires, goals, and needs with what is being taught or instructed to them. On the other hand, auditory people tend to talk to themselves and they are usually easily distracted by noise. They learn best by listening and they can repeat things back to their coaches. They have a penchant for music and/or talking on the phone. They either talk to themselves or move their lips when they are deep in thought. They memorize and learn things in a sequential manner, and they do not have mind maps.

They prefer that managers or supervisors talk to them when they are being given instructions. This type of people would appreciate learning through audio recordings or tele-courses.

When coaching auditory people, see to it that there are no distracting noises in the room.