Never mind the gap: solution-focused training needs analysis

I just received a query about how to use SF thinking in producing a training needs analysis:

Mark, I need to outline how we would go about developing a ‘needs analysis’ for a big coaching project we are bidding for with a major potential client.  My experience with these is that they are essentially gap analysis tools which runs right against the SF approach.  Are you aware of anything that might have been written up that provides an SF approach to this?  I would really like to be able put up an alternative approach that achieves better outcomes than the traditional gap based needs analysis.

I am quite a fan of the ‘reverse Kirkpatrick’ method of needs analysis.  This takes Donald Kirkpatrick’s four levels of training evaulation (with which many of you may be familiar):

reaction of student – what they thought and felt about the training
learning – the resulting increase in knowledge or capability
behaviour – extent of behaviour and capability improvement and implementation/application
results – the effects on the business or environment resulting from the trainee’s performance

and reverses them. So, we get a process like:

1.  Results - the desired effects on the business or environment resulting from the trainee’s performance (and, in SF fashion, the benefits of this for all stakeholders including the learning participants)
2.  Behaviour - therefore, the desired behaviour and capability improvement and implementation/application is… (and, in SF fashion, what do we know from previous experience of doing this in this organisation that will help.  What’s the best you ever did at this?… How did you do that?…)
3.  Learning - therefore, the desired increase in knowledge or capability to be taught is… (And in SF fashion, including what of this do they do already, how to affirm that, how to build on it, etc)
4,  Reaction of students – (and lastly how we wish the learners to respond on the day, which will usually be engaged, stimulated, affirmed, supported and clear about their next steps).

Do try this and let me know how you get on.  I’ve found it very helpful in the past.  And what’s more, it makes the evaluation process very straightforward, as you’ve already thought about all the criteria for the evaluation.

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3 responses

  1. Great reverse framework. I often take a similar ‘reverse’ approach when a client wishes to use the SWOT analysis for planning.
    Thanks Mark.

  2. Great reveral of the K4 which we use a lot….maybe not for much longer. Can you say more Alan on the reverse SWOT and give an example?

  3. Reblogged this on The Strengths-Based Leader's Toolkit and commented:
    A solution-focused approach is key to leveraging the strengths of participants in any training session. Check out this blog post to dive into the world of solution-focused training needs analysis…

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