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Will 24/7 performance support replace traditional mentoring and training?

Colin Coulson‐Thomas (Based at the University of Greenwich, Greenwich, UK)

Industrial and Commercial Training

ISSN: 0019-7858

Article publication date: 4 October 2011




Mentoring larger numbers of people can be a challenge. This paper seeks to show how performance support can overcome scalability barriers and cost‐effectively provide best practice and up to date help to people throughout an organization, and internationally, on a 24/7 basis and wherever and whenever they need assistance.


Performance support tools can capture and share what high performers do differently in areas in which they excel, and enable others to emulate their approaches to understanding complex situations and doing difficult tasks. The author presents drawbacks of traditional mentoring and training, and summarizes the return on investment, scalability, flexibility, and sustainability advantages of performance support.


Tools examined have yielded multiple benefits to users and commissioning organizations. Relevant and current support can be provided as and when help is needed, including out of the office and on the move.

Practical implications

Performance support has generated high returns on investment. Results include better understanding, higher productivity, quicker and bespoke responses, reduced costs, less stress, and evidenced compliance. Support and learning occurs at the place and time of work. Users can benefit from the advice of whoever has the most relevant and highly effective way of addressing whatever problems arise at each stage of a task.


Research underpinning performance support is summarized, and what it is and its implications are described. It is compared with e‐learning and face‐to‐face approaches. Performance support can complement, supplement or replace traditional approaches to mentoring and training, making superstar support available to larger numbers of people, as and when assistance is required.



Coulson‐Thomas, C. (2011), "Will 24/7 performance support replace traditional mentoring and training?", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 43 No. 7, pp. 431-438.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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