Technology with a Purpose

Archive for November, 2015

TargetSolutions’ Top 10 Training Courses for HR Issues

TargetSolutions’ online training library features valuable courses to educate employees on critical workplace topics.

TargetSolutions’ Human Resources courses are designed to supplement the course catalog by providing training that is relevant and essential to all employees of all industries. No matter what profession an employee holds, HR training is critical for reducing liability and improving productivity.

Employment Practices for Supervisors courses cover issues encountered in the workplace for individuals tasked with making employment decisions, including issues of harassment, hiring and termination, discrimination, evaluation and documentation.

TargetSolutions offers several courses that are mandated by the state of California, including Sexual Harassment for Supervisors (California AB 1825).

Here are TargetSolutions’ top 10 HR courses, based on the total number of completions:

  • Sexual Harassment Awareness
  • Workplace Diversity
  • Workplace Violence
  • Alcohol-Free Workplace
  • Drug-Free Workplace
  • General HIPAA Awareness
  • Customer Service
  • Workplace Stress
  • Diet & Nutrition
  • Computer Security Awareness

For more information on TargetSolutions’ online safety training, please contact us at (800) 840-8048.


Get to Know Your Account Manager: Colleen Marchesano

When arriving at the fork in the road, Colleen Marchesano definitely took the road less traveled. Marchesano was a middle school science teacher residing in Huntington Beach, Calif. prior to her arrival to TargetSolutions in August of 2010.

Upon receiving word of a vacant position at the company, she jumped at the opportunity to pack up her bags and relocate to sunny San Diego for an all-new adventure. After serving in several different roles, Colleen is now working as an account manager with fire departments in the Pacific Northwest, as well as Alaska, California and Hawaii.

A devout mother and wife with a keen sense for the outdoors, Marchesano says her favorite thing about her job is having the opportunity to serve such a respectable industry every day.

“If I can help make the life of a training officer easier, then I can go home happy,” she said.

Here is more about Colleen from a recent Q-and-A:

What are some of your hobbies outside of work?

Anything outdoors. I hike a lot with my husband and son in the hills behind our home. Bike rides, beach days…we are the happiest outside!

What is your favorite and least favorite food?

I happily eat almost ANYTHING! But, I do tend to crave Mexican food every day. There’s only one food I can think of that I hate and its baby corn. They taste like dirt and I just can’t do it.

If you could relive any point in your life for just one day, what would it be?

Meeting my son for the first time. Everything about that day was heaven on earth. I don’t think I ever could have anticipated what that moment would be like and I don’t know how anything else can ever compare.

What is something that you’re most proud of?

Surviving motherhood for one whole year! In all honesty I am proud of the mom that I am. I have dreamt of being a mother for so long and have loved everything about it so far. The challenges that come along with motherhood are some of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to face, but overcoming them is the most rewarding feeling.

If you could time travel to any era, when and where would you go?

If I could live in any era I would LOVE to be able to experience the 20s in Chicago. It was a time of such artistic explosion and industrial growth and not to mention woman suffrage! I can just picture myself at jazz lounges dancing the night away in a flapper dress … man, that sounds amazing, doesn’t it?

What is something about you that others may not know?

In middle school, one of our PE units was archery. I was, and still am, the only female to ever get three bullseyes in a row, which earned me a Golden Arrow award (I still have it; it’s an actual arrow that is painted gold) and a spot in the yearbook. We’re talking about a school that is over 50 years old! Impressive, right? The one thing people do already know about me is I am super competitive so obviously you can see why I am still proud of this little known fact about me.

How Effective Coaching Can Help Employees Thrive

Effective Coaching Helps Employees Thrive
Effective coaching can have a huge impact on the success of an organization.

Blog by Peter Dove

Shared Values Associates

Breakthroughs in innovation come from new thought. Henry Flagler gave John D. Rockefeller invaluable insight that made Standard Oil possible, which in 1879 produced 90 percent of the refined oil in the U.S. Tim Paterson made it possible with his Windows innovation to make Bill Gates one of the richest and influential men in history. Phil Mickelson and Fred Couples had Butch Harmon and Ford had Harry Levinson. Coaching is concerned with innovation, development and the facilitation of new thought. W. Edwards Deming said, “Nothing changes without personal transformation.”

As you see on the International Coach Federation’s website, there are a number of different kinds of coaching within this field; business, internal, leadership, life vision and executive coaching to name a few.  When selecting a coach it makes best sense that the coach be in compliance with the 11 core competencies the ICF has defined as best practice. The ICF is the coaching organization that is recognized worldwide as the standard in this space.

Coaching constitutes an ongoing conversation that empowers a person or team to fully live out their calling – in their life and profession.

For a leader, the chief outcome of executive coaching is to manifest high performing direct reports and then mobilize, lead and guide those people to a keen internal vision. For either the leader or the key person with few or no direct reports, coaching allows for enlightenment followed by action. The idea is for the participant through expert prompting to listen to the inner self in order to develop insight and understanding since most often they do have the answers. Then the participant can take specific action to reshape their life around that learning to, among other important things, facilitate a culture of high performance, which is an essential role of an executive.

Coaching is for those executives who are in ascension, often referred to as “High Potentials.” It is also for solid performers, whom one would like to reward. Coaching is also for those in regression, who are successful in certain aspects of their job but struggle in others.  The coaching relationship is expected to produce insights, greater personal awareness, changed behaviors, actions, and ultimately results that are satisfactory to the participant, their direct reports, and the expectations set by the organization.

Much is expected of the participant in this coaching process. Self-evaluation, reasoning, imagination, making decisions about a new direction, courage to look at and own faults as well as courage to own successes all resulting in significant behavior change toward established goals. The point of this exercise is implementation of new insight and behavior in order to move to the next level. The focus of executive coaching is on the participant – their goals, their learning and their growth. The participant’s accountability is a willingness to learn, change and grow.

Coaching is learning – rather than teaching.

The Participant is the expert on their life. Coaching techniques such as active listening, open questions, encouragement, and best practices management training where needed and challenging the participant are used. The coach is supportive and assists in discovering insights, facilitates change and next steps.

Coaching is action.

There are a number of models but often there are 10 or so one hour sessions, two weeks apart. In a session the participant determines 1-3 actions steps to take before the next session. Progress can be quick. The participant focuses on their life – not just their work. We all know that changing old habits and thought patterns are difficult but necessary for growth. The coach holds the participant accountable to the action steps.

Here are some important distinctions. Coaching is not therapy. Although many of the communication techniques are the same; like active listening, reflecting, use of questions, some advice giving, etc. Therapy focuses on the past to bring healing and unblock a person to move ahead. Coaching is future and action-oriented for healthy people who are fundamentally clear of psychological and emotional issues.

Coaching is not mentoring.

Mentors are experts in a particular field who seek to pass on their expertise to a person. Mentors provide knowledge, advice, guidance, correction, and encouragement. They may use some coaching techniques, but mentors usually play the role of advisor and teacher to guide and impart knowledge and wisdom. While there will be mentoring moments, time with the participant will be largely around coaching.

In coaching the emphasis is not training though training does take place. Coaching is more focused on the participant’s agenda within their scope as an executive. Coaches use adult learning principles of self-discovery and awareness to motivate change from within the participant.

Coaching is not authoritarian.

Picture the tough sports coach who screams and then demands pushups for mistakes. That is not coaching. The coach may push beyond what might be thought reasonable, but should always be supportive. The Participant is in control. The responsibility to decide and act is theirs. Coaching is effective because it brings out the participant’s best. Again, the participant can create their own answers if facilitated properly.

Here is an example of a coaching best practice process.

1. Assessment: First of all the participant must assess if the coach is a good fit for them, it’s their decision. From that point it is best for the participant to take a self-assessment. There are a number of these on the market. I use the Harrison Assessment as well as a multi-rater called the Leadership Impact Survey by Impact Achievement Group (, so the participant can receive feedback from their workplace as to their management/contribution acumen. As with a map, in order to get to point B one must assess where they are, that is: point A. Prescription before diagnosis is called malpractice. Assessments provide essential additional data used to flesh out what areas specifically the participant may want to develop in order to go to the next level.

2. Outcomes: Based upon assessments and conversation the participant and their boss decide what outcomes make best sense to pursue always with the focus on creating a work environment that facilitates insight and high performing direct reports. Sustained high performance necessitates a high trust culture.

3. Awareness: In order to grow, change and become more it is necessary to increase self-awareness and this is another key role of the coach; to facilitate awareness.

4. Action Plan: Faith without works is dead. Commitment to sustained action is necessary if any progress is to be made. This is a process and will be one of trial and error at times because the territory for the participant will often be new.

5. Delivery: Finally, through this process lasting change will be achieved. The hope is breakthrough and a new door opened such that the participant wins big as do others in the culture. The coach ought to report to the sponsor (boss) during and after the process as to progress while maintaining confidentiality.

6. Re-assess: Now it is time to re-assess, measure progress, reflect on lessons learned and consider any next steps.

Why use a coach? The reasons people want coaching are many and as unique as the person. Here are just 20 examples that motivate people to use a coach.

1. Making significant change

2. Career path planning

3. Developing the team and improving the culture

4. Dealing with problem employees

5. Having difficult conversations

6. Holding others accountable

7. Asserting self

8. Dealing with uncertainty

9. Making better decisions

10. Setting better goals and reaching them faster

11. Dealing with fear and gaining perspective

12. Facilitation of high performing direct reports

13. Getting organized

14. Having someone to talk to

15. Improving relationships on and off the job

16. Having peace of mind

17. Dealing with set backs

18. Being more influential and learning management best practices

19. Building collaboration

20. Simply being a better executive and leader

To bring this home, circle three that stands out to you. The coaching relationship is exciting, filled with little and big breakthroughs and allows for a life of continued success, joy and fulfillment.

About the Author

Peter Dove, is president of Shared Values Associates, a firm dedicated to corporate culture design. Learn more about Peter Dove at



Inaugural Risk Summit Provides Platform Managers with In-Depth Training Event

TargetSolutions’ inaugural Risk Summit was held the first week of November at Maderas Golf Club in Poway, Calif. The three-day training workshop gave clients an opportunity to attend platform training sessions and a live presentation of the TS Academy.

Platform managers looking for hands-on instruction on how to operate TargetSolutions’ online training management system gathered during the first week of November at the Maderas Golf Club in San Diego’s suburb of Poway, Calif.

The 2015 Risk Summit was a three-day training workshop featuring engaging speakers, platform training sessions, one-on-one tutorials, and a live presentation of the TS Academy. For TargetSolutions, the inaugural event offered up a fantastic opportunity to meet face-to-face with platform managers.

“The TargetSolutions Risk Summit is great opportunity to meet with our clients and get feedback. It’s a big part of our development process to make our applications better, more user friendly, and it also gives our clients an opportunity to meet with each other.”

Alex Day, General Manager, TargetSolutions

One of the best things about gathering clients together from different organizations is how they can network and learn from each other about utilizing TargetSolutions.

“The key to success with any training platform, especially TargetSolutions, is collaboration,” said attendee Rick Vogt of the Escondido Fire Department. “So the ability to talk with not just our account managers, but other departments that are using the system in ways that we might not have even thought of, that’s a huge benefit to getting together.”

In addition to the comprehensive training for platform managers, TargetSolutions awarded the City of Roseville’s Lorrie McClain with the Power User award and Otay Water District’s Oscar Ramirez with the Milestone achievement honor. Otay has been using TargetSolutions for 15 years. Also, safety expert Kevin Burns presented a special keynote presentation on how to create a safer workplace culture.

“We are really hoping that our clients take away that we value them, and that we want to hear from them and we love their feedback,” said TargetSolutions Account Manager Amy Albanese. “We want to support them and really show them the platform; provide them with some resources they can take back to their organization and share that with others.”

If you were unable to attend the Risk Summit, but would like to learn more about maximizing the TargetSolutions platform, please e-mail us today for more information. TargetSolutions will be offering more training sessions and webinars in the coming months.


Summit’s Keynote Speaker Encourages Safety Managers to ‘Trust the Process,’ Create Safety Culture

Safety expert Kevin Burns delivered the special keynote presentation at the Risk Summit on Nov. 2 at Maderas Golf Club in Poway, Calif. Burns covered his philosophy on how organizations can build an engaged culture of safety in the workplace.

For safety expert Kevin Burns, workplace safety comes down to three key words: Trust the process.

Burns believes safety will always be an evolving part of an organization’s operational effectiveness. With this in mind, safety and training managers need to instill a process that educates employees on how to be safer in the workplace and create a culture of safety. Burns shared his outlook during a special keynote presentation at the Risk Summit on Nov. 2.

“We don’t want people to have to be exposed to death and destruction before they get safety,” said Burns. “So my philosophy is let’s teach people that safety is a process. Where we are in safety today is very different than 20 years ago, 30 years ago, or even back in 1970 when the Occupational Health and Safety Act first came in to existence through Richard Nixon signing it into law. It is a process. It continues to evolve. There will always be new rules, new processes, new procedures, the longer we go. It’s an ever-evolving process.”

During the presentation, Burns laid out 10 safety attitude strategies that organizations need to ensure a safer culture. The eighth rule states “your actions determine your outcome.” This is a key point because it stresses how workplace safety is the result of a series of smart decisions being made that lead to safer outcomes. By making safe actions, they will have safe results, Burns said.

Burns says a great deal of responsibility is on safety managers to not just teach safety, but provide safety leadership. Training is key for everyone in an organization, including safety managers, he said.

“If you want your people to embrace safety and embrace the training, somebody has got to lead,” said Burns. “That’s up to the safety manager to say, ‘no, I’m with you. I’m taking these courses too. I’m learning, I’m getting better in the same way I expect you to do the same thing.’ And it’s a leadership philosophy … Training is the key component. Having the training doesn’t necessarily mean they will make the right decision, but they have the ability to make the right decision.

“The challenge we find for safety managers, they have folks in the field that they know have been trained properly, but can’t be guaranteed they are going to make the right choice, based on the set of circumstances that are unfolding. So the more that we repeat, the more repetitive it becomes, the more we’re exposed considerable amount of training that is going to be involved, and keep our skills fresh, there is a much better likelihood that somebody in field faced with an uncertain situation is going to make the right choice.”

For more information on what happened at the 2015 Risk Summit, please click here. If you were unable to attend the event, but would like to learn more about utilizing TargetSolutions, please contact support for more information.


Learn the Different Types of Building Construction with TargetSolutions’ Firefighter Training System

TargetSolutions’ Building Construction online training course highlights five different types of construction and their related hazards.

No two buildings are alike, which means no two fires are ever alike. A solid understanding of the different types of building construction and their related hazards can not only help firefighters during emergencies, but also save lives.

Other essential factors for firefighters to understand include construction materials, the age and use of the building, and how remodeling can change the makeup of a building.

Upon successful completion of this one-hour course, students will be able to:

• Identify and differentiate the five types of building construction
• Understand how each type of building is affected by fire
• Recognize the accompanying hazards of each type of building construction

References for this course include NFPA 220: Standard on Types of Building Construction (2012 Edition), NFPA 1011: Standard for Fire Fighter Professional Qualifications (2008 Edition), and NFPA 5000: Building Construction and Safety Codes (2012 Edition), among others.

To learn more about this course or others in TargetSolutions’ online firefighter training library, please contact us at (800) 840-8048.


Firefighter Cancer Support Information Available Inside Community Resources

With a growing number of firefighters falling victim to cancer, the need for a broader understanding and prevention of the disease is more critical than ever before. Due to an increased need for awareness, the Firefighter Cancer Support Network (FCSN) has provided TargetSolutions with 45 valuable articles that have been uploaded into Community Resources.

TargetSolutions features 45 valuable documents produced by the Firefighter Cancer Support Network to educate firefighters on the cancer epidemic inside the fire service. These items are available inside Community Resources.

“Statistically speaking, 1 in 3 firefighters are diagnosed with cancer,” said Bryan Frieders, president of the FCSN.  “The network is an organization that comes alongside firefighters and their immediate families who have been diagnosed and provides them with a toolbox of materials to help them, the most important part being we provide a mentor.”

With a network of more than 150 mentors across the United States and Canada, the FCSN aims to connect recently diagnosed individuals with someone who went through a similar diagnosis and treatment.

“It takes away the fear of the unknown,” Frieders said. “It’s the fundamental reason why we took the job in the fire service: to help others.”

The documents currently available through the TargetSolutions’ Community Resources application highlight the necessary safety precautions for firefighters on the job, as well as the studies and investigations that illuminate the vastness of the cancer epidemic.

Frieders cites a 2013 study published by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which revealed a relation between firefighters and cancer and the 1-in-3 claim. Causes of this statistic could be an increased amount of composite materials and chemicals that are now commonplace in household products of homes that catch on fire. Other correlations point to a lack of cleanliness.

“A lot of traditions we’ve placed over the last 100 years are imposing the awning for cancer,” Frieders said. “It used to be that wearing dirty sooty gear was a badge of courage, but what it comes down to is the dirty gear that you’re wearing is actually posing a hazard to you and your colleagues.”

In addition to cleanliness, Frieders places emphasis on stronger leadership to enforce safety standards and cancer prevention, utilizing proper protective gear, and avoiding all tobacco products.

“Personally speaking, I think cancer is the most contemporary and prevalent issue in the fire service today.”

Bryan Frieders, President, Firefighter Cancer Support Network

Jenny Fergason, TargetSolutions’ Director of Client Services, adds “Firefighters are more likely to develop certain types of cancers than workers in other fields. The Firefighter Support Cancer Network provides great resources and support both for firefighters and for family members who are dealing with career related cancers.”

To view these resources provided by the FCSN, please log in to TargetSolutions, access Community Resources, and search “Firefighter Cancer Support Network.” If you have any questions, please contact us at (800) 840-8048.