What if you switched from an FTO model to a PTCM (Partner, Teacher, Coach, Mentor) model?
What if you thought of the new officer as your partner who needs some coaching, guiding, and developing instead of a “boot”, an “FNG”, a “snot nosed recruit”, or any of the other derogatory terms people use for officers in FTO phase. The reality is that you may need him or her to save your life in the first 15 minutes of your first shift together.
What if you shifted the focus from scoring and evaluating a new officer every day to a focus on teaching, developing, coaching, and mentoring every day and saved the evaluation until they have been in the field for 3 or 4 months?
Is it possible this shift would take some of the pressure off the new officer and allow them to learn, grow and develop more easily?
Is it possible that it would take some of the pressure off the coach officer and allow them to focus on coaching, teaching, and mentoring rather than scoring the recruit on up to 27 different elements every day?
Is it possible it might change the relationship and make it easier for the new officer to ask questions and express their areas of struggle, concern, and confusion rather than feeling like they are continually being scrutinized, scored, and evaluated against a standard that is months down the road?
The goal of the FTO / PTO phase of training should be to help new officers learn how to apply what they learned in the academy to the field and develop competent and confident solo officers who embrace the Growth Mindset and the need to continue their learning. Does your current FTO / PTO program accomplish that? Do you invest in the training and development of your FTOs / PTOs?
We need to continue to think differently about all aspects of training, including Field Training.
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