Become The Trainer Everyone Raves About!
We’ve all once sat as participants in some type of training event. And I’m certain you remember whether the instructor or coach was effective or a total wreck. I know you notice the good ones but you probably notice the bad ones more. And if you’ve led sessions, you instinctively say to yourself, “I can do better” when they’re bad, or wonder “how can I emulate this trainer” when they’re really good.
Look, training, instructing, or even simply presenting to people is intimidating, even if you have extensive experience doing so. Whether you have the training and instructional experience, conduct an occasional workshop or orientation session, or simply lead a department and have to share knowledge with colleagues and stakeholders, it never hurts to further develop, or refresh, specific knowledge sharing and learning transfer skills.
Let’s do a quick exercise together. First, grab a pen and paper or open a blank Word document. In this document, draw a line down the middle and title each column “effective” and “ineffective.” Next, reflect on a recent training session you attended as a participant. Got it? Now, ask yourself, what made the instructor effective or ineffective? Take a moment to note down your thoughts.
For the effective trainer or facilitator, the items that usually come to mind are their professionalism, how well they conducted or delivered the course, how they made it relevant for you, and how the course helped to develop your knowledge and skills and build a positive attitude to making you more effective in your job. Also, I can’t believe how fast time flies by when the training is enjoyable and effortless.
For the ineffective or bad training sessions, the stories are usually about how boring or irrelevant the session was, or worse, how you kept asking yourself why you are even there when you have better things to do! I also bet you listed things like the instructor didn’t address the appropriate skill level or they just didn’t have the appropriate communication skills to effectively communicate with participants. I’m pretty sure you have more thoughts listed.
The one myth people have about effective trainers is that the good ones possess a depth and wealth of subject knowledge. Many believe Subject Matter Experts are the ones who will be the best in training others. Regretfully, Subject Matter Experts and managers continue to be thrown into a training role only because people continue to propagate this myth.
But you know what happens most of the time? Participants get frustrated with the expert or manager because they are unable to translate and transfer their knowledge into concepts the audience can easily understand. Even though the expert or manager knows the subject well, they don’t have the appropriate learning transfer skills, ultimately leading to a poor training experience.
Another common example leading to poor training experiences is when a trainer or coach is the exact opposite: when they don’t possess the required and relevant knowledge. While they may have other facilitation skills, participants can feel like the trainer simply crammed a textbook or an operator’s manual to learn the topic the night before the session.
It’s true that having a depth of knowledge is an asset and is necessary for delivering effective training, but it’s not the only or even the most important skill. The most impactful trainers and coaches are often not the most knowledgeable in the topic. There are many other contributing factors to being an effective trainer and a successful training session, including:
- Possessing the relevant knowledge and skills to train effectively
- Incorporating well-developed communication and interpersonal skills
- Fostering and encouraging a positive problem-solving attitude
Expertise Vs. Training Skill
The good news, and stress reliever, is that you don’t have to be an expert to conduct training on a topic. But this doesn’t mean that you should simply stand up in front of a group and hope they learn something from you. This is what many experienced facilitators refer to as the “spray and pray” approach. Without a doubt, you should have a solid working knowledge of the subject, bring pertinent experience to make it relevant for the participants, and apply essential training and communication skills that will allow you to effectively transfer the knowledge to others.
Effective and experienced trainers ensure participants leave knowing the core concepts they came to learn and, more importantly, that they can apply this knowledge or skill in their jobs or lives. They aspire to make a difference in their participants’ lives. And even though these trainers demonstrate learning effectiveness, they always strive to improve their own training skills continually.
Is It Difficult To Develop Your Training Skills?
The question I often get asked from aspiring trainers is: “Is it difficult to become an effective trainer?” The short answer is “no.” Whether you’re new to training or have years of experience, there are resources, like our recent Developing Professional Training And Facilitation Skills course, that give you an opportunity to acquire, develop, and sharpen your core training, facilitation, and presentation skills. And for a limited time, you can take advantage of the introductory promotional price and an accompanying eBook!
I sincerely encourage you to embark on this journey to develop or sharpen your training skills, but first, take a moment to reflect on your needs. Ask yourself, do you have training skills? If so, what skills do you want to develop? And finally, what steps will you take to become a better trainer, instructor, or coach?
For most, delivering and a training session can be an overwhelming process. So, if you want participants to walk away with a positive experience, remember to keep it simple and to continually hone your training skills. Know that the best trainers and coaches are continuous learners too, so use this time to become one yourself.
Don’t be complacent and refresh your training skills now. You can do it in one hour by registering for this Developing Professional Training And Facilitation Skills eLearning course, designed both for recent trainers and seasoned veterans. Learning is not only for your participants…as a trainer your must lead by example and be a learner yourself.