Trainers can be found in every industry and they take many forms.
Corporate trainers act as guest speakers visiting and teaching skills at a different organisation every day. HR workers are required to be able to train staff at their company to ensure they are up to date with its policy and its wellbeing protocols. For many workers, training is only something they do when they are onboarding new colleagues.
Whatever form training takes, however, there are always key attributes which help its success.
Organisation is vital. If you have a scheduled training session, you should also have a lesson plan.
A lesson plan for your training session should include learning objectives and the activities you will conduct in order for your trainees to reach them. If you are required to do this same training session on more than one occasion you can of course use the same plan each time, but this doesn’t mean that your work is over.
Before each training session, familiarise yourself with who you are about to train. If it is just one person, study their CV and background so you know what skills-level they are entering the session at. If you are training a group of people, for example at a business, research what the organisation does and how they would use the skills you are teaching them in their everyday work.
Curiosity is what will put you ahead of other trainers in your field. This not only includes learning all about your trainees in order to best teach them on an individual level, but it involves being curious about your own sector and how it fits into the modern world.
It is likely that the area you are training in is continuously evolving, thanks to advancing technology, new research and changes in attitudes. If you are to be the most effective and current trainer in your field –- and therefore the one people will seek out – it is important to put in effort to stay up to date with the latest trends, developments and approaches in your industry and implement these into your training sessions.
Good at listening
Training sessions can be fairly one-sided, particularly if you are teaching a large group of people. One way to boost the effectiveness of your training, though, is to listen.
Listen to how your trainees are responding to each bit of information you share. Do their answers to your questions suggest that they are clearly grasping the concepts you are training them in or are they confusing topics?
Another form of listening is keeping in tune with trainees’ body languages. You can tell how they are feeling from facial expressions, how they are holding themselves and the pace at which they are completing tasks.
Some trainees are going to have more success in your session than others. It is important to have empathy towards their situation and not get frustrated.
Perhaps what you are teaching them is a completely new concept to them, doesn’t align with their own values or is just not a task suited to their personal abilities. Understanding that it is not the fault of the trainee is a great step to making them feel comfortable and secure their eventual success.
Also, showing empathy towards struggling trainees sets a good example. If you are training a group and one trainee who is having difficulties is preventing the session from moving on to the next stage, having patience and acting like this is fine will minimise the risk of other trainees feeling annoyed at them.
Not every training session will go the same. Each lesson will have a different pace of getting through planned activities and each group you are teaching will enter the session with different backgrounds.
You need to be prepared to deviate from your plan for the session. Flexibility in this form involves knowing how to ensure your trainees have left the session having met the main learning objectives if you are running short on time as well as having spare activities in your back pocket if your trainees are getting through the material quickly.
You may need to take different approaches for training different kinds of people and flexibility, organisation and caring about all of your trainees’ success is key to do this.
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