Sun, Nov 19, 2017

How HR can Select Good Trainers

How do you as the HR or training manager go about choosing trainers? Is it important? You bet. Many training workshops today are unfortunately a waste of time and money!

“… the extensive efforts involved in educating graduate students to become licensed professionals result in no observable differences in client outcome”. This is the conclusion of researchers Nyman and Nafziger in the Journal of Counseling and Development. Training is almost an integral part of life today and yet many people still dread attending workshops. You cannot blame them because they have had bad experiences ranging from boring trainers to uninteresting programmes. The worst is probably not benefiting from the training as far as its relevance to work and life is concerned.

Since training is still a must for growth, you can get around this problem by doing your homework.

When you are choosing which workshops to attend, do not just look at the contents. Make sure the trainer is well spoken off in his ability to connect with participants and make the training relevant to their work and life. Look for credible testimonies and references. Pay attention to the methodology which should include experiential activities, role plays, reflection and goal settings. And if possible, having a chat or meet up will give you the best gauge of his charisma.

Take a peek into one of the summarised sharing (below) I gave to trainers. From there, you will be able to gather what the key ingredients of a great trainer are. The next time you assess trainers, you will know what to ask and look for.


Why is it that some trainers are able to send their participants away at the end of the day powered up while others cannot even keep their listeners’ attention for an hour? The reason is the successful trainer knows that it’s all about the participants, not himself or herself. While I have imparted various skills in all my years of coaching trainers and speakers, the one thing that I emphasised consistently is the “It’s all about them” principle. In brief, here are three “about them” areas trainers can master so as to achieve successful training sessions.

#1 Their Needs
It is not uncommon to hear a trainer giving a lengthy and “impressive” self introduction right at the start of the session. Unless every trophy you brag about can bring about more confidence for the participants in you, keep it really short. Remember, it’s all about them, not you. My opening statements and activities usually address their psychological needs relating to the training. These may include a safe environment for learning, an enjoyable session and solid takeaways by the end of the day. The next really good thing to do is to have them write down their personal goals for the training. You will naturally find a stronger sense of purpose after listening to them share these goals which actually reflect their needs.

#2 Their Learning Style
Different people learn well through different approaches. You are probably well versed with VAK learning styles. If you are not, quickly get acquainted with it. In today’s Hollywood and Amazing Race generation, the percentage of auditory (A) learners is becoming the least of the three. Yet many training today are still employing the “I talk you listen” approach. To cater to the needs of increasing visual and kinaesthetic learners, use relevant videos/ images and experiential activities respectively. You may wish to conduct a simple fun game to determine their learning styles in order to use the right mix of training approaches.

#3 Their Personality
How you relate to the participants determines their learning effectiveness. This is especially important during facilitation of discussion and Q&A. Some hate you for making them speak while others cannot wait to be given a chance to talk. Some want direct instructions while others hate being told what to do. The key is to be able to identify their unique personality (and therefore motivation mode) and relate to them accordingly. It helps if you are trained in tools such as DISC and Myers-Briggs. Meeting personality needs seems challenging especially when the class is big. But with practice, you can do it naturally over time.

I hope this sharing will help you enjoy training more than ever, knowing that you are making a positive difference in people’s lives by focusing on… them.


Contributed by David Lee

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