On being a Professional Development trainer

 May 21, 2014

There are three aspects to being a trainer that I endorse. While they all deal with engagement of the audience, they vary in their focus. The first concerns learning coming from the participants. The second is about the stamina of the trainer, and the final point is about creating a supportive environment for learning.

I read a blog recently which commented on the fact that the Q and A method of instruction can sometimes lead to a disjointed method of acquiring knowledge. Admittedly, the audience was a class of school children. It implied that it was more time consuming and that often the information was not acquired as a single concept, but in a piecemeal fashion. I agree that the key point of any learning should be revealed in a clear manner, but I believe that engaging a room of adult learners cannot just be about “tell and do.”  There are those students who revel in the ability to join the dots for themselves. Certainly, as a trainer I follow the principle that adults have the answers within their own life experience, and that my job is to help them raise it to consciousness via a few judicious questions and opportunities for discussion. In this way, the information is not dished up “ready-made” on a plate but emerges in a dynamic fashion from within the group. In addition, I need to fill in any gaps, join disparate concepts and ideas into a cohesive whole, and work with the class to enhance the learning synergy of the group. Another aspect that I think is often underrated is the energy and stamina that the trainer requires to sustain a group of learners. The trainer has to engage for many hours with many participants and maintain their interest. If the information itself is fun or exciting, the job is much easier, but where it is dry and tedious, it will often rest on the personality of the trainer as well as a huge dollop of creativity, to keep the group engaged. As a result, I find that I am unable to sustain training for more than 3-4 days a week; my battery needs to recharge and refocus, if I am to train at my best. My final observation is that there are some types of training that present as very challenging to some participants. For example, training to be a presenter, or a trainer, or learning assertiveness skills can find participants anxious and vulnerable about what they will be expected to do. I know that they want to learn the skills, yet their anxiety can prevent this from happening. I think that there is also a misconception that learning is completed within the length of the course; in fact learning acquired is just the first step towards mastery and needs to be practiced as often as possible after the course finishes. So when I remove the idea of a finite time to learn, explain that we are on a journey and everyone has their own pace, and that I am there to help and support until they feel they are “getting it,” there is often a sigh of relief.  Often too, bringing it out into the open forges a very supportive bond amongst the learners themselves and they encourage one another to succeed.

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About the Author:

Fee Hosking  

With over 24 years experience as a trainer, Fee is one of our most senior Professional Development trainers at New Horizons Sydney. With a professional background as a management consultant in the South African manufacturing industry, Fee brings credibility, experience and authenticity to all of the subjects that she trains. She has the ability to engage professionals from the junior to the senior level. Bringing great energy to the classroom, Fee ensures that the learning experience for all who attend is an enjoyable one, which in turn makes it a truly impactful one.

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