Train the Trainer”…what and why!

Listen here
We have a training team…what is the problem!
Picture the situation…a huge new computer system is being rolled out, and there are only a couple of people within the organization that fully understand how to use the software.

The Head of IT is asked by the CEO to ensure that all five hundred employees are fully conversant with the entire package and wants a series of workshops delivering.

How successful would this be, if someone with no experience of designing and delivering a training programme, and yet full of technical knowledge were asked?
They are an expert with the software but are no expert in training others. They need to be an expert at two things…the subject and the training! Furthermore, having one expert is not scalable! Of course a shortage of trainers full stop offers the same problem! You will need to look to recruit internally!

A trainer needs a number of skills, and these are entirely different to the subject matter itself. Trainers can be trained, but ideally should show some potential in the following…

  • Gravitas: the potential trainer must be well respected within the organization. This increases the likelihood that delegates will be engaged
  • Communication skills: . It’s essential to be able to stand up in front of a room of delegates and be able to present confidently, concisely, accurately, and clearly.
  • Empathy and flexibility: These are important to be able to pick up on the training needs of their delegates and adapt their training to best suit the delegate needs.
  • Focus: The ability to remain focused in order to achieve all outcomes and cover the planned material.
  • Thinking on your feet: the ability to handle difficult situations and complex group dynamics to keep things running smoothly.
  • Patience…People learn in different ways and at different speeds. When training others, it is essential to be patient and inclusive.
Consider all of this and then decide who of your IT experts are the closest to having these skills, and then how you can retrain them! Subject matter & evaluation techniques, content design can be picked up separately.

The key requirement is for you then to deliver a “soft skills” programme to deliver the key skills mentioned earlier. It won’t stop there…don’t expect a new trainer to suddenly hit the ground running. There will be the need for co-delivery in the early stages…the expert trainer holding the hands of the new trainer/expert. Each guiding the other in their own way.

Product knowledge will be there, delivery style will not be!

“The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay” Henry Ford.