Mar 20

training by colours what colour are you?

Published by Scott Fraser


There are so many different psychometric tests out there that have different ways of telling you what type of person, personality or learner you are.  We talk a little about some of these on our PTT Train the Trainer courses, and it always stirs up real interest and discussion.  This got me thinking about the type of tests that are most popular and how I could make an adaptation of them to describe how we deliver classroom type training and how we can aim to improve, so I came up with ‘Training by Colours’.

Training is just the same as any business process is in the fact it should always develop and improve.  Sadly from what people tell us, this just isn’t the case in most companies.  Importantly, it’s not all about the training materials; it’s you the trainer that’s the most important part as you can have the best-written training materials in the world, but if the delivery isn’t up to scratch then it’s a complete waste of time and money.  So how as a trainer are you going to develop yourself and what you train?  Well, you need to make sure you are getting feedback from your audience at the time and then further down the line on what effect the training is having in the workplace.  You also need to be able to reflect on every session objectively and ask yourself the simple questions of what went well, and what needs improving bringing this together with your feedback.  But what about having some sort of personal target to identify where you are and where you need to aim for to improve yourself?  This can be difficult because, in many businesses, there is just one person and that person is you!  So, helping yourself to develop in conjunction with yourself- reflection and feedback are so important, and this is where ‘Training by Colours’ comes in:

Here is a snapshot of my simple concept for this blog that you can use to identify what colour you might be at present and where you’d perhaps like to be.  So, what colour are you and more importantly, what are you going to do to reach the next one?

Grey Trainer:

You are perhaps new to training and have had little or no formal training in how to deliver properly, so you rely mostly on how you have seen it done in the past.  You are perhaps filled with fear or under confident at the prospect of training and likely have little or no support network at work to help you.  You are normally given material as you have little experience of writing training, and the material you are given is most likely to be PowerPoint-heavy leading to you just talking at people with little or no engagement.  You probably get little or no feedback and when you do you are unsure what to do with it.

Blue Trainer:

You have some experience and perhaps may have attended some formal training in how to deliver accurately.  You aren’t filled with fear at the prospect of training, but you might not enjoy it and aren’t entirely confident in your abilities.  You might have written materials by yourself but aren’t quite sure of the quality and how to develop them so you might still rely heavily on content written by others, and you feel like you can’t develop them.  These materials are most probably still PowerPoint-heavy, but you are starting to get a little more engagement perhaps, though you might find it hard to do so as it’s outside your comfort zone.  Your feedback is probably improving making you feel good when you get positive results plus you’re now starting to identify the parts that need to be developed but are at times unsure how to make those changes have a lasting effect.

Yellow Trainer:

You are more experienced, and there is a higher likelihood you have attended formal training, and you could also have some formal training qualifications.  You feel fairly assured and confident when delivering sessions to engage but perhaps feel that ‘something extra’ is missing but aren’t quite sure how to take it to the next level.  You are more confident at writing training materials or adapting existing ones that help you engage the audience more but perhaps they don’t always go to plan, and you can’t quite recover when something goes wrong leading to the session being less engaging.  You are more comfortable using other aids to stimulate and engage though you might still be using PowerPoint as your safety blanket.  You are getting a lot of feedback, and you can generally recognise what you need to do to incorporate this into your future sessions but if changes don’t quite work it knocks your confidence.

Green Trainer:

You are a very experienced trainer and most likely have formal training and qualifications that support your skills and knowledge in delivering highly effective and engaging training sessions.  You are particularly assured where little phases you; able to quickly ‘think on your feet’ recovering difficult situations to keep the sessions on track with no loss of audience engagement.  You are comfortable writing and delivering materials that compliment your delivery of highly engaging training sessions with proven feedback and effective self-reflection.  You also use aids freely with no reliance on PowerPoint confident in your abilities to carry out the session no matter what you have at your disposal or limitations are placed upon you.  You actively seek feedback and use your self-reflection to influence changes to sessions and can identify if they are having a positive impact on the training.

To add extra detail to where you sit within each colour, you can also add a ‘Bright’ or ‘Dark’ if you feel you aren’t quite within the stated profile:

Bright - You have identified through your reflection and feedback that you are working consistently at or beyond your existing colour.  If you are Grey, Blue or Yellow, you may not have developed quite enough to take you to the next colour, but you are working hard at reaching it.

Dark - You are identifying in your reflection and feedback that you are starting to incorporate aspects of this colour but find that there are still elements that need to be developed considerably.

So, by my system, I’d say that personally, I’m a ‘Bright Green’ trainer.  However, this doesn’t mean I rest on my laurels!  I haven’t included (in this shortened version for the blog) my development plan examples but here is an example of what I am working on:

"Continue in the accurate reflection of every session, make sure that relevant feedback/ideas can be incorporated into future sessions.  Ensure material is up to date and includes latest best practice.  Make sure I am completing standardisation sessions with the other trainers and that my feedback and performance is monitored together with the impact on my training short and long term." 


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