Developing as a Trainer, which path suits you?
As a Trainer, the skills you need to develop may come easy to you, and if so, you’re definitely one of the lucky ones! It would amaze you how many people who have great natural trainer attributes don’t realise, and they also doubt themselves hugely.
When that amazing potential is untapped though, they start to absolutely flourish and to witness that transformation is truly a privilege. There are many more of us though that have to work a little harder at gaining those essential skills, and quite often I get asked, “What’s the best way to develop now as a Trainer?” There are many different ‘paths’ you can take, but there’s one thing for sure, the only way you’ll get better is through doing the job and developing yourself at the same time just like any other job or profession. Whichever path you take should always be individual to what you need and what you want to achieve from it at that time; here are three of the options:
Take another Course or Qualification – For many people, this is the most natural progression, especially if you took a course to become a Trainer in the first place and you like this type of learning. Courses give great opportunity to see others in action and to not only learn from your practise and feedback but also theirs! For educational pathways such as Further Education Colleges and Qualifications providers, it’s mandatory; you’ll be required to take Diplomas and Certificates to train their people.
Work with Colleagues and Peers – A great option too if you’re lucky enough to have experienced trainer colleagues or peers to work with, you’ll have great opportunity to see them at work and to get ‘Best Practice’ tips potentially. A word of caution though, just because they might have been doing it for longer, doesn’t necessarily mean that makes them better! Try to be as objective as possible and see what they do that works and what doesn’t and then bring that into your own practice. One of the best ways to gain confidence when you’re new is to ask them if you can also be involved when they’re training; the very best Trainers will ask you to do this naturally anyhow. I’ve been lucky enough to have worked with some amazing Trainers in my career, and they were hugely influential in making me the Trainer I am today. Conversely, I’ve also witnessed plenty of things from other Trainers I was determined not to emulate in my Training!
Work with someone independently 1:1 – For some people, this might be a preferred option due to their preference for learning or their circumstance. For example, sometimes as the only Trainer in an Organisation or Business, how do you get that support and guidance to improve if there is no-one to help and you might prefer this rather than attending another course. It could also perhaps be that you work with other Trainers, but you feel like you’d like to work on things away from the workplace for your own reasons.
Of course, the ‘path’ is never linear; you may use all of these throughout your journey as a Trainer. Whichever you do choose the only way you will become the best Trainer you can be, is never to stop developing, which then ensures the people you Train get the very best learning experience.
Scott Fraser is a Master Trainer at Target Training and delivers our PTT Train the Trainer courses and our Advanced PTT Train the Trainer courses. You can read more about him here.