I was delivering training recently when one of the delegates said to me he was on the course because I said he should do it!  When I asked further, he told me in a blog I mentioned about the fact that training managers, if they want to be effective, should really know how to train people.

I believe this is true.  Realistically, how can you manage a group of trainers if you don’t know how to train yourself.  I would argue that you have to have a degree of competence in areas you are managing. Not necessarily to a high level, but an awareness of what is required, so you know if people are doing a great job.

The manager said he learnt a significant amount on the course, it made him realise several things but mainly:

Understanding what’s required – ultimately, the manager should be observing and monitoring trainers.  To do this effectively, they need to know what they are looking for and to do this, they need to be competent in those areas themselves.

Credibility – to be able to manage a group of trainers and to be thought of in a positive light by the individuals you manage, you have to have gone through what they have. I know for a fact many managers avoid doing courses for all sorts of reasons, but you have to for credibility with staff.

Workload understanding – the manager stated to me that he now has a better understanding of their workload and precisely how much time it takes to do things.  Previously with no experience or real understanding, it is easy just to ask questions such as why it takes you so long to complete a task.

I regard this as effective management; if you’re managing staff, then you surely have to be aware of what they do.  Of course, I also understand that you can also manage a process without really understanding.  Remember though this mindset is process management and not people management.  To understand and manage people in their job, you must have experience in it yourself.

Ralph Moody is the founder of Target Training and specialises in trainer and management development.  You can read more about him here.