training blog - 5 great tips to get out of that training ‘rut’
In my previous career, I had to assure training to make sure what was being delivered was fit for purpose. This meant I was lucky enough to see lots of different trainers deliver lots of different lessons, but it also meant I got to see things I didn’t expect or want to see…
When we deliver training, we often put so much time, effort and enthusiasm into getting things set up and running which is brilliant. I’m lucky to see this enthusiasm now on Train the Trainer courses when people leave massively enthused saying to me, “I can’t wait to get back and get started doing things the right way now I know how.” In my previous blog, I wrote about how a lot of people don’t actually train all the time with it being a secondary role which does mean focussed time on training (not just delivering it) doesn’t happen. We get ‘stuck in a rut’ and sometimes with the best of intentions or out of laziness, it becomes the easiest thing to do what we’ve always done. You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve heard those words, “But we / I’ve always done it that way” by way of an excuse as to why something isn’t fit for purpose, and I’ll admit even I used it to a long time ago when I was new to training. If you deliver training and you feel stuck in that rut, how do you get out of it? Here are some tips:
1. Listen to your audience – If you evaluate your training correctly, you’ll get some fantastic feedback from them. Asking for feedback isn’t about fulfilling ego’s, it’s about making sure that the feedback you get gives you quality so make sure you ask them questions like, “How could the training be improved?” If you don’t, this is a great opportunity missed as your audience are one of your best resources for ideas.
2. Reflect on your delivery – I can’t emphasise how vital reflection is as a trainer. This doesn’t necessarily mean hours and hours, just a few minutes to devote your mind to what you’ve done can make such a difference and even the busiest people have a few minutes a day; one of the places I’m most inspired is when I reflect in the shower every morning.
3. Don’t take the easy option – I’ve already covered above the number of times I’ve heard, “We’ve / I’ve always done it this way”. Ignorance is bliss, and I’m afraid that this won’t cut it with your managers either when you’ve got to explain to them why the feedback from your training they’re hearing is negative!
4. Devote some quality time to your training – It’s easy for people who are primarily trainers to focus all they’re time and resources to it but even for part-time trainers time must be allocated. Set some dedicated time to it and if this isn’t possible, have a conversation with your manager to make this happen. I’ve had to do this in the past telling them, “If you’d like this training to do what we need, then I’ll need more time to devote to it. If not, there’s a real risk it won’t deliver what you want.”
5. Try something different – Give some of those ideas a go and never be frightened to try something new; if we don’t then how will we ever know if it will work or not? Some of the best things I’ve delivered have been experimental that I’ve had to refine but quickly became favourites with my audience. Remember as long as you fulfil the objective; it doesn’t matter how you get there!
Like I’ve said in so many other blogs, training is precisely the same as any different process in work where we strive to improve continually; if we stand still in training like a business, then I’m afraid it's doomed for failure.
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.