Although the title may seem to be misleading, it really isn’t. I am talking about training leaders and leaders training trainers throughout. I received a comment where I think I was totally misunderstood, and I certainly bear some responsibility for not being clear. When I responded to the comment, I like my response almost as much as the article. Sometimes our own comments in response to a comment made about something we said surprise us. And, sometimes we like our response. I like this one in response to a comment on The Anatomy of a Trainer. Hope you do, too. It’s short and sweet:
I think you misunderstood my basic premise. Sorry that it has taken me so long to get to this.
For the most part, I am saying that trainers can be or come from anywhere in the organization. We are not all created equal.
I do not always agree a subject matter expert (SME) is the best choice of a trainer. Having an SME standing by to answer questions and clarify points and using the trainer more as a facilitator works best. If the SME is not a good communicator, he or she is likely to give too much information and literally gag the audience.
I did start out my piece by using the same places where leadership may be found–the idea being that trainers are often found that way, too, and may often exhibit leadership qualities, and they should demonstrate those qualities in the classroom, in developing their training. In fact, I have written pieces that encourage trainers to be leaders in their organization, to take initiative, to motivate employees, to advise the boss; after all, the trainer represents the boss, the very image of boss’ vision, every time he or she stands in front to train. The trainer may have been someone who emerged as a leader in a short time with the company. Maybe he or she is too young and to new to suddenly promote to vice-president. Instead, training is a good place for his or her talents and leadership. Aside. Sometimes they go to public relations or marketing. Also, good positions.
Now, I have students who would agree with you about online learning and preferring to train themselves rather than being in a classroom. That depends on so many variables. How devoted the student is to learning. How good the program is. What about retention? Is the program memorable enough over time?
Some subjects where little has to be retained and is of minor interest (usually box-checking) are perfect for a packaged program, and we’ve had them for years in one shape or another. If the online learning involves you actually performing the task you are learning, then it is beneficial. Again, we have to talk about retention.
Bad classroom training gets old quickly; good classroom training, which is dynamically presented and involves the trainees in various tasks, can actually be fun.
The major point to take away is: not every training session has to conform to any particular form except that which best suits the subject you are training about. Something to think about. Trainers teach leadership. Can leaders teach training? Training leaders and trainers to lead works best. Or, trainers to train trainers. In my humble opinion. Happy training.