After reading an article I wrote on Training Trainers Before Training Others, a CEO of a manufacturing company emailed me about a training program they were about to launch to help contractors sell their products. He stopped for a second and thought it would be wise to contact me to assess their readiness for training.
After speaking with him, the assigned instructional designer and tapped trainer, I returned a quick assessment of their pluses and what I would recommend they do to ensure success. I call this a “Quick Physical” and I don’t even charge for this procedure.
Because this company has less than 30 employees, they do not have a formal or even informal training department. Yet I applauded this CEO for taking a pause in his day to assess if he is going in the right direction.
How often would you take advantage of a Quick Physical if it was free?
Anybody that hates going to the doctor or dentist has at one time made the statement of “will it hurt” before a procedure. When I wrote The Training Physical I compared on purpose the connection between the auditing process of a training department with the human physical, yet I was not prepared when a potential client asked me “will it hurt?”
I started to laugh to myself, but since I was talking to a training manager (the potential patient) I realized she was worried about the diagnosis. If things were really bad, then would she lose her job?
Although I cannot prevent management from terminating any non-performing unit or employee, I do go out of my way to discourage the use of a training physical for the documentation to close down a department. That is not the purpose of the activity, and it is a waste of everybody’s time.
Should I determine that the purpose of a training physical is anything other than for process improvement, then I decline the project. That in itself usually sends a clear enough message that this is not the purpose of the audit. It is just amazing how talk only gets us so far, and the walk is what gets people’s attention!
A good portion of The Training Physical is about the need to develop training skills in your trainers if you want them to be successful at training others in your company. I have written a few articles on the subject, and to my surprise I’ve been getting a lot of email from all over the country looking for advice on improving trainer skills.
It would seem that an awful lot of people find themselves in the trainer role whether they like it or not. Because they are a subject matter expert, they get the extra responsibility of training new hires. Management is amazed when this doesn’t yield results.
I think I had been a trainer in a bank for a year, when my manager commented that I was no longer in the banking industry as much as I was in the learning development industry and that it was vital to my new career that I learn the back office of my job. There was a lot to learn, but most of it over the past 20 years involved practicing the skills.
There is a science to learning how to effectively facilitate a group training event, and even if you are good at stand up training, there is another whole set of skills if you want to delivery engaging webinar training. Trainers, Instructional Designers and Training Managers must learn the Learning Development industry in addition to the industry they support.
So how have you learned your trainer skills, and what else are you looking to learn to remain competent?
This is my first attempt at running my own blog, but I have been getting a lot of requests for on going commentary about the Training Physical process and how it can work. So as I get the hang of this, I’m sure I will have lots to say, and I look forward to other points of view!