Wednesday, January 9, 2013

who should do your training?

Now that we have an idea of what we need to teach - let's talk a little more about who is going to do the teaching.  As I said before - just because someone is good at a job doesn't mean they will be good at teaching others to do that job.  Training requires not only knowledge but patience and a desire and ability to adapt to your students/trainees.

I used to have a manager working for me who was thought of as one of the best trainers in our company. She was a trainer for the company before I started working there.  She was a good trainer. The problem was that she was what I will call an Alpha Female. If you aren't sure what I mean by that - or would just like to read the Urban Dictionary meaning - click here.  Due to this behavior - she had a very hard time working with other women. If you had another Alpha Female manager as a trainee - she wouldn't make it training with this RGM.  She also got to the point that she wouldn't adapt to different personalities in her trainees.  A good trainer has to be able to take a step back and talk to the trainee when they just aren't getting it.  Anyone here been watching The Biggest Loser this year?  I watched it years ago and since you already know that I don't like reality TV - you probably will be surprised to find out that I decided to watch it this year.  I guess it was for the same reason many people are watching it...we are fat and need to lose weight and what better time to make a commitment to a healthier lifestyle than in January?  Anyway...the reason I mention this is that the one trainer - Jillian Michaels  is very tough on her people. She is mean to them and yells and makes them feel bad about their performance - or lack thereof.  The thing is - when she realized that her hard as nails - no-holds-barred way of talking to her team was not inspiring them...it was making them want to quit. All people don't respond to that kind of instruction. She didn't give up on them, she sat down and talked to them and asked them what they needed from her. Of course - even after she agreed to adjust her methods - she asked for full commitment from them.  The reason I am sharing this with you is because the same thing goes when you are training a person to do a job. If you use one method and they don't get it - change your perspective and method. If they don't get it after you have come at it every way you can think of - they just might not be cut out for the job - but at least you have given them every opportunity to succeed.  The manager I was discussing above got to the point that she couldn't do that. She felt her way was right and if the trainee didn't understand or pick up on the way to do the task she would just tell me "They aren't 'sharp'"  She always used that term - sharp...I knew what she meant by it, but it wasn't that they weren't smart - it was that they weren't learning up to her standards.  Since they weren't living up to her expectations and she believed that she was always right and perfect - she refused to change her way of training.  She even said that to me once right before she left the company. "It isn't my job to change to meet their needs."  I was shocked - so shocked that I can't even remember if I told her that she was wrong. I knew she was on her way out the door so it just wasn't worth it at that point.

Okay - so how do you choose a trainer?  Find someone who is a natural at it.  Someone who does everything to the right standard using any tools that you have available. Someone who is patient and who works well with others. Someone is is well liked by the rest of the team.  A natural leader. Someone who might even be a manager for you someday - after they get a bit more experience.  Then - and this is important - ask them if they would like to be a trainer. If they don't want to do it - they probably won't be good at it.  If talking them into it is like pulling teeth - they probably won't be good at it.

Pick your trainer or trainers - and if you don't have someone who fits the bill - start looking for that person when you interview employees.

Training is not a one - time event - it is an ongoing journey...Learn it...Live it...Pass it on!

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