Just some of my thoughts on what makes a good trainer…

A lot of times, a person becomes a trainer on a specific subject, solely because they are the ‘subject matter expert’.  I have seen it happen time and again in different companies.  A person knows a subject completely, and therefore are assigned to train the subject to the rest of the company.  Sometimes luck plays out, and it works…but more often, the training is presented in a confusing and uncertain manner. 

1:  The trainer must be interested in the subject.  The trainer must have a general interest in the subject matter.  If a trainer is interested in the subject, they will study more on the subject, and be able to present it in a manner that shows their interest!  I am a contract-trainer with TrainND through our local college.  They present a lot of training to oil field workers.  I had the opportunity for a couple weeks to do training for them.  The problem, I have no interest in the oil field, I don’t know very much about the oil field, and therefore felt VERY incompetent presenting the training.  I was assured that noone could tell, but I could.  After a couple weeks of presenting the training, I bowed out and they found a replacement for me.

Due to my lack of interest, I didn’t do any additional research on the subject.  I was constantly nervous about being asked questions I wouldn’t know the answer to.  While I probably did get the subject matter to the trainees, my questions is, was I getting the material to them in a manner that it would ‘stick’.  Their safety when they went to a rig was in my hands, and due to my lack of interest, I didn’t feel I should be presenting it to them.

2.  The trainer should be a ‘SME’.  (Subject Matter Expert)  The trainer should know what they are training inside and out.  When I train a staff on ISP data, I myself understand how the program came to be, and where the data goes when entered by the staff member.  I know how caseloads and superroles works.  I am able to train employees in Therap on what they will be able to do and why and how…I consider myself a SME!  :-)  If I didn’t understand this the program completely, I would be constantly worried about questions I would feel inadequate to answer.

On of my greatest compliments came from one of our employees I was training.  She herself is a teacher in our public school system, and works part-time at our agency.  She left my training and went and told her supervisor how impressed she was with the training.  “Every question that was asked, he knew the answer too!  You just don’t find that very often.”

3.  Have a passion for training.  A trainer must enjoy training.  Some of the worst training I have experienced was from people who thought they enjoyed training, but were not passionate about it.  I have been to trainings where the trainer stood at the front of the room and read the ENTIRE training from a script!?  I have been in trainings where the trainer read the ENTIRE training from the powerpoint!?  My suggestion is just hand me the script or a copy of the powerpoint and I’ll read it myself.

A passionate trainer uses their notes and powerpoint to backup their training.  A dis-passionate trainer uses their voice to backup their script or their powerpoint.  That’s a good way to put a class to sleep, and have them leave without gaining any knowledge.

Now….go train!!!  :-)