Training the Trainer: 5 Basics
At Say Leadership Coaching (SLC) we concentrate our efforts on just that which our name implies; coaching the leadership in companies to reach their greater potential. Executives are but one group we work with; there are leaders at every level of a company’s official org chart, and we find that titles can be irrelevant when it comes to discovering leadership talent.
Once we discover leadership talent, one of our objectives is to get that person more “broadcast air time” in their company, so that they’ll get increasing comfortable with sharing their ideas.
In my article here last week, I stated: “All managers must be able to coach, however sometimes their best tactic in the beginning of the learning process is having someone else do the initial teaching.” This week, I’d like to offer you some suggestions on where to improve upon the training that all your managers will do in-house, and for the sake of their own credibility as managers and as emerging leaders.
Great Managers develop their own training skills and style, and in doing so, they simultaneous develop a stage presence which either adds to their credibility, or will unfortunately detract from it. When you train, your demeanor, this ‘stage presence’ gives your audience a clear message on both your command of the subject, and your confidence. This is pretty significant when your ‘audience’ is composed entirely of your staff.
‘Train the Trainer” classes rank up there with the most frequently requested curriculum assistance our customers seek, and it’s a win-win for us both. We at SLC eventually go away; by design we help train the in-house trainers (yep, those are the Great Managers becoming Great Leaders) who will seize our Managing with Aloha
These are five basic ways you can help “Train the Trainer” in your own company;
- Deal with stage fright by giving them early wins; ask them to make presentations to staff groupings on their strengths and on what they do exceptionally well first. Allow them to feel the thrill of being the expert. A huge part of confidence-building is being able to draw on past experience when fielding questions, and unlike those mixed-audience conferences to send them to, your in-company staff will not be shy or hesitant with asking pointed questions.
- Start small and internal, then successively progress to bigger and external. Network broadcasters largely started in their home towns on the local news or morning radio show before they made it to the big time. Same strategy applies to getting emerging managers and leaders on stage in a company.
- Start a company practice which reserves the last five minutes of every presentation for immediate feedback your trainers can learn from. Hand out a one-page sheet where you ask the staff in attendance just two questions, getting their responses in writing. First, “What are the top two or three take-aways you’ve gained from this session?” Second, “Is there anything we talked about that you’d like more clarity or discussion time with in the future?” Essentially this will help the trainer see where he or she succeeded or may have fallen short with the message to be delivered. The bonus is that they can also follow-up on those expectations as managers.
- Video their presentations for them. Immediately pop out the tape and hand it to them for their own viewing later and in private; you will be amazed at what they will continually improve upon in their own performance without a word of coaching from you!
- Require your Trainers to catalog their curriculum, and journal both their process in developing it, and their own feelings in what worked for them and what didn’t. The catalog will help them continually refine their subject matter. With the journaling, they will begin to see patterns in when they achieve flow in presenting, and when they don’t. Some people need extensive facilitation guides to help them, others do best ad-libbing to the right set of 3×5 index cards which trigger their story-telling style. There is presenting style akin to the existence of ‘management style’ and they will discover what training techniques work for them and which don’t.
A sixth, bonus suggestion for you; Get all your Trainers together in mastermind groupings which meet on a regular basis. Have them assemble with those curriculum catalogs (think of these as the intellectual property you share!) and personal presentation journals to share their lessons learned, and gain support and new ideas from each other. Partner with your local Toastmasters/Toastmistress chapter so your Trainers continually learn from others, and can practice in another forum.
By the way, you can use these same tips for every person who conducts meetings, for after all, meetings are just another kind of ‘presentation,’ and if you treat them as a class, everyone will leave the meeting feeling they learned something and didn’t just waste their time.
Rosa Say is the author of Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawaii’s Universal Values to the Art of Business. She fervently believes that work can inspire, and that great managers and leaders can change our lives for the better. Her index of past articles written for Lifehack.org can be found in the left column of this page. You can also visit her on www.managingwithaloha.com.
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