This is part 2 of a 3-part series on the characteristics of successful trainers. In the first part of this series we saw that successful trainers:
- Have clear objectives
- Have a purpose that drives them
- Pay close attention to learner feedback
- Have an attitude of success
- Expect their learners to succeed
- Have a sense of humor
Continuing on, we see:
7. Successful trainers give feedback during the training
Earlier we saw that successful trainers pay attention to feedback coming from the learners. It is just as important that learners get feedback from the instructor. This feedback comes in the form of:
- praise – “Good answer!” or “Hey, nice thought process”
- criticism – “nope, not right but keep thinking” or “here’s where you made a mistake”
- encouragement – “You’ve almost got it, don’t give up”
- re-teaching – “a lot of you missed this so let’s review”
- and sometimes through the actions you take rather than what you say or write – body language being the most obvious
Humans seem to have an innate need to know where they stand, how they are doing, even what others think of them. Providing feedback helps meet this need, guides the learning, and keeps learners engaged. In a self-directed training set, incorporate the feedback into the work wherever possible through walk-through exercises , review questions with explanations for right and wrong answers, and reinforcing key points.
8. Successful trainers are not consistent
Successful trainers “change the scene” regularly by incorporating other methodologies like multimedia usage, group discussions, Q&A, heck-even stretching. Anything that jumps the mind onto a new path. My personal goal is to change the scene no less often than every 15 minutes.
9. Successful trainers are reflective
Earlier I wrote about noting learner feedback – that makes up a portion of the whole that is #9. Feedback helps trainers to gauge student perceptions of the training. But the successful trainer should also self-analyze. This self-analysis shouldn’t just be a big picture question like “how did I do today?” The successful trainer should look at their performance, materials, abilities, knowledge, and skill sets. By identifying their strengths (and reinforcing them) and weaknesses (and working to correct them) they will greatly improve their ability to guide learning.
10. Successful trainers seek out a mentor
Self analysis only takes you to a certain point. To move beyond that, you need outside advice and critique . Most successful trainers I know have a group of colleagues around them whose word they implicitly trust. These colleagues share with each other to get feedback and improve. As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.
11. Successful trainers communicate with their learners before the training
What do the learners think they need to get out of the training? Where do they see their knowledge is lacking? The most formal way to do this is via a pre-training assessment, but often a quick call or email to a few people who will be attending is sufficient. This foreknowledge can shape how the training is actually delivered and may lead to dramatic expansion or contraction of material in some areas based on the group’s knowledge and needs.
12. Successful trainers enjoy…