Training the Trainers

Why it’s so terrifying to train the vets

How old you look is a very tricky ‘tell’ in the training industry. You don’t believe me? Well try walking into a room where you’re the youngest there expected to deliver training on a technology every else is a veteran in. Yeah, it’s scarier than it sounds.

I can say without a doubt I’m a confident guy. Training, nailed it. Certificates, stacked em up. Trainees, in the thousands and counting. But when it comes to veterans of the trade getting trained, I tend to buckle at the knees the first couple of minutes.

I kept wondering why I felt so self-conscious around more seasoned trainees. I had the experience, read the books, prepared like my life depended on it and had a tried and trusted technique in almost every topic I tackled. Then it hit me, they didn’t believe me.

I didn’t realize it at first, but it gradually started making sense. Let me explain why.

To be a trainer you’re expected to add value to your audience’s knowledge base in a specific domain. As we like to dub it in the company I work for, ‘Professionally & Enjoyably’. But when it comes to colleagues with more years to show for, you just can’t pull credibility off the shelf, you need to earn it. And that’s where everything goes wrong.

By trying to earn it most trainers start to show off their knowledge base in 500 different domains losing sight of the objective of the course, which is to address the audience with what they came in to learn, ‘Professionally & Enjoyably’. Well professionally can be waived at times as well.

So instead of reading your classes facial expressions for acceptance gestures and signs of trust and interest after reciting your entire career after the ‘Welcome to this course’ slide. Just ask them about themselves, and show that you understand who they are and what they want. And simply deliver.

I haven’t found a more profound method of training than that. Once your trainees realize you’re not there to get paid, but to share whatever you have accumulated during the short period you’ve been roaming the planet, they’ll either accept you have answers to their questions, or you don’t. But they’ll know you care, and will do whatever you can to help them learn as much as your brief encounter permits you to.

And that my friends and colleagues, is how you Train the Trainers.



Ahmad AlShagraاحمد الشكرة

انسان، مهتم بالواقع وتحسينه بالتعليم. مسلم، عربي، عراقي