What Makes a Great Trainer/Facilitator?

What Makes a Great Trainer/Facilitator?

I imagine we all have subjective opinions regarding what constitutes ‘great’ in a trainer or facilitator.  But going by our own delegates’ experiences, I have noticed whilst designing and delivering training programmes for Stratus, there are recurrent themes.  Training and Development can be costly, so it’s useful to know what to look for to get maximum return on investment.
A great Trainer/Facilitator should be:

  • An expert in their field, with practical experience, rather than having the right letters after their name (although if you can get both, nothing wrong with that!)
  • Able to empathise with their delegates, being approachable and open-minded; creating memorable skill practice sessions which allow delegates to experience rather than just listen.
  • Skilled at encouraging and motivating unwilling or under-confident delegates, creating a safe environment both physically and psychologically, where experimentation – even mistake-making – is viewed as part of the learning process.
  • Willing to ‘stretch’ delegates, making them think for themselves and take responsibility for their actions and views.  Prepared to pose intellectual challenges and open up discussion.
  • A physical presence – in January many of us will sign up to gym/dieting club memberships where we will commit to attending in person.  We have already got the DVD which we intended to do in front of the TV – or the app that we were supposed to input our weight loss. Yet the physicality of actually turning up, where there is a human presence to support us/be accountable to, always gives us the extra push.
  • Willing to edit sessions ‘on the fly’ if they prove to be failing.  Able to call on their expertise to add a more relevant module/exercise into the mix if it makes more sense, rather than sticking rigidly to a programme that is not right for those attending.
  • Therefore working with a training company that allows them the freedom and flexibility to respond to changing delegate needs, rather than the “I’m sorry but if you want the certificate, we have to plough through this piece of irrelevance” mantra.
  • Someone with the strength of character to able to lead from the front and manage the ‘classroom dynamics’ – able to cope with reluctant or confrontational delegates.  Who can spot cliques forming and break them up before they become destructive, yet who can also spot the more retiring violets and bring them out of their shells.
  • Possessed of a sense of humour!

“Gosh, where can we find such paragons?” you may be asking yourself.  Look for the training firms that are run by an experienced trainer, rather than a training marketer.  I know the training style of every one of my (small but perfectly formed) team of trainers, having often co-delivered /
designed with them.  This is not always the case; many training organisations take the view that training programmes and indeed the trainers themselves are simply commodities, like washing machines or bicycles.  If you want great trainers you need to look at the companies who see training as a quality service, not a commodity. 

Your Reaction: Maybe you agree with my choices or maybe you hold a different view?  Of course much as we would like to think – and much as we strive for – neither Stratus nor any other training company is perfect.  But if you would like to discover for yourselves what makes Stratus’ trainers worth their salt, contact us for additional information or to arrange a chat with one of the Stratus team.