All of you have experienced it at one time or another. You’ve sat in a training and watched magic happen right before your eyes. You’ve felt engaged, involved, and motivated to learn. The time sped by and when you were finished you couldn’t wait to “go and do.” Contrast that to what we usually sit through; a dry and boring monologue or demo that made you go to your happy place just to make it through. So what makes the difference between the two? Some say it is knowledge of the information, others would say it is all about delivery. I would say it comes down to neither of those. What makes the difference is the passion the trainer feels about helping you be better. When a trainer is truly passionate about helping you, you want to learn. When you know they care you become vested in your own learning because you wouldn’t want to let them down. They help you feel unafraid to explore the unknown because you know you have a friend right next to you that wants you to succeed.
As great as all this sounds, how do we encourage our trainers to be passionate? It starts with encouraging them to care about those they will train. They need to understand what issues they have, why they need what you are training about, and how they can affect their lives for good. Seem altruistic? Maybe so, but I don’t think you ever find a great trainer that doesn’t carry some kind of passion for those they train. You might find someone who can entertain you well, but they won’t have the ability to truly teach.
If what I am saying is true, you also want to be careful who you allow to be trainers in your organization. It is too common that we choose the person that has product knowledge or who is already good at what they would be training. We don’t take any thought into whether they have an empathetic bone in their body or whether they even want to care. We create training nightmares when we enlist the person that can wiz through a demo and answer any and all questions (often times with an annoyed look on their face the entire time). Trainees cannot easily relate to them and become uncomfortable even asking a question because they feel dumb. On the other side, hiring a trainer that is all about the entertainment can be even more dangerous. Your trainees may sit happily through their training but will come out more confused than when they went in. Jokes and fluff do not a good training— or trainer— make.
What does a passionate trainer really look like? To begin with, they want to understand the needs of those they train. This takes time and effort. They realize that at times they may need to go slower than they want to so they can make sure that a concept is understood. They take pride when they see positive changes made in their trainees’ lives. They feel a training is never complete until those being trained reach a level of comfort with the needed changes. Passionate trainers want to know all they can so they can make sure they can take care of their learners. They don’t want to let them down by not bringing everything they can to the table.
In essence passionate trainers are “all that,” meaning they offer more than knowledge to the equation. They bring the ability to affect real change.