The before and after is [apparently] better than the during

Ooh, the anticipation, the excitement, maybe a bit of work before you’re in the perfect position.  Then the afterglow, the weary-but-happy face, maybe you tried a few new things and they turned out well.  Better than well in fact.  Maybe you then needed to go home, but come back the next day with one of those swaggers on your chops ready to take the world on.

Sound familiar?  Maybe in um, certain parts of your life but can we genuinely be talking about attending a training course here?  Yup.  But not just the standard 2-day workshop, couple of days out of the office, come back and dive straight back into where you left off.

There’s been some worrying stats flying around, about how companies could be wasting around 70% of training spend, simply on the fact that delegates don’t use what they’ve learned back in the workplace.  The key thing is, though, it’s not their fault.  It’s a shared responsibility between the trainer and the client to ensure they have the best possible chance to utilise their new skills in the workplace for the benefit of the business.

So we’ve done a lot of research over the Spring and Summer months to delve into how we can be more effective as trainers.  And, after much searching and compiling, we believe we’ve found the right recipe of techniques and collaboration that will greatly enhance both remembering content of workshops and the application of it in day-to-day work.

The conclusions we’ve come to are based on published stuff already out there.  We’ve simply brought it together and added our own tuppence worth to the concept.  In short:

  • Training starts way before the workshop, with motivations being uncovered, ideal destination set and public commitment [usually to a line manager, but may include others] put in writing
  • Line managers commit to supporting the delegate both before and after the workshop, and giving them the environment to apply their skills
  • The actual workshop itself is lower in content and higher in trying skills out, reflection and planning next actions
  • The delegates commit to trying some of their skills straight after the workshop, through pre-arranging a meeting, conversation or action that needs to be done.
  • The line manager commits to a review within a couple of days with the delegate, challenging to state how they are going to change the way they work.  And set input [not output] objectives
  • We, as the trainers support the delegates through reminders and situational quizzes and a review further down the line

Now these are all fantastic elements of a more programmatic approach to training.  But for me, the most important thing I took away, when not even doing the research but having a session with a physio, is the positioning of training.  When I got to that session I was thinking ‘after these 2 hours I’ll be sorted’.  But he said, at the end of the session so I’d remember it, that it was the start of the journey.  Even though I learned a lot in those two hours, the fact that he said that actually made it more exciting for me, and took away the ‘well if I don’t sort myself out in these two hours, then I’ll have failed and will give up trying’.  It’s now been six weeks since that session and I committed to following his advice, and have seen big improvements.

This approach takes commitment from both sides, but if you both want something badly enough, can see what the destination looks like and are motivated by it, then the process actually becomes just as, if not more, motivating than the goal.  A bit like foreplay.  Apparently.



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