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‘Beyond Traditional Training’ by Ken Marshall


Beyond Traditional Training
by Ken Marshall
Kogan Page, 1999
Paperback, 211 pages, £18.99
ISBN 0 7494 3028 1

This book is described by the author as designed for training practitioners, internal or external, as a self-development guide, to upgrade current thinking and training habits and methods. The material is based on the author’s three-day SMART TRAINER workshop and has a principal objective of helping this range of trainers to transform their training in just a few days – however good the trainers rate themselves now or are rated by others. This is a substantial claim and I have my doubts whether it would be achieved from the book with experienced trainers. New and inexperienced trainers will, however, find it an uplifting experience that might encourage them to approach their development with added commitment.

The book is set out in three parts – Laying your foundation on solid ground; Look, listen and learn; and Putting it all into practice. Each part has four chapters that relate to ‘high impact sessions’ – for example, part one includes Self-perception versus reality; Upgrading your mental software; Critical questions for a SMART trainer (Skilful, Mastery [of skills and attitudes], Adroit, Ready [to act at a moment’s notice] and Transfer [from trainer to students]); and Preparing the foundations of your action plan.

Each chapter starts with the objectives for the chapter and ends with a summary of the key factors described, the text in between covering a wide range of training advice, bullet list, activities to perform as a self-developer, key lists, and questionnaires such as the ‘Personal Effectiveness Quotient’. I saw the principal strength of the book in the way the text was written – an easy, clear, racy style in which it is easy to visualise the author talking to you through his written words. My one objection to the text format (and I am sure I would have the same objection if it was said on the course) was the constant repetition to the ‘SMART TRAINER’.

There is nothing new in the book’s material, its strength lying in the obvious enthusiasm with what is presented and the intention to imbue the trainer-reader with a similar enthusiasm to improve. The enthusiasm is very infectious. As the author says ‘Nothing is new in training; only the angle from which it is approached’, a worthy truism. Worth reading, particularly from the point of view of the new/relatively inexperienced trainer.

Leslie Rae
December 1999


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