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Frances Ferguson

Glasstap Ltd

Training Design Manager

Read more from Frances Ferguson

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Cool & the Gang


Every school has them, the kids who are achingly trendy & effortlessly beautiful. The 'untouchables'; everyone wants to be like them. Do they shower twice a day in a special 'cool spray' to get that cool?

How hard did you try to be like them? How much did you want to be at the centre of everything, just like them? How much did you wish that people noticed you, wanted to be like you?

Fast forward a few years, you work in training; you are an L&D professional and it matters enormously that you are liked & respected by your learners. You want the wow factor but how will you get it? What will be your USP?

I was reminded of this a few weeks ago when watching two very different trainers at work. Both run successful training businesses, both are published authors & both were running training workshops to a roomful of training professionals. One was hugely charismatic, the ultimate 'Coolspray'. The other was quiet, unassuming & probably just the wrong side of geeky in his school days.

Our first trainer was witty & entertaining. We laughed, we cried; we were glad to be in the room with him. But what was our contribution? Were we there to learn or were we there to listen & laugh on cue?

I know that I enjoyed the experience, I know his subject was 'influence', I just don't recall what he said.

So, onto the other session. Introductions complete, current understanding of the subject established, the question was asked "what do you want to get out of today?"

For the next hour we discussed, we debated, we pondered and we suggested. Our host was there to tease out the knowledge already in the room & where necessary supplement it with his own expertise and wisdom.

What was the premise of his session? It was that great training is all about finding out what people need to do, discovering what they are doing at the moment and helping them to bridge that gap (although people do insist on calling his subject Training Evaluation).

Even though I wrote my dissertation on this very subject, in the weeks since I attended the workshop I have completely revamped my training design template & updated my material. It was a great learning experience.

For me that is the power of influence. The knowledge that as trainers it is not all about us, it is the learner who should be at the centre of everything we do. It is not our journey we are there to recount, it is their journey we are there to support.

Being a geek rocks after all.

2 Responses

  1. Yes! It’s not about the trainer, it’s about the learners

    I quite agree, it’s not a stand-up show or a presentation, it’s about helping the learners to learn.

    I remember a course I tolerated in a previous job where the trainer, a senior manager rather than a professional trainer, delivered a training course which was essentially his stand-up routine. I remember feeling so frustrated that I was unable to contribute and felt like an audience member not a learner.

    That said, it’s not a stark either/or choice, you can mix styles and try to get the best of both.

  2. Great point John

    You are right, we do need to bring our personality & experience into the room with us too.

    For me, my role is to help my learners to work out a way how to do something even better in future and it is important to find the right balance to achieve that.

    All the best


Author Profile Picture
Frances Ferguson

Training Design Manager

Read more from Frances Ferguson

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