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Seb Anthony

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developing my trainer


I have a trainer, an ex construction plant operator, who has been selected and promoted to the role of trainer. He is very good at his main task, training people to operate piling rigs and dumpers, etc. but not so good in other ways. Poor paperwork, no presence, not assertive enough on site, and most definitely has misguided ideas about his prospective development. I have tried having him shadow me to "learn the ropes" but it doesn't seem to be paying off.
Does anyone have any ideas of how I can develop him to get the potential out of him, or of any courses we can send him on?

Kim Richards

4 Responses

  1. Prince’s Trust
    Have you considered thier attending ‘The Prince’s Trust’ as a volunteer team leader.

    This programme is an excellent management development programme for those with little / no experience or requiring a bit of a ‘pick-up’.

    They are a registered charity so it is good for them too!


  2. Right person–wrong job?

    Am I correct in assuming…

    1. Your trainer was selected for his current responsibilities on the strength of his technical skills and (potential) ability to transfer these to others?

    2. That you can’t live with the current state?

    3. That you believe the benefits of ‘developing him to get the potential out of him’ are worth the costs?

    4. If these assumptions are accurate, have you considered the extent to which organizational, systemic or any number of other barriers may be affecting this person’s perfomance?

    a. Does he have adequate time, authority and resources to do what’s expected?

    b. If he has the ‘assertiveness’ and ‘presence’ to perform training tasks effectively, why might he be having these problems in other contexts?

    c. Why do you believe this adult, entrusted with important training responsibilities by your organization, ‘has misguided ideas about his prospective development’?

    If you’ve considered these issues and have concluded it’s a matter of individual performance…

    5. Does your trainer understand what’s expected? How does he know how he’s doing? Does he get regular, timely and specific feedback which builds on his strengths as well as highlighting areas for improvement?

    a. If he doesn’t understand what’s expected, clarify expectations and agree goals.

    b. If he does, let him know you value his contribution, then help him to redirect his performance in other areas.

    6. Is he actually capable of performing administrative tasks? Does he know what to do, how to do it, and why it’s important?

    a. If he ‘can’t do’, consider streamlining or relaxing documentation requirements where it’s appropriate, job aids, or other options for extra help and support.

    b. If he *doesn’t* know how, train him. If he *does* know how, coach him. Consider how proactive and structured ‘shadowing’ activities have been in helping him see why it matters to perform as expected.

    7. If he still ‘can’t do’ or ‘won’t do’ after you’ve done what you can to help him do a better job, consider helping him find another job. Maybe the training role isn’t right for him. Consider it a lesson learned for the next selection process. If documentation, assertiveness, presence and mutually agreeable perspectives on ongoing development are important, consider how the selection process will consider these attributes ‘next time’.

    Finally, if you visit the resources menu at:

    You’ll find a free trainer self-assessment and coaching tool that may be helpful in supporting your trainer’s development.

    I realise you may have already considered a number of these points. Perhaps one or two will be useful in helping to resolve the performance issues you’ve identified. If you wish, please feel free to contact me to discuss this in detail.


    Scott G. Welch

  3. Using others
    One option may be to ask him to get feedback from peers and Managers on key competency areas such as team working, assertiveness, leadership, work standards

    The feedback could be anonymous if that helps. This would take the emphasis away from just your opinion.

    A self-assessment using the same criteria may work too as people are generally harder on themselves.

    I hope that helps



  4. courses
    Might I suggest the Learning and Development NVQ Level 3 award or the “Train the trainer” certificate that is offered by some companies. These would enable him to develop the all-round skills he needs as he would have to plan, develop and run his own training sessions, which might help with his assertiveness as he would be observed in the delivery of his sessions. Hope this helps


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