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Group Dynamics


What does everyone out there in AnyAnswers land think about the effect on the group dynamic of changing trainers halfway through a 2 day course?
Paul Brookes

8 Responses

  1. Changing trainers –
    Hi Paul

    Well I guess it depends what you want to achieve or the operational challenges of the organisation (custore or supplier)

    Generally speaking I would not do this as you will lose flow .

    Mike Morrison

  2. Not so sure any more
    I used to be in favour of doubling up with 2 trainers for a lot of good reasons. However in more recent sessions I’ve alos found that both trainers need to be very much in sync with each other and giving the same consistent messages. Delegates are at a delicate stage in their learing processes and if they hear the same thing presented with different messages this can confuse them.

    So I guess – yes, but be sure it’s going to work and you both work together in the preperation, not just on your own parts.

  3. Thanks for all the comments received so far.
    To clarify the situation. I’m talking about totally changing the trainer halfway through the course, not co-delivering.

  4. changing trainers
    Paul I understand – if business needs must then yes – if by choice – no!

    good luck

  5. Not necessarily a bad thing…
    I co-deliver management and leadership development programmes for the P&O Ports Institute. The programmes are at least 1 week residential, with each day being long and sometimes intense. We use as many as 4 facilitators through ach programme, so with us just for the first day or 2. We used to have just one facilitator.

    What are the implications?

    Well, I agree that the facilitators need to be in sync, sure, with each other, but more so in terms of the message.

    A different voice, mannerisms, spin etc, can be cnfusing but this, in my experience, is not because more than 1 facilitator is being used, but that the learning experience as a whole is not focused on the learner, but on making sure that each slide in the powerpoint is at least displayed.

    Equally, these differences help trigger questions that lead to deeper understanding, for example when somebody seeks to clarify and reconcile what different facilitators have said or implied.

    I would suggest thought be given to CREATING a learning experience for the delegates, and less be given to the CONSUMPTION of material such as powerpoint slides.

    Good luck,


  6. My views on this
    In my opinion, any effect on group dynamics would partly depend on whether this was expected and planned, or unexpected and unplanned.

    If expected and planned, the trainees would probably know in advance if the pre-training information stated that the trainer on day 2 would be different from the trainer on day 1. Presumably the rationale for this change would be explained during the introduction. It might be due to availability or to different areas of expertise. In this case there might be little or no negative effect on group dynamics; it could even have a positive effect.

    If unexpected and unplanned, and the original intention was to have the same trainer for both days, but it only became known during day 1 that a different trainer would have to be used for day 2, then this could have a greater effect on group dynamics. It would partly depend on the circumstances, the reason for the sudden change and how it is managed, whether the effect on the group was positive, negative or neutral. If the unexpected change is managed well, and the trainer for day 2 is competent to deliver the training and doesn’t repeat or contradict the trainer on day 1, that would go a long way in ensuring a smooth transition.

  7. Yes and No

    I agree with most of the comments submitted. It does depend entirely on how well the message is delivered consistently. Any disparity at all and the delegates will end up playing “test the trainer” to see how different the messages are and this will lead them to completely devaluing the course content. If the trainers can’t even agree – what’s the point?

    However, if the message is consistent and well delivered by the trainers then this can be a positive. It can be a refreshing break to hear a different voice and a change of trainer can inject new enthusiasm into the group if the change is handled well.

    I have ran a training team where the courses ran for up to 6 weeks and I constantly had to juggle trainer availability and schedule more than 1 trainer to a course – sometimes in a worst case scenario it could be a different trainer each week!

    I made sure that each course was well defined so that each trainer knew exactly what to cover at each part. All the trainers worked on the material as a team so that they were all equally confident with it and were agreed on the content/message. The trainers used a formal “handover” approach so that they could update the next trainer on what had been covered, what was still to be covered, how the group had reacted to certain key learning points, what they were doing well in, what they may be struggling with and need more emphasis on etc. This supported a more seamless changeover for the group as the next trainer could then talk to the group in a way that made them feel that they were the focus rather than a simple “this is where we should be at according to the notes so this is what I will cover” approach.


  8. You can never tell!
    Hi Paul,
    I think there is a lot of sense in previous responses. I have attended and delivered courses where trainer was changed part way through. My experiences were mixed. On one particular occasion I was very pleased as the quality of the first trainer left a lot to be desired! The second was very good. I think it may be worthwhile considering the planning of the topic. If the course can be broken down into modules, whilst there will be some cross over, it lends itself to changing trainers more easily. Such a plan helps separate the topics in the delegates minds. I think if oyu do it some delegates will think it worked and others may not be so positive but if it can be incorporated at a “natural” place then I do not see that you can do great harm!
    If you have no choice then you have to do it anyway but planning the course with it in mind may help the outcome.

    Good luck



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