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Lyn Hartman

Tim Neale Associates

Training & Broadcasting consultant, trainer

Read more from Lyn Hartman

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How did I do today?


I run Training the Trainer courses and one of my participants asked me for my recipe to manage "personal uncertainty as a trainer".  He is a very experienced journalist who will be training occasionally so it may take time for his confidence and skill levels to develop.  He has the potential to be a very good trainer.  He lives and works in Azerbaijan and will be working alone.  I am meeting him on Wednesday for some update training.  Any tips for how you deal with those days when you're not sure the training went well and you sit in your hotel room getting more and more morose?

Thanks.  Lyn Hartman

6 Responses

  1. for what it’s worth….

    Hi Lyn

    notwithstanding Steve Robson’s comments about continual feedback which I agree with wholeheartedly


    regardless of the level of evaluation the client or I am going to do I always ask one simple question:

    "Tomorrow you will return to a groaning in tray of stuff that you haven’t dealt with because you’ve been here, bearing that in mind, has today (or the past x days) been worth it?"

    Then you have to look and listen to judge the actual value based not only on what people say but how quickly and how energetically it is said by each delegate.  On longer courses I ask this question at the end of each day and if I guage the reaction to be less than ecstatic I investigate ways to improve tomorrow.

    That helps me to feel that I have earned my pay and can be reasonably confident that the formal evaluation is more likely to be positive.



  2. The reflective practitioner

    Hi Lyn

    May I suggest the reflective preactitioner model (Schon; Boud; Gibbs et al.)  I’ve cut & pasted a very brief overview of Gibbs below, this exercise can be done individually or as part of a coaching session and focuses not only on the "happy sheets" but looks at personal perspective too.  Hope this helps


    Gibbs identified a series of 6 steps to aid reflective practice, these elements make up a cycle that can be applied over and over.
    Description – what happened ?
    Feelings – what were you thinking and feeling ?
    Evaluation – what was good and bad about the experience ?
    Analysis – what sense can you make of the situation ?
    Conclusion – what else could you have done ?
    Action plan – what will you do next time ?
    Unlike many other models (with the exception of Boud) Gibbs takes in to account the realm of feelings and emotions which played a part in a particular event.


  3. Personal uncertainty

    — I help improve people’s creative and flexible thinking skills – so they can achieve more with less, spot opportunities better, and generate great ideas – and help them spread their ideas better

    In times of uncertainty I conjure up in my mind a role model suitable for the situation.

    My general role model is a fictional character; the lieutenant character played by Tom Hanks in Speilberg’s film ‘Saving Private Ryan’ and I mentally ask: "What would he do here, or how would he respond to this situation?"

    A great tool for new insights, fresh energy and vigour – and to get you bouncing back!

  4. managing personal uncertainty as a trainer

    Hi Lyn,

    Having virtually lead teams of L & D specialists I would recommend that a mentor or coach to provide the support your guy is looking for. Finding someone he respects and trusts who can provide the support for him when he is running his programmes. They can contract as to how often they talk/meet – ideally in the initial stages whilst he is still building his confidence this will be more frequent – perhaps a phone call on the morning before the programme starts for the day and then again at the end of each day of the programme. A good coach/mentor even over the phone will be able to sense what is not being said, to measure confidence levels and provide the appropriate support.

    A trainer’s life can be lonely however it can be the most fulfilling and rewarding job you can ever do. Good Luck.




  5. personal uncertainty

    First of all he’s a brave man and needs to remind himself of that.  We have a tendency in most situations to obsess about the bits, the one bit, that wasn’t the way we wanted.  He needs to learn to pick out the good bits and tell himself Well done, before thinking about what might have gone differently/better.  Tough self-discipline and persistence will be needed, but if he’s a good trainer he already knows that you give aapproval before you give criticism.  We need to apply the same rule to ourselves.  Good luck!  Annie FS

  6. review your good bits

    This is something that may come with experience but the more training you deliver the more evidence you’ll be able to collect on how effective you are.

    I’ve found that regular reflection on what I’ve done previously (not just the last thing I delivered) helps me to gain perspective. If I have a bad day at the office I then look at  what I should learn from these experiences and work out how to apply them in the future. I only do this though because I love what I do (I don’t think I could do anything else!) and so always want to be learning. 

    In summary you should be your own best learner. You should be looking to gain insight from every training/L&D experience you deal with and turn them into something positive. If you don’t, then don’t expect your delegates to do so.

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Lyn Hartman

Training & Broadcasting consultant, trainer

Read more from Lyn Hartman

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