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How to manage external trainers


I have recently had 3 instances of below standard delivery from external training providers that I have used for the first time. Does anyone have any recommendations on how to evaulate the quality of delivery of a trainer beforehand and how to ensure the programme meets the training need?
Leslie Matthews

10 Responses

  1. References and assessment
    Take up references from previous clients and determine what was delivered and the actual business impact of that delivery is a good place to start.

    Also you could try running an in house assessment on the trainer for an hour or two before engaging them.

    And finally insist on a veto of training materials etc. and check them prior to the event taking place.

    You won’t win every time – bad ones will still slip through the net occasionally – but it should be fewer and further between.

  2. manage external trainers
    This is and will always be a difficult call.

    Using personal recommendations is a good way of going forwards. seeing them ‘train’ as part of the sales process is good too – BUT as an indpendant trainer I will not want to do much for free. In the past I did a free 2 hour session on managing change, and did not get the contract. I found out later that the internal training team took my materials and were using the content themselves!

    So this needs to be a sensible business transaction.

    Culture of the trainer & your own organisation are important. What works well (i.e. good quality training) may not work well in another.

    Equally consider the type of trainers you are looking to bring in- if they claim to deliver all topics I would wonder about their capability.

    What also helps is to ensure that the required standard, style, outputs etc are agreed up front.

    Difficult I know. When I was a training manager I would only use trainers that I had seen in action or come recommended by a trusted colleague.

    Even an ebay style star system (if it existed) would not work – again culture and style sre key and it is a very personal thing!

    happy to share my experiences off line if you think it will help.


  3. Training Quality

    I agree with Nik and Mike. It is also important to know which trainer your are going to get. For many small training providers the owner is the sole trainer so you may have aa good opportunity assess them before hand. If however you are dealing with a large company and/or contract there could be numerous trainers who are supplied to deliver maybe based partly on their availability.

    As mike suggests always try and get a specilaist for the subject.

    Happy to discuss further off line.

    Good luck next time.


    Good luck

  4. Personal recommendations and ‘fit’
    Hi Leslie –

    I agree with all the comments so far. There’s nothing like a personal recommendation but at the end of the day as well as knowing their stuff it’s vital that the external consultant is a good ‘fit’ with the organisation.

    Having been both sides of the fence, as it were, both hiring external trainers when I worked in corporate life and being an external provider, I think that it’s reasonable to ask the trainer to come in to a meeting and walk you through the material and their approach. This way hopefully a better match can be made.

    As your other correspondents have said, occasionally things won’t turn out as you’d wish but I guess this will lessen the likelihood.

    If you’re going for a large provider, insist on meeting the deliverer first.

    Good luck!

    best wishes

    Andie Hemming

  5. Use output evaluation ‘scores’ as part of the contract
    One option would be to build in some agreement about level of evaluation ‘scores’ linked to their final payment.

    If you’re not happy, as with any goods and services – don’t pay [the full amount].

    Discuss a discount or a free return visit… remind the trainer of the huge networks of other trainers you have in your contacts and that a good trainer gets their details passed round!

  6. Action
    Recommendation is great, but not always practical. It’s good to go and visit the training company, rather than them always visiting you, that way you’ll get a feel for who you’re dealing with. Spend some time if possible talking to someone who can understand your business and your people and so match the trainer to your needs. If possible go see a training programme being delivered by the external provider.

    Good luck

  7. Trainers
    Very good advice so far. And when you want specialist trainers ask on this site. We will all recommend high quality people to you


  8. Objectives?
    Some of the best advice I was given for managing external trainers was to give them very clear objectives which had to be accomplished for a contractto be deemed as delivered to an acceptable standard. A great web site for how training objectives might be written can be found here:

  9. references and evaluations
    Hi Leslie

    All of the points made are all valid.

    As we source training for clients we continually evaluate courses by asking for the evals (or happy sheets) that delegates complete on the course, as well as following up with the delegate 6 weeks after. Obviously this only reveals results after the course but you can ask providers for their average scores of the course before booking it.

    In addition, if our clients are not happy with the course they receive then the providers will offer another date or discount.

    Do the delegates look at the course outline before attending and are they aware of what the course aims are for? This is very important as not everyone does this and this may be a cause of why the feedback is negative.

    When you are looking at external training providers I would be more than happy to advise on their reputation etc or answer any questions direct.


  10. Arian Associates Ltd
    As the provider of, what we consider to be, high quality training we are happy to disclose our client portfolio to prospective clients.
    In addition we provide a simple style ‘Quality Report’ on programme completion, which includes an analysis of the evaluation sheets with copies attached. The report also highlights whether we feel we have achieved our own high standards and the client’s objectives.

    It works for us and a request for something similar from your suppliers might assist in selecting the right trainer for you.

    If you would like to see a sample version of our ‘Quality Report’ drop us an email and we will reply with a copy :-


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