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It’s better than…


Delegates often tell me that they don’t mind going on training courses because it’s better than working.  That always makes me smile because I feel the same way – which, I suppose, is partly why I became a trainer in the first place.

Joking aside, I know what they mean.  Everyone is under pressure; I’ve written before about the peculiar type of business maths that seems to prevail in some organisations and many more people seem to be victims of it.  They are having to do the work of two or three others, to cover for colleagues lost to redundancies and cutbacks.  Against that background, even though the work will still be waiting for them when they get back, even a training course can feel like a bit of a break.

That’s one of the reasons why I try to make the courses I run at least a little bit entertaining – if you’ve been on one, I hope you’ll agree with that statement!  I think people learn better when they’re relaxed and enjoying themselves.  But I always counsel delegates that the hard work starts when they leave the room, because now they have to make a choice – do they do something with what they learn or do they go back to the way things were?

Some delegates, over the years, have been kind enough to keep in touch and let me know how they’re getting on as they apply the lessons they’ve learned.  As a result, I’ve tailored the advice that I give to groups – not only will the hard work start when they leave the training, it’ll also probably get worse before it gets better (but it will get better), as they get to grips with their new skills or new approaches.

It’s difficult to stick with things that are difficult – especially in a business environment that seems to value only immediate improvement and constant efficiencies.  Anyone who tries to do something new – even though they know it will pay off in the long term – faces obstacles and the possibility of relief through slipping back into their old way of doing things.  As trainers, we owe it to our delegates to make sure not just that workshops are fun and engaging but that what we’re actually teaching them is useful and will help them, in the long term; that it’s worth sticking with; that the short-term pain is worth it.

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