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Frances Ferguson

Glasstap Ltd

Training Design Manager

Read more from Frances Ferguson

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Taxi Driver, SatNav or Compass?


The fantastic thing about our profession is that we all have our own personal stories to tell about our route into the role; so many different skills, so many different abilities, so much knowledge.

If our starting points are many and varied, so too are our reasons for staying in the world of training.

Maybe you love the moment when suddenly a lightbulb goes off in a learner’s mind? Maybe you love watching a group who previously struggled to work together begin to respect the one another? Maybe it’s when you make a subject come alive & see your learners love a session they had expected to find a right bore?

Or maybe, like me, it’s all those things & more?

Something else I love is that you can learn every day about how to become a better trainer. The inspiration can strike at any time & ‘kerching’ there is another piece in the jigsaw puzzle – sometimes a new piece, sometimes a forgotten piece & sometimes it’s a piece that you know exactly where it needs to go.

This week it happened whilst trying to navigate around a town I had never been to before & all without the support of my trusty SatNav.

The one-way system was confusing, the signage a little sparse, yet I completed my journey without incident. Better than that, I felt confident that, unlike when simply following my SatNav’s clipped instructions, I could navigate round the town unaided next time.

That’s when realisation dawned; I smiled and knew a little bit more than I had at the start of the day.

You see, I passionately believe that we should not see training as an event; learning is a journey that does not stop when you leave the training room. But how can we best help people on the journey?

There is sometimes a temptation to be a taxi driver; wowing the room with our knowledge but ultimately depositing learners in a new location with little understanding of how they got there.

Or maybe, like a SatNav, we issue instructions of the steps our learners must take? But so precise are our commands that it leaves little room for them to think about what they are doing and why.

Now both taxi drivers & SatNav’s are wonderful things, but they are designed to get you from A to B with minimal thought & input from you.

But what about when this new journey is one you'll have to make unaided next time? Would you be able to clearly describe how you got there? Would you know why you turned left, then right & right again? Unlikely.

Great trainers, aren’t taxi drivers or SatNavs, picking the route for you, they are the compass; drawing on their knowledge & expertise to guide you. But the decisions you make are yours and the skills you learn are yours for keeps.

That’s why as trainers we need to make sure that our training is not just about what we know, or a series of barked instructions. We should be focused on creating tangible knowledge so that people can make decisions for themselves on how to complete the journey. We are there to guide, to inspire, to support & offer tools that will be useful along the way.

After all, training is not successful because someone says they liked the expert at the front of the room. Training is successful because someone carries on benefitting from that expertise long after the event itself.

2 Responses

  1. Nice article

    Love the analogy to sat Navs ' depositing learners in a new location with little understanding of how they got there.' Excellent.

Author Profile Picture
Frances Ferguson

Training Design Manager

Read more from Frances Ferguson

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