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Trainer’s Diary: Teamwork


Byron KaliesFor many trainers, when the door closes on the training room, they are master of their own domain. But what happens when there is more than one master? Byron Kalies discusses teamwork.

Running a training event with another trainer, or a few other trainers can be quite traumatic. If you don't know them it can be difficult. If you do know them but don't particularly get on it can be even worse. There needs to be real understanding and real teamwork when you co-train. People on the course can tell extremely quickly if there are problems and you can get a situation where a particularly awkward individual will use this. This person may not be evil but they may be not happy for any number of reasons - the prime one being they don't want to be on the course in the first place. If they see problems they may end up like my six-year-old daughter playing one parent off against another. This isn't good and it isn't professional.

I was lucky enough to be inducted into the training profession by a number of experienced and sensible trainers. I was taught a number of lessons that CIPD don't teach you and most of them centred around teamwork.

Before the training event you need to talk to your fellow trainer/s. If this is the first time you've worked together allow a fair amount of time for this. There are a number of agreements you need to have in place. This may seem obvious but if you don't get this right at the outset it really does disrupt the course. It also helps getting to know the other trainers and their thoughts, values as you work through these.

You need to carefully agree not only what you're doing in terms of presenting, but also in terms of feedback and support. Once you've agreed on the split of the sessions discuss how you'd prefer to work together. Everyone has their own style and it can take a while to be comfortable with another trainer, but it is a great learning experience. Whatever you decide make it as explicit as possible. It saves any misunderstanding.

Working with another trainer is a perfect opportunity to get feedback. Again this needed to be discussed before - when will you give each other feedback, in how much detail, is there anything in particular that the other was looking for.

As I mentioned it's vital you act as a team. It may happen that you don't get on with the other but it's about being professional. When you discuss this with your co-trainer before the course it's vital to acknowledge this. If you haven't worked with them before it's especially important to discuss how you need to help and support each other. It was spelt out to me that it is 'us and them' between us and the course members. This is not meant in any nasty, malicious way but we're a team and as course members they are a team. You need to totally support your fellow trainer. If they're in trouble with a difficult course member you've got to help out whatever your feelings. If your co-trainer is struggling with some material or a difficult question you need to get involved. This may well just give them the time they need to rethink the situation. It is vital. If you work well as a team course members get so much more benefit - they get a number of opinions, different approaches.

Ultimately co-training is all about relationships and being professional. However it takes a good deal of preparation to make this happen.


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