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Training team dimensions


Hello dear colleagues and friends,

I am in a very difficult situation. Have been a training manager of a team of 5 sales trainers for more than 3 years already.

Gradually due to cost savings my team now has been decreased to the number of 2.5 members.

The sales force we are covering is the same - we are talking about 230 sales consultants, 100 direct sales agents, 40 telesales agents.

We can hardly do our job and I am trying to convince the management that it is impossible to be accomplished by a team of 3.5 people ( including me ).

We are in the telecommunication industry.We are expected to perform in class trainings for the  sales force and field coaching sessions.

What would your recommendation be for the most effective number of team members?

I would highly appreciate your professional opinion,



4 Responses

  1. I can’t answer your question….

    …but I feel your pain!

    Of course you are absolutely right that 3.5 people can not do the same as 6 – so something  (probably many things) need to be different. I'm also sure that your management don't like hearing the 'impossible' word. (They may well have been trained at the 'delegate til their knees buckle' school of management)

    It looks like you are seeking ammunition for your case, which maybe others can provide.

    My advice would be to come up with clear, measurable options of what is possible within the current constraints, that include new ways of working. Be creative, show willingness to explore alternative methods and seeing things from their perspective. Any evidence of damage on the bottom line will be invaluable. Without that, you don't really have a case.

    You can highlight pros and cons of each plan, putting the ball firmly in the managements court. This way, you are working from a 'This is what's possible' standpoint, and you are giving them choices. They might find it harder than you to accept different ways of working, if you want to stay in your job, it's up to you to gently lead them in the right direction.

    You will also have documented evidence of what can and can't be done which might save your sanity. If they ask for something not in the plan they chose, they need to identify what gives way to make room for it.

    I know it is much easier to say it than do it! The other bottom line is your own health and wellbeing. Please take good care of that.

  2. Training team ratios



    I have always worked on the generally accepted ration of 1 trainer (that is 'trainer' not including a team manager) to every 100 'customers and in my experience of meeting L&D Managers across all industries is that most businesses operate on far fewer. This ratio means that you are probably one headcount down, so you do need a strong case for another head at least and to get senior management to accept that you are not part of that delivery team, or at a lower level of input. I believe there are a handful of ways in which under-resourced teams cope with this, other than recruiting a trainer:

    1. Recruit willing and able SMEs or develop in-line business coaches to help you with the delivery – BUT this comes with the caveat that they need good training (not 'presentation') skills and have the requisite positive attributes and behaviours of a good trainer

    2. Outsource some of your delivery – but this comes at a cost one way or another and you lose control over the quality, unless you invest a lot of your time observing them

    3. Develop a sound Blended/eLearning strategy to reduce delivery time. However, this will initially take you backwards as you develop relevant skills and develop materials, perhaps buying authoring tool licences etc.

    Want the good news?

    We can help with bespoke skills-based assessable training for SMEs/Coaches and Blended and eLearning, even helping you with a decision on authoring tool and then training the team (or an individual) on how to use it and develop great eLearning. We also have a great programme on Visual Impact. Have a look at our website and testimonials at

    Here's a testimonial I received this morning by the ay:

    From Kenneth MacKellar (Langdons) on his feedback form…

    All expectations were far exceeded and this has been the best course I have ever attended.

    All the staff at the TAP Foundation are a credit to Learning and Development and their methodology in teaching is insightful and thought provoking. It is clear to see why they have been awarded the Queens Award For Enterprise and Innovation.


    Best regards and good luck whatever you choose.


  3. I’m not going to help…

    I am the corporate L&D for an organisation of 2800. When I say 'I am' I mean just that, I manage the team of me. I have 2 p/t administrators but the resource to design, deliver and evaluate is me and me alone. There are some additional training resource in the form of role specific intervention since I work in areas of high specialism.

    This has meant a sea change in thinking about a different approach to how we manage L&D across the organisation and the onus is much more on the role as a performance support function, rather than a training team.

    We removed all courses, classes and workshops and looked to find SMEs who could support. We assume that the organisation retains the knowledge and it's a case of creating the environment where that knowledge may be shared. I horizon scan constantly, identifying the next big thing 12-18 months ahead and ask the SME in those areas to identify a non-training approach to supporting it. I'm developing a more consistent use of Enterprise Social Networks (ESN) to encourage working out loud and sharing; this has come from Appreciative Inquiry thinking. I've taken away 'mandatory' learning; who was it mandatory for and what sanctions exist if it doesn't happen? In most cases it was to tick a box that 'something had been done'. I've removed assessment from my role and use peer marking with a previous cohort assessing the next group. Sampling at 15% by SME is statistically significant and able to demonstrate if this has been effective. I count nothing but engagement; the number of enrolments. Completion and performance are measured in the workplace by the manager, where they should be by the person that matters.

    It's about a mindset change; training is a 20th century concept enacted with 21st century resource.

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