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Who and what influences the development of a trainer?


A recent TrainingZONE survey sought to find out the most significant influences on the professional development of people engaged in training and human resource development. The results provide an interesting insight into how just how important our peers, colleagues and students can be in our own development.

Almost a third of all respondents said that the most significant influence on them was an inspiring professional colleague whom they had seen in action and clearly wanted to emulate. We asked the question quite broadly, so people were referring to their experience of excellent trainers, coaches and managers. These people obviously leave an indelible mark on those who gain first-hand experience. The result also lends credence to the current recruitment campaign for teachers based on the strap-line that 'People remember a good teacher'. Those who are effective in their leadership, teaching and development roles have a far deeper influence in encouraging others to emulate their style.

Just over a quarter of all those surveyed claimed that feedback from participants and subordinates was the most significant influence on their professional development as a trainer, coach or manager. There is encouraging endorsement here for the regular use of good feedback mechanisms. Listening to other people's experience of your style – and taking action on such feedback – provides a valuable insight into one's own effectiveness.

The least significant source of influence of those offered in the survey was participation in a formal training course; only 12% of respondents chose this option. Interesting: are trainers resistant to taking part in training, or are they skeptical of the benefits of training?! In reality, many trainers and coaches slip into the roll as an adjunct to other functions and training skills tend to be something which they "pick up as they go along" – with rather mixed results! A slightly larger proportion voiced support for the benefits of informal coaching from colleagues and peers (8%), and for self-study using books, videos and other resource materials (9%), demonstrating that there is a growing awareness of the value of less formal approaches to training and development.

Please use the Comment feature below to react to these findings, or to explain more of the factors which influenced your development as a trainer or coach to others.


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