Training the Trainer: Essential Skills and Tools

     

A corporate trainer is an educational instructor who works in business environments. They equip employees with the knowledge that they’ll need to perform efficiently. To run a workplace at its optimum, a good training, learning and skill development program is a must. In this day and age, companies can no longer ignore the skills and ongoing training and development of their employees. Hence companies have to ensure that the trainers are equipped with the right trainer skills and tools to get the best out of employees.

Let’s start with the basic skills that companies look for in a trainer or L&D professional.

Essential Skills for Trainers

A trainer must be able to infuse leadership skills and the culture effectively into employees to ensure peak productivity. Trainers are expected to use a medley of training and skill development approaches, tools, and tech to ensure that the employees get the best out of the valuable training period. Here are the key skills that differentiate the top corporate trainers.

  • Ability to research and develop the right training material

    When you’re in charge of getting employees to comprehend instructions and perform accordingly, you need to strengthen the roots of the employees' understanding of their job. This means, your training and skill development methods need to be relevant, well researched, and comprehensive. Developing research skills is key to finding the right content for your training course.

    You must ensure that learners have the foundation of a thoroughly researched knowledge base to rely on. You must at all times be diligent and thorough with the quality of the sources that you pick up your content from. Ask, is this source reliable? Is the content relevant? When was it updated last? Could I be on a fake website? The validity of the content that you forward determines how the learners perform, and you’re accountable.

  • Communication and soft skills development

    It cannot be stressed enough how a communication skills training program can help and influence your trainees level of success in the corporate sector. You need to have the right tools to communicate your concepts and ideas with the learner. You must constantly engage your audience with questions to assess their grasp on your training material. It would not be effective communication without feedback, so make sure you’re a good listener. A vigilant trainer would look out for semantic, or linguistic barriers. In case you come across any, seek ways to cover the gap.

    Soft skills help bring the best of what the learner has grasped from their training. These are the skills that help the learner efficiently navigate through social interaction at the workplace. Soft skills help develop the employees' ability to represent themselves and their thoughts in public forums or interpersonal interactions.

  • Organization and leadership skills

    Being a trainer, your ability to manage your daily tasks and remaining calm under high-stress situations is key. As a corporate trainer, you need to be clear about your daily goals, because those reflect on your leadership skills. Understand the learner, and seek ways to motivate their efforts to competitiveness, achievement, and team synergy. Your trainees and team will always try to learn from you, hence it’s essential to set an example as a strong leader and a great role model.

  • Resourcefulness to use tools/aids

    Be flexible to explore new tools and resources to help the learner understand and learn efficiently. From introducing a digital time management system or simply integrating a grammar and language assistant for their systems, introduce technology that can make their everyday lives and work easier. Engage the learners in problem-solving scenarios and try out new creative methods and technology to bring out the best in them.

  • Tech savviness

    A trainer needs to have the spirit to constantly learn, and evolve their methods to suit today’s millennial workforce. Changing technology and trends is a challenge that brings the trainer closer to the learner. It is an opportunity for the trainer to put on the learner’s hat. Here, the trainer gauges the possibility of finding new ways to approach a problem with the help of technology. Understandably, technology is ever evolving and requires trainers to keep pace with developments in the Training and e Learning space, however the rewards in terms of better learning outcomes are immense.

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    Training Tools for Trainers: Improve learning outcomes

    Training the trainer

    Tools help trainers interact with teams, and supervise team projects all on a single platform of their choice. They improve the exchange of information and bring order to the training processes. Here’s are some of the top tools we’ve identified that are integral to any modern Learning & Development program.

    • Learning Management System

      Your task as a trainer includes being able to develop courses and track employee performance. Cloud-based learning management systems are a must for all trainers. The market is full of LMSs to choose from, but your management must be encouraged to get one that suits your organization best. Pick an LMS after assessing the overall performance of the product, right from its functional to customer support response. Learning Management Software will not only help to create and distribute courses, but it will also give you a performance analysis so you can monitor the progress of the learner. What’s more? The learners’ performances help you assess how well your content is being absorbed by them. This way you can evaluate and improve your training modules and methods regularly.

    • Content Authoring Tools/Software

      For better learner engagement, there’s is a lot of evidence to show that audiovisual content makes understanding and retention easier. Content authoring tools play a significant role in helping trainers make the best content available to their learners in an organized and scalable fashion. Pick a tool that is compatible with your Learning Management System and isn't complicated. You may find certain basic lessons that you can edit and repurpose. Content authoring tools help in advancing interactive content in learning courses. They help integrate multimedia in the form of images, video, audio or all to create engaging lessons.

    • Video & Interactive content creation tools

      Learning how to use video editing software gives you an upper hand at creating a lesson experience that is not only engaging but also easy to digest. These tools help you illustrate the various highlights of the course and explain them with the help of audio-visual aids. Your lessons easily become interesting and understandable with the use of suitable audio-visual cues. You can get creative with the available formats or make your own. With the dominant presence of online learning, your course could find its place on social media and other course sharing platforms.

    • Collaboration / conferencing tools

      With internet connectivity racing against itself to get faster, we have access to certain tools that break us away from the limitation of location. Cloud-based collaborative platforms make sharing and collaborating on projects from their conception to their conclusion. Conferencing tools have improved connectivity which directly impacts the coordination and performance of teams. Meetings are conducted over display screens, and not necessarily physical presence. Communication speeds up, positively impacting the efficacy of each task.

    Training and Development FAQs

    Skill Development
    • What is corporate training?

      Organizations need to pay serious attention to high-performance corporate training if they wish to remain relevant and compete in the market. To keep up with this competition corporate training space has been dynamic over time. Upskilling the workforce costs a lot of time and money. There is a need for frequently training and re-training the employees to keep them updated and relevant in their performance. So when asked why do you want to become a trainer? Know that your mission as a corporate trainer is to provide learners with the right skillset, knowledge base and attitude they need to grow in their careers and within the organization.

    • What are the types of corporate training?

      • Leadership and Management Development

        When it comes to company and employee relationships, it has been observed that to retain good employees, you have to provide them with a supportive environment. Companies with low attrition rates maintain an ethical company culture and promote it. They have a culture that helps employees feel valued and gives them the opportunities to further their careers in the organization. Developing leadership skills in the organization plays an important role in their accountability and attitude towards their work. If leaders can be formed within the organization, there’s a higher chance of employees taking accountability for their actions and staying motivated.

      • Customer and Client Communications

        Every employee of the company is a point of contact and a reflection of the company’s brand. Hence it’s essential that all employees are adequately trained to put their best foot forward. In the case of customer service specialists, their role deals specifically with interacting and understanding the customer’s feedback, queries, and grievances. Servicing specialists must receive the training that they need to go about their daily tasks of interactions. Why so? This is because how the business establishes its relationship with the customer is a direct reflection of the company’s culture. The company’s reputation and business depend on customer reviews. The risk to reputation is quite high even if one of the employees is not adequately trained in customer servicing.

      • Workplace Ethics and Anti-harassment

        All employees, position no bar, benefit from understanding and incorporating ethics training. All executives, supervisors, or interns need to learn how to be part of a culture that doesn’t victimize and isn’t toxic for vulnerable groups. You need to ensure that training sessions are regularly carried out to prevent any unfortunate incidents of sexual harassment, racist, ageist or other discriminatory behaviour at the workplace. A zero tolerance policy for such behavior can help employees create a culture where diverse people of all backgrounds, orientations feel welcome and valued.

      • Language Training Programs

        Better proficiency in English does open up a sea of opportunities for the learner. Especially if your team is a multilingual and multicultural one, it is a bridge language and helps foster better communication. Language Training can also help your employees seek offsite and international opportunities, increasing their chances of upward mobility.

      • Creative Thinking Programs

        To be a creative thinker is one of the strongest skill sets on can possess. It helps in thinking out of the box when you find yourself stuck in a murky situation. It is what sets your problem-solving skills aside from the others since creativity often brews original thought.

    • What’s the best way to impart communication skills training?

      Begin with being a good listener, because if you’re not patient with what the learner has to say, you’re not doing justice to the training they require. Actively parley for the inclusion of communication skills in the training programs. You may come across different kinds of learners, some of whom may be shy. Try to understand how you can target their learning abilities better. The fundamentals to learn better communication are - attentive listening, encoding and decoding the message, formulating a response and awaiting feedback. This applies to both verbal and nonverbal methods of communication.

    • How to become a corporate trainer?

    • To become a corporate trainer you will need:

      Certification: You’d get certified to pursue any other profession, why not training? A Trainer training course equips you with the right knowledge bank and skill sets to be able to conduct training sessions and expect a positive impact. A training certification for trainers adds value and improves your career prospects as a corporate trainer.

      Training vertical: There is no dearth of options when you have to pick from the types of training specializations practiced. While choosing the vertical of training you should be sure that your skill sets and interest are aligned. However, it is not uncommon for trainers to switch topics. Some popular interests are image consulting, soft skill training, communication skills training, language training followed by a vast number of options to explore. You should pick a vertical that peaks you at the earliest. This helps optimize your skills and get a head start from the very beginning.

      Promote yourself: You need to get yourself in the market. This is where the challenge begins. Yes, there is a lot of competition out there, but you can leverage your skills to reach the right clients who require your particular skill set. Ensure that you are visible on search engine results when a client sits looking out for your services. Don’t hold back from self-promoting your services, after all, you’re your best salesperson.

    • What are the skills of a good trainer?

      Confidence: You need to hold people’s attention while you speak with them. This means your confidence does not only reflect when you’re training, but you have to practice it in life as well.

      Communication skills: Your ability to deliver your message to people and gauge their response accurately is your secret weapon. This allows you to approach stressful situations with a tactical approach. There may be times you will assert yourself, but that is part of your job.

      Analytical skills: This skill is only developed over time and needs to be replenished with relevant information acquired in your career. You can always learn from others' experiences and the vast material available online. If you want to make an effective impact as a trainer, you need to make a sound analysis of what your learners need from content, training approaches to tools.

    • What are the best training courses for trainers?

      There are so many options to choose from. LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, AlphaSkill, Lynda, etc to name a few are easily available courses online. These courses help you develop and improve skills with curated and topnotch content. Once you complete the course you get a certification from the platform.

    • How do I go about designing a training program?

      Designing your course requires an aptitude for research and development. You need to have a keen eye for observation and incorporate the right feedback from your learners. Answering the following questions will help you map your course with clarity:

      • What is the need for my program?

        Identify behaviors of the learner when they are at their job. Observe the gap between what they are doing versus what they should be doing. You will realize that there are solutions that you can think of to tackle the gap in performance.

      • What are your training objectives?

        You need to define your training objectives and list them down. Once you have your objectives, you elaborate on how the learner will benefit from the course. Identify the problem you are trying to solve and note the questions for better understanding. A clear idea of your plan will help fetch great results.

      • How do I design this program?

        Highlight the learning objective for the learner. Elaborate on how they will be able to achieve it. Streamline the content, preferably through a mix of interactive and traditional mediums on your Learning Management System. You can set up learning paths for each role on the system and allocate the content accordingly. For eg, the content to be consumed to become a Senior Developer v/s a Project manager will be vastly different. Other than the online content, group discussions, situational simulations, tests and quizzes, presentations can be prepared as part of the Learning Calendar.

      • How do I evaluate my course?

        Don’t be worried about trial and error. Take feedback from the participants. Get to know the effectiveness of your course by evaluating how well the participants were able to grasp the concepts. Did they achieve the learning objectives? Were they engaged? Was the training satisfying? Were the facilities satisfying? You will come across new questions as your experience grows, which will add value to your course when answered.

    The Future of Corporate Training

    From training using virtual and augmented reality to gamification and microlearning, the trainers of tomorrow will have an arsenal of tools at their disposal. The Learning & Development programs of the future are poised to keep pace with the changing expectations of the learners and the market’s need for constant upskilling.

Manish Kachwala

Manish Kachwala is the Co-Founder of AlphaLearn, India’s leading Learning Management System. A believer in lifelong learning, he is passionate about technology, startups, blogging and tennis. He is a veteran of the e-learning industry with over 20 rich years of experience in the space.

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