Published on 2012/05/10
Even though training is notionally the same across borders, varying cultures and expectations make the challenges quite different from place to place. However, the factors to assess a training program can be similar for all. Photo by David Morris.

Although challenges we face as trainers may appear similar on the surface, what we see is only the tip of the iceberg. There is a vast difference in the challenges faced by a trainer in India as compared to someone in the U.S. or Canada.

What factors do we attribute this to? After all, if we are trainers, should our challenges not be the same? My response to that is, how can it be so, when we all belong to different regions, and cultures? The kind of people we interact with are all different, as none of the fingers are the same. We all have individual differences shaped by heredity, culture, what we have experienced in life and how we coped with it.

Trainers are people who are certified, mostly. They may not be psychologists, far from it actually! The reason they are able to adeptly gauge the area where training is needed most, is through experience. Experience is the biggest teacher. For instance, I come across people from different backgrounds during my training workshops. Some have been the company since long, others for a shorter period. Even the roles that they have could be different – finance, sales, customer service etc. For a person coming in from finance, the level and kind of communication required is different than that of a key account manager having a customer facing role.

What mostly occurs today is that the TNI and TNA is not done correctly. Due to this, the organizations blame trainers for the program being ineffective. Is it the trainer’s fault? Is it HR’s fault? The blame game can go on and on. This is where trainers come in. As a trainer, our role is not just to deliver training. Unfortunately, most trainers are not bothered about correct TNI / TNA. This is due to some being inexperienced and new to the field, with no one to guide them.

A trainer’s role is also to ensure who are the participants that are coming in for the training? What is their role exactly like? This should go beyond just designations. What do they do in that role? Once a trainer has access to this information, only then should he/she proceed to deliver the program. Co-ordination is a major challenge as the HR is usually wary of making the trainers interact with participants; for fear that they may say something to show the organizational culture in a negative light. But how persuasive a trainer can be is the key here.

It’s not just HR, trainers even face a challenge with respect to working with training agencies as there may not be proper transparency there too. It’s important to be informed about who you engage with.

In conclusion, the effectiveness of a training program depends on a variety of factors – were the participants the right fit for the intended program? Did they get a chance to interact with the trainer beforehand, or is the training day the only time they meet a trainer? Is the HR forthcoming about the role of people nominated for a workshop? Finally, is a trainer really worth his/ her salt?

Once these challenges are met with, a trainer can become even more adept at recognizing where training is needed most.

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