We're always curious to hear how our members and contributors tackle the challenges that the ever-changing world of L&D throws at them. We've got a wealth of experience and knowledge across the site, and what better way to showcase the diversity of our community than to get them to walk us through an average day?
Want to tell us about your way of working? Email us at [email protected], or let us know in the comments below.
Simon Hares is a Bath-based sales & management consultant, trainer & blogger. He has written a popular blog for TrainingZone about 'Employer Betrayal' and is an active Twitterer - we're always looking forward to seeing what he has to say next!
So, Simon, talk us through your average day...
No two days are ever the same, but each one does have a bit of a pattern. I am a stickler for routine and I am ruthless time manager; when you run a business you are every department so there is no time to waste, and being somewhat of a control freak I like it that way!
05:00 – The day starts early in this house with a slipper dropped onto the face from an eager little spaniel called Lundy. He needs his walk whatever the weather at this time of day - in summer it is a joy as seeing the sunrise is a real motivator, but in winter the pitch darkness is punctuated by the little dog collar lights of other dog walkers who are also out at silly o’clock.
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06:30 – Coffee. Stay away from me for your own safety before coffee has passed my lips. The pure black gold fuels the SerialTrainer7 engine.
08:00 – Gym time. Each day I take the time to start the day right with a workout, be it weights or CV - the endorphin rush keeps me sharp and in shape. It is important that when clients and delegates meet me that they feel confident in my being fit for purpose, not just mentally but physically too.
10:00 - Power up the social media engine - keeping content on each of the channels up to date and fresh. Lundy my spaniel is my office helper and he can often be found on his i-paw updating his Facebark account, he is very good company.
At the moment I am working on a new Sales blog due to come out the day after Wimbledon finishes called 'Game, Set & Match-Selling Against the Competition'. Keeping content topically interesting and relevant really helps with engagement.
10:30 - More coffee.
11:00 - I have a personal discipline that demands I speak to at least 5 new people every day, so that I can generate business and bring in new clients. I believe that in order to be an effective sales trainer you not only have to have a strong background in training but should still doing it. Walk the walk and all that.
12:00 - When I am not delivering training around the country I am constantly preparing for forthcoming training courses and coaching sessions. This is massively time-consuming and often people do not consider the amount of time that is invested in this area of the business.
Clients too can often think that courses are just pulled off the shelf; in reality each course must be calibrated to the business needs of the client and the development outcomes of the delegates' development needs, therefore there is no one-size-fits-all. It is one of the most enjoyable parts of my job and one of the reasons why I do not really like delivering open courses, as one does not get quality information through from the delegate outcome forms or the telephone calls.
Clients too can often think that courses are just pulled off the shelf
14:00 - Pressies! Postie arrives at this time every day and brings with him almost daily a new gift from those lovely people at ‘The Big River Book Shop’ as I like to call it. I read about 3 books a week and love learning new things and hearing different points of view on the subjects I train in. I get sent tons on Management and Sales; it doesn’t mean there is much that is new, but a different viewpoint is really important.
16:00 - Service Call time. This is the time of day when I put in calls to my existing clients, not to sell them, but to catch up, talk things through and find out what is happening in their businesses. I also use this time to call into delegates I have trained so that I stay in touch and not just disappear like many trainers.
After buying training providers for many years, one of my criticisms of them was there lack of desire to stay in touch with the people they train, so often we build a strong bond on the day of the training and this becomes a trusted relationship if it is pursued and one that is highly valued by the client.
18:00 – Walkies. A little spaniel is in need of his walk so this is his time. Lots of play and of course his need to tuck all the bunnies into their hedges in the fields. Very important part of his day. He is very responsible!
19:30 - Working for yourself doesn’t mean you work 9-5 which has tremendous benefits, so the evening is often spent coaching via Facetime those clients abroad, especially in the USA.
I tend to be in bed early, I have never been a night owl and like caffeine - I am horrible when sleep deprived!
Now, tell us...
What would you say are your main passions or things you champion within learning & development?
Sales and Service. Two areas that need a lot of love. Having come from sales, I love salespeople completely. They are so brilliant at communicating and getting people to spend money, real skills that are often frowned on. Customer service is my other love; when training people in this area it is firstly about getting their employers to think about and treat them like customers, for some strange reason it pays forward onto the businesses customers.
My preference is to become a friend to the business; all delegates can stay in touch for help whenever they want
I am extremely passionate about getting close to the businesses I work with. Some only want the transactional training, which I tend to refer others into. My preference is to become a friend to the business; all delegates can stay in touch for help whenever they want - from experience I know that on a course one doesn't get huge quantities of time with the trainer, at they end they disappear never to be seen again, so I insist that delegates can reach out whenver they want. It is something the clients love having and adds significant value.
What part of your job do you enjoy the most?
Hearing from delegates who have used the skills and have got results themselves this just means the world. Oh and being booked up so far in advance, that is very exciting. I love speaking to large groups too, getting a wave of energy going in the room really gets people in the zone and I love to see people getting involved with crazy out there activities that get them thinking!
Working for myself is a purely selfish pleasure that means there are times when I have the choice of kicking back with a book and some coffee and spending time with my handsome little dog who is really my son. My partner and I are mad about him. You've seen the picture here right?
What keeps you up at night?
Stage fright. Before training sessions I always get very nervous and excited. I have been known to throw up too! Apparently this is normal and healthy, I suppose it is better this way it keeps me grounded.
Social Media. I use this so much! The business is dependent on it and it is vital that content is put out in blogs, tweets are posted #FF follow friday is an obsession for networking! I heard it said that within 10 years our most valuable asset with be our social media profile. I believe it. It keeps me awake.
One tip you’d pass on to your peers?
It is never ever about you as a trainer, the minute you think it is, then leave the profession.