Trainer's tip: Key skills for a trainer

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What are the key skills that - ideally - every trainer should posess? Stuart Farmer's question caught your attention and many trainers replied. Here's a selection of their advice.

Photo of Nick HindleyNick Hindley replied:

Good trainers have these attributes hard-wired into their muscle memory:

1. They know what the learning outcomes are that they want the learners to achieve for every sentence, phrase, exercise, session and period of learning.

2. They are able to set sensory-based indicators which tell them when the learners are achieving the planned learning outcomes, or not.

3. They constantly focus on the learners, not needing to think about the content which they could deliver in their sleep and so they are flexible with the programme in order to achieve consistent outcomes for the learners.

4. They adopt a position with their learners of guide and facilitator of learning and not the fountain of all knowledge and request the learners to accept an equal responsibility for their own learning.

5. They enable the learners to generate self-motivation for the learning and provide clear input explaining the subject being covered and how to apply it.

6. They have the ability to deliver training and be aware of their own performance, tracking the responses from the learners and then assessing these responses in order to generate improvements to future sessions.

Photo of Graham O'ConnellGraham O'Connell lists these key skills:

Role skills:

  • Presentation - structuring and communicating ideas, using visual and other aids
  • Facilitation - managing activities, eliciting contributions and learning
  • One-to-one - coaching, counselling, mentoring, advising, assessing
  • Consultancy - investigating, diagnosing, advising, evaluating, partnering
  • Trouble-shooting - insightful, innovative, dogged, a skilful rebel
  • Design - designing programmes, materials, activities, opportunities, e-literate
  • Personal skills and qualities:

  • Communication - listening, questioning, explaining, giving feedback
  • Interpersonal - building relationships, sensitivity, handling conflict
  • Assertiveness - confidence, challenging and supporting, negotiating
  • Flexibility - responsive, creative, adaptable, manage change
  • Expertise - knowledgeable, experienced, insightful, up to date
  • Organisational skills:

  • Team working - egalitarian, supportive, dependable, collaborative
  • Self-management - managing stress, time and work, self starting, learning
  • Influencing - instigating and driving change, transfering learning into performance, winning support
  • Strategic - co-ordinating, planning, leadership, linking, thinking
  • Problem solving - getting things done, working with operational difficulties
  • Business - financial, marketing, customer care, managing info
  • Photo of Andrew O'ConnellAndrew O'Connell adds his own list:

    Essential (the more the better)

  • Public speaking
  • Teaching
  • Organised
  • Desirable (too little of these traits hinder performance)

  • Diplomatic
  • Enthusiastic
  • Helpful
  • Optimistic
  • Pressure tolerance
  • Takes initiative
  • Wants challenge
  • Analytical
  • Self-acceptance
  • Self-improvement
  • Warmth/empathy
  • Persistent
  • Experimenting
  • Influencing
  • Manages stress well
  • Research/learning
  • Collaborative
  • Tolerance of structure
  • Traits to avoid (too much of these traits are counter productive)

  • Defensive
  • Blunt
  • Dogmatic
  • Forceful enforcing
  • Harsh
  • View the original posting:

    Key skills for a trainer
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