Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Letting Go Of Training

Just like many girls across the world, my daughter is enamored with Elsa and the rest of the gang from Frozen. Her rendition of Let It Go is loud, to say the least. I bring this song up because, like Elsa, being a trainer sometimes feels like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. After all, it’s your responsibility that staff know how to do their jobs. I’ve written before on how trainers tend to be Jack of All Trades and how they must become authorities in areas they have previously known little about but a side effect of training is taking ownership of the product you’ve created and, sometimes, the subject.  But for the benefit of staff, there may be times when you just have to “let it go.”

Photo Credit
Give the Newbie a Chance
Everyone I work with knows that training is “my thing” - it’s what I love to do. But, in spite of my love for training, I can not ignore the bigger picture of what training is all about. Training builds people up and teaches them something new or how to do something better.  Although I love training, it would be contrary of me to not give others the opportunity to teach as well. In the past when staff have approached me about doing a specific training I have responded with “that sounds great, but why don’t you do it instead?”  After all, it was their idea and who am I to take ownership of that? Now, instead of being the trainer, I will be the trainer who trains the trainer. There is something very rewarding in helping others fulfill their goals.

Give the Expert a Chance
One of my favorite things about training is getting the opportunity to learn.  Every time I teach a class on a certain subject, I first have to teach myself.  Essentially, I make myself become an authority on the subject even if I previously had little or no knowledge of it. As fun as it is to learn, there are scenarios where time constraints or limited knowledge come into play.  If a subject is too multifaceted to learn or time limitations will not allow you to learn it well enough to train, it may be best to enlist the help of a Subject Matter Expert. The hardest part of enlisting the help of someone is realizing when you are in over your head. The key to it all, however, is knowing that you still have a role. Subject Matter Experts are that way because they have devoted a lot of time to learning the material.  But you are the Subject Matter Expert when it comes to training!  
Because there is a lot of thought and care that goes into training, when you decide to let it go and allow someone else to take the reigns, here are a few tips to help:
  • Work Together - whether it’s a newbie or an SME, work with each other to put together the training material.
  • Communicate Regularly - In the process of creating the training it is imperative that both of you are on the same page. Communication will also ensure that you are using the same terminology across the board.
  • Vet the Content - SMEs have a tendency to be too technical and Newbies just haven’t had enough practice, so your expertise in identifying learner needs will help focus the training to reach its maximum potential.

Like Elsa, there is no reason to keep everything to yourself, but letting go of it completely is not the answer either.  Find balance in working with a teammate - someone who can share their knowledge and, in return, you can share yours.

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