How to Train the Trainer

In this post we’ll look at the essentials for any Train the Trainer course or programme. What should be included, how and why…

How to Train the Trainer
How to Train the Trainer
Why bother with a Train the Trainer?

Many people think that anybody can be a Trainer, it’s just a matter of getting up there and doing it. Of course, that’s not the case. It’s a profession, just like any other, and requires a specific set of skills, knowledge and behaviours that aren’t within reach of just anybody.

It’s well accepted that providing on-going development to employees is part of the path towards higher engagement.

We also know that the higher the levels of engagement, in an organisation, the more productive employees are. If they’re more productive then they are helping the organisation to be more profitable. Wins everywhere….

It’s not a gigantic leap to suggest that the better the Trainers are that manage employee development (either internal or outsourced), the quicker the path to success for all and with a much greater quality to boot.

So, what should be included in a TRAIN THE TRAINER COURSE?

The first thing you should do is make sure you’ve got the right people on the Train the Trainer course. As we’ve already said, not everybody has what it takes to support the development of others in an engaging, effective way.

Some of the great subject matter experts in their respective fields don’t have what it takes to transfer their expertise to others. We can teach them, they’ll improve, but if it’s not who they are, it’s not who they are.

Once we’ve got our group of; passionate, articulate, energetic, inspiring, knowledgeable, challenging, courageous, flexible, empathetic, creative, patient enablers of learning on the Train the Trainer we need to give them some content to get their teeth into.

A quick internet search will provide many examples of this and all should include:
  • Clearly identifying the requirements of the role of the Trainer.
  • Helping delegates to understand the full learning cycle and the benefits of employee development.
  • Recognise and overcome the barriers to effective learning at work.
  • Help delegates to understand the different ways people learn and how to accommodate these in a group situation.
  • Plan and deliver effective training using appropriate training materials and methodologies.
  • Show delegates how to use accelerated learning approaches that encourage learning retention.
  • Provide opportunities to build confidence by practising the delivery of effective structured training sessions.
  • How to make the technology work for you and not against you.
  • Share tips and techniques for overcoming difficult situations (or people) which can occur during training sessions.
  • Show how to evaluate the effectiveness of any training against predetermined objectives.
Of course, the above list just covers the essentials. All the best Trainers practice what they preach and continue to develop themselves long after they’ve attended their first ‘Train the Trainer’.

Other courses can give them more advanced techniques that they can keep in their metaphorical toolkits.

Practice won’t ever make perfect, but it will move them closer and they will always have the essential delegate feedback which gives a customer perspective on how well those particular needs are being met.


How to Minimise Bias in Strategic Decision Making

How to take Bias out of Strategic Decision Making

As a leader, it is critical to make decisions. But how do you limit biases when looking for solutions? In this article, we will explore techniques to tackle bias and improve strategic decision making.

Strategic decision making
Strategic decision making
What research tells us…

In 2010 Dan Lovallo and Olivier Sibony, advisors to McKinsey & Company published a fascinating article on behavioural strategy in decision making.

Their research found that subconscious biases will undermine strategic decision making if they are left unchecked by the decision makers. To be efficient, leaders will understandably rely on the judgement of a team to provide them with advice. But unfortunately, biases can creep into any team’s reasoning and distort this advice.

A team can subconsciously dismiss evidence that contradicts something they strongly believe, or it can give too much weight to certain data sets, leading to faulty comparisons. By adopting a behavioural strategy to test the processes that lead to a recommendation, leaders can counter this subconscious bias and improve their strategic decision making.

Four steps to adopting a behavioural strategy in decision taking
  1. Decide which decisions warrant the effort
    It can be counterproductive and divisive to apply this review to all decisions. It can demotivate and even have an effect on the team’s overall performance. The strategy is better applied to rare critical decisions and to those important decisions that shape a company’s strategy over time.
  2. Identify the biases most likely to affect critical decisions
    Discuss and surface biases that may be undermining the decision making process. Evaluate past decisions and look at current decision processes. Repeated biases can become cultural traits creating dysfunctional patterns.
  3. Select practices & tools to counter the most relevant biases
    Select and put in place “debiasing” practices and tools. Decide on the specific tools that will work best for your company and its culture. Use mechanisms that are appropriate to the type of decision you are taking, to your company context, and to the decision making styles of your leaders.
  4. Embed practices into formal processes
    Good decision-making requires continual practice by all members of the management team. Instinct isn’t a good way to decide, it is important to embed these practices and processes in your company’s culture; that way you can ensure that the practices are used regularly and not just when someone feels uncertain about which way to go.


This behavioural strategy path requires the commitment of the whole management team. You may not be able to completely eradicate bias from your decisions, but by applying the techniques highlighted in this article you can at least minimise them.

“You need internal critics—people who have the courage to give you feedback. This requires a certain comfort with confrontation, so it’s a skill that has to be developed. The decisions that come out of allowing people to have different views are often harder to implement than what comes out of consensus decision making, but they’re also better.” Anne Mulchay, chairman and former CEO of Xerox.

Attend the one-day course on Strategic Decision Making to discover other ways to take strategic decisions.