Trainer v Consultant: What do you need?

/Trainer v Consultant: What do you need?

I recently met with a potential client to talk about organising some in-house training and she asked me some revealing questions. She asked about the start and duration of the course, adding: “I don’t want a training course which starts at 9:30 or 10am and finishes at 4pm with an hour for lunch and breaks every hour.”

Now, I don’t know who they have been using for training but they’ve been taking the Mickey! The other request she had was to make sure the examples and exercises are relevant to her industry and not all about cars. I, of course, told her they would be but it got me thinking about the bigger question. When you get a person to come and train you in a subject do you want a trainer or a consultant who trains?

First of all, you might ask, what is the difference? In my opinion a traditional trainer is a person who trains to the materials they have on the course. They stick fairly rigidly to the slides or agenda as they are comfortable in this format. They have some knowledge of the subject but their knowledge stops really at the material in hand.

Is your trainer up to scratch?

A consultant trainer on the other hand (which is what we employ) is more adaptable as they have been there, seen it and done it. That is to say they have typically delivered the content of the training operationally, they have real-life experience and they can empathise with the delegates. They are not constrained by the agenda and can, if required, go off piste for a while and provide more depth on a subject or cover other related topics. They are the kinds of people who could run the whole course with a flip chart if the projector failed.

Typically consulting trainers will work as long as required each day with the client. They will give practical feedback at the end of the session, they will support the learner in any way needed to ensure learning and application of the subject.

Now, not all training courses need a consulting trainer or people with the knowledge I am talking about. Software training, time management, presentation skills and more are delivered by great people who just need to know the material. Lean, Six Sigma, Change Management are topics, in my opinion, that need consultancy trainers to deliver the content.

When you engage an expert company in these areas you are not just getting a training course but you are being given consultancy at the same time. How to deliver your project, how to solve your problems, how to structure your company for success. Identification of issues and solutions to problems. These elements are the added value items which any consultant would provide when training.

In short, I told our potential client that our delivery personnel are really consultants who train rather than trainers. In my opinion, in the past she had hired or been exposed to trainers who delivered just the slides in the easiest way possible for them, rather than the best way for the delegates. At 100% Effective we pride ourselves in the quality of our consultants and the added value they will bring when you engage us in training.

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By | 2018-04-24T13:18:40+00:00 March 30th, 2015|Lean Six Sigma, Training|1 Comment

About the Author:

As Managing Director of 100% Effective, John is an authority on how effective Lean Six Sigma is. He draws on nearly 30 years experience as a consultant and Master Black Belt to give you practical insights into how Lean Six Sigma can help you and your business.

One Comment

  1. Richard 2nd November 2015 at 3:15 pm - Reply

    Hi John, I was looking for supporting evidence that trainers are actually a better option than consultants when I found your article. I work for an enterprise software company who traditionally use their consultants to deliver training (consultants who train). I see pros and cons to both methods of delivery. Consultants have real-life experience but often do not have the skills to present this in a classroom environment. In my experience, it boils down to ownership. My trainers own their course, they know the software better than anyone in the company and when there is an area where they need stories to tell then we use the consultants as SMEs. When we get a software upgrade then we provide the training to the consultants for upskilling.
    Where your article suggests that trainers run to timelines outside the normal working day and that trainers tend to be agenda bound is not true, at least not within my team. So I think your article is biased towards your own model but not truly representative of a ‘good’ training delivery model.
    Just posting my experience to provide balance to yours.

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