It’s no secret that a good corporate trainer is important for the success of any organization. But what exactly makes a good corporate trainer and what qualities and strengths do you need? And how can you become one? In this post, we’ll take a look at what makes a good corporate trainer and what skills you need.
A corporate trainer needs a range of skills and these include good:
- Communication skills
- People management skills
- Time management skills
- Organizations skills
- Coaching skills
- Basic understanding of pedagogy
- Feedback skills
- Research and design skills
- Subject matter expertise or knowledge
Now do NOT be alarmed at the list as to be a good trainer you do not have to master each and every skill mentioned in the list above.
You can, for example, buy and download the training materials to save a significant amount of time on course materials design.
Likewise, for certain topics you teach, you do not necessarily have to be an SME (Subject Matter Expert) as you might well be coaching rather than teaching.
In other words, you might be facilitating the learning process and guiding people to learn and to research, to find the answers and solutions themselves.
Let’s take a look at each of these skills and how they can help you to become the best trainer you possibly can be.
1. Communication Skills
As a corporate trainer, it is essential that you are an effective communicator in order to train employees or whoever you are providing training for.
Communication skills are important in any field, but they are especially important for trainers.
After all, trainers need to be able to convey information clearly and concisely so that their trainees can understand and apply what they have learned.
There are a few key communication skills that are particularly important and that I recommend you master as a trainer.
a) Listening Skills
As a trainer, you need to be able to listen attentively so that you can understand your trainees’ needs, and concerns, what they do and don’t understand, and how you can direct the training.
Understanding your learners can greatly aid you in providing the best and most appropriate training possible for your learners.
Additionally, you should be able to give clear and concise instructions.
This will ensure that your learners will be able to understand and follow your lessons without confusion and so that they can take in what you teach.
Practice and preparation are two ways in which you can really perfect and improve the speaking aspect of the training you provide.
You might, for example, want to prepare a PowerPoint display that details the key points as bullet points so that you have a defined way to get across key important information.
You can also practice giving the training by going through the full lesson plan and speaking aloud whilst practicing at home or in your office.
Of course, after a few times of teaching the same course, you will be proficient and not need any practice time, except for the purpose of refreshing your skills when needed.
If you are part of an HR (Human Resources) team you might want to provide communication skills training to your managers and anyone who provides training in your company. These courses might be especially useful:
2. People Management Skills
In addition to being a good communicator, the ability to build rapport with your trainees means that your trainees will be more comfortable and receptive to the training you are providing.
Emotional intelligence is extremely useful to understand here as it covers many of the factors needed including:
- How to be empathetic towards others
- Techniques for giving constructive feedback
- Ways to get on well with other people
- How to manage difficult people and situations
- How to put people at ease
- Ways to be open towards others and be interested in other people
- And how to be supportive and assertive
It’s important to be supportive and encouraging to those you teach, in addition to understanding some basic teaching principles as I’ll discuss in the next point.
Pedagogy is often defined as the art and science of teaching or providing training.
It encompasses the methods and strategies used to facilitate learning and optimize your learners and student outcomes.
In other words, pedagogy is concerned with how best to teach so that the learning is effective.
There are many different approaches to pedagogy, and what works best will depend on the individual learner, the learning context, and the specific goals to be achieved.
Different people you provide training to as a corporate trainer will learn differently and these learning styles include learning from:
- Interactivity – some people learn best through activities such as group tasks and activities.
- Listening – some learners learn best from just sitting and listening to a teacher/trainer. They are able to concentrate and absorb things and learn best this way.
- Seeing – Other people learn best through seeing things. It might be from seeing PowerPoint slides, seeing something on video, or viewing printed materials.
There are different ways in which we best absorb information and learn and oftentimes, it is through a combination of different learning methods, that we learn the most.
In order to be a good corporate trainer, you will want to use different learning styles in what you teach. Make sure to include activities, visuals, and group discussion, in addition to your verbal teaching.
3. Time Management Skills
As a corporate trainer, time management skills are essential in order to be successful.
By being able to effectively manage your time, you can ensure that your training sessions are productive and efficient. Good time management can help you to:
- Prioritize tasks and priorities
- Schedule and plan training sessions effectively
- Allocate adequate time for each task
- Avoid last-minute rushes and stress
- Meet deadlines
- Be more organized
In essence, effective time management can help you to improve the quality of your training sessions and deliver results that meet the needs of your organization. It can also help you to reduce stress levels, both for yourself and your participants.
There are also many time management courses available that can provide you with the tools and techniques you need to improve your skills.
Alternatively, if you are looking to train managers, you can use these time management materials for trainers.
With effective time management skills, you can make a positive impact on your career as a corporate trainer.
4. Organizational Skills
Good organizational skills can make the training process more efficient and effective and save you a lot of time and stress.
As a trainer, you can find yourself dealing with HR departments, managers, the employees you are training, and those people involved in managing the facilities, i.e. the training room.
Then there are feedback forms that you hand each participant at the end of the training to get feedback to learn how to continually improve as a trainer.
The list of things you often need to do as a trainer is endless and, to be a good corporate trainer, the role demands good organizational skills!
5. Coaching Skills
Quite often, as a trainer, you will run a training session or workshop in which you guide participants to find the answers themselves, rather than necessarily directly teaching them.
In other words, you will find that for certain topics, you are in fact a ‘facilitator’ as opposed to a teacher.
Put another way, you will be coaching the employees and understanding how to be a good coach and how it varies from being a teacher can be useful.
6. Feedback Skills
Being effective at giving and receiving feedback is essential as a trainer.
Feedback is a crucial part of any training program, as it allows you as a trainer to assess whether or not your trainees are absorbing what you are teaching them, if they are progressing as they should, and if they are enjoying the training or not.
Making an effort also to gather feedback on how you, as the trainer, did at the end of each training session, is something I always recommend.
Make sure though to ask for the feedback near the end of the workshop to give them enough time to complete the feedback.
Furthermore, you might want to consider allowing the feedback to be given to you anonymously, i.e. without their name, and whereby they put the written feedback in a box.
This will increase the chance of useful feedback being received, as the participants will be able to give feedback without any concern over being identified.
Use this feedback whether it is good or bad, to improve and become the best corporate trainer you can be!
7. Research and Design Skills (for Course Materials)
You will inevitably need training materials and, if you decide that you prefer to design the training from scratch yourself, then you will need to use your research and design skills.
Designing your own training materials can be very time-consuming although, if you enjoy it, then it can be very rewarding.
Many trainers though choose to buy the training materials and save weeks of preparation.
You can start by reading 7 tips on how to design PowerPoint materials for providing training and these tips include making the design suitable for those with disabilities, color schemes, adding trainer notes, and the use of white space.
8. Subject Matter Expertise or Not?
As discussed in point five regards coaching, the situation is that you do not necessarily have to be an SME (Subject Matter Expert) in the topic you are teaching, although it is certainly an advantage if you are!
A lot of corporate trainers are asked to provide training on a range of topics that they have not taught before and they manage to provide a very good training session.
Providing great training can be about being a great trainer and then having the right materials to train from.
The key point is that, if you are an expert in a specific topic area and you plan to provide training in that area, then perfect. Just make sure that you consider the other seven points we are talking about in this blog post.
If you are not an SME, do not be put off from teaching a given topic because you can often teach the foundations of a given topic, particularly when it comes to workplace skills.
Dr Valeria (Lo Iacono) Symonds
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