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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

Ide O'Connell the corporate trainer in Korea

It’s time for another trainer’s corner interview and this time we are delighted to welcome a good friend of ours Ide, who lives in South Korea, where she works as a corporate trainer. Do not forget, if you want to be interviewed on Trainer’s Corner we’d love to hear from you.

Interview with Ide O’ Connell (B.B.S. & M.App Ling)

Tell us a little bit about yourself

I’m an Irish woman living in South Korea and teaching English here for many years. I had no experience of teaching before I came here or even a plan to stay longer than 1 year, but here I am 18 years later!

In many ways, it feels like home and I can’t think of another place I’d rather be right now. In my spare time, I enjoy going to the library (and we are lucky to have a fantastic selection of English books in my local branch), going to the park with my kids and of course watching Netflix!

How did you get involved with Freelance/Corporate Training

When I first started teaching in Korea, my students were all kids but I felt I wasn’t really suited to that. However, I found I really enjoyed teaching adults instead, so I started trying to get more private classes teaching adults through the well-known agencies here such as YBM or Carrot and just went from there really.

Group at a corporate training session in Seoul, South Korea.

What Subjects do you provide training on? Your Top 5?

Subjects that I’ve taught include:

I have also taught a couple of workshops on ‘Cross-cultural communication’, designed to help Koreans who have to deal with foreigners in a business environment.

What are the biggest challenges as a trainer?

Well, I suppose the biggest challenge as a freelance trainer is just getting work!

So many things fall through/get postponed or canceled at the last minute or too many things happen at the same time and then no work for weeks or months.

The other thing I don’t like about it is every day is your first day! You are always meeting new people in new places and teaching new things, which can be interesting but can also lead to some anxiety when you have no idea what the group dynamic is going to be like or how the subject matter will go down.  

What is your favorite part of being a trainer?

I enjoy the interaction with the trainees, even though it can be nerve-wracking beforehand sometimes for the aforementioned reasons, but 95% of the time it works out well and you finish the day with a warm round of applause or very positive feedback.

How do you identify the training needs of the employees or people you train?

Unfortunately, I don’t usually have much of an opportunity to do this in detail. Usually, all I can do is ask them in person or sometimes the agency will have done a survey in advance.

Your one tip on how to be a good trainer

Well, I think you have to be really prepared, and I also think you have to be engaged and entertain them a little!

An all-day email writing course is fun for no one if it’s all work and no play, so I usually try to tell them some personal anecdotes, they enjoy hearing about my ( Korean) husband’s email fails or my own!

My name ‘Ide’ sometimes gets auto-corrected to Die so I have actually unknowingly signed off emails like this! This encourages them while providing some connection between our two cultures.

Contact Ide

You can find ide here on LinkedIn. If you are in need of an English-speaking corporate trainer or teacher in Seoul, Korea, Ide would love to hear from you.

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Dr Paul Symonds

Paul is a trained researcher with a PhD in wayfinding. Paul is a co-founder of Symonds training. We focus on providing high-quality training materials packages and programs for trainers, classroom teachers and HR departments.

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