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Train the trainer provides participants with information and ideas on how to inspire and effectively develop individuals, and what factors need to be taken into account when planning and implementing a programme of training.

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20 Things Every Trainer Ought to Know Before Going Freelance

Article Overview:
Here's an article I wish I'd seen 10 years ago - it might have help me avoid some of the pitfalls I fell into!

Anecdotal evidence suggests that there is a lot of fluidity within the training industry at the moment, with many people considering becoming self-employed consultants at the same time (and conversely many returning to 'regular' employment).

If you've ever wondered about becoming a freelance trainer, this article really does provide some great advice and tips.

About

Article Overview:
Here's an article I wish I'd seen 10 years ago - it might have help me avoid some of the pitfalls I fell into!

Anecdotal evidence suggests that there is a lot of fluidity within the training industry at the moment, with many people considering becoming self-employed consultants at the same time (and conversely many returning to 'regular' employment).

If you've ever wondered about becoming a freelance trainer, this article really does provide some great advice and tips.

Opening Words:
1. The importance of having a business model.
For example, do you want to work as an associate only, direct only or a mixture of both? How much money do you need to earn to pay the bills? How many delivery days are realistically available once you take out time for holidays, marketing, networking, admin, self development, planning and preparation of course materials? What do you need to charge to ensure you get this? And is it realistic?

Knowing the answers to these questions right from the start saves a lot of heartache later on.

2. It is incredibly easy to waste money when you first start out.
Business cards, graphics, website, search engine ranking expert, brochures, networking events, business coaching – must haves or nice-to-haves?

It can be very easy to get carried away by everything, yet not everything needs deciding upon and investing in right at the beginning. For example, although a website is an incredibly effective way of marketing yourself, some of the most successful training consultants we know don’t even have a website! So, only buy the essentials you need to run your business – and save the rest for when you have more cash.

Suitable Reading For:
Anyone considering becoming a freelance trainer.

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30 Ways to Separate a Group into Small Teams

Article Overview:
This article lists 30 energising or unusual methods for splitting your large group of participants into small teams.

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Article Overview:
This article lists 30 energising or unusual methods for splitting your large group of participants into small teams.

Opening Words:
During a training course it is usually desirable to split participants into small teams; for example, when you want to run a syndicate exercise or break participants into small discussion groups.

There are some very easy ways of splitting participants into small teams – for example you can go round your group giving them all a number and asking all the ‘1s’ to get together, and all the ‘2s to get together etc. With a little imagination though, you can also use these team creation moments as opportunities to create mini energisers that get your participants on their feet.

Here are 30 energising or unusual methods for splitting your large group of participants into small teams.

Useful Reading For:
All trainers.

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A Funny Thing Happened To Me On The Way To A Training Course

Article overview:
Phil Hawthorn shares some amusing anecdotes from his experiences as a trainer, demonstrating that there are some things that trainers just can't prepare for!

About

Article overview:
Phil Hawthorn shares some amusing anecdotes from his experiences as a trainer, demonstrating that there are some things that trainers just can't prepare for!

Opening words:
Those of you lucky enough to hear Dr Peter Honey’s stories at last years Trainers’ Library conference will know that things can go decidedly off track, however experienced or famous you are. We have all the right intentions, but then the world, the equipment or the delegates (bless them) contrive to make things difficult. Peter’s story about having the best intentions of not interfering too much, did work most of the time (his Activist training style did annoy some delegates, he said). Until one day he left a course group for 45 minutes, visiting a bank in the local town, but ended up two hours late returning. Why? He had been caught in a bank robbery, and whilst being held by the armed gang, and then being questioned by police, his car was clamped.

I have yet to be caught up in a robbery, but many things have stopped me in my tracks. I started a time management course for eight young participants ...

Useful reading for:
Trainers and anyone else who wants to be entertained!

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Accelerating Learning

Article Overview:
In this article, Nick Heap considers the way children learn, and the implications this has for trainers.

About

Article Overview:
In this article, Nick Heap considers the way children learn, and the implications this has for trainers.

Opening Words:
It is clearly observable that very young people learn extremely effectively if given half a chance. We almost all learned how to walk, talk, handle tools, control our bodily functions and get our needs met in complex social situations, by the time we were three years old. This is an astonishing achievement.

It is also observable that our ability and willingness to learn new things tends to fall off dramatically as we get older, certainly when compared to that of our earliest years. This learning 'gap' has been assumed to be inevitable and biological, therefore unchangeable. This seems a pessimistic point of view. This article explains why and gives some directions for bridging the 'gap'.

Useful Reading For:
All trainers.

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Becoming Business Savvy - Top Tips for Trainers Going it Alone

About this Article:
In this article, Rod shares some of the experience he gained from launching and building a successful training business and provides some top tips to those seeking to become self-employed training consultants for the first time.

About

About this Article:
In this article, Rod shares some of the experience he gained from launching and building a successful training business and provides some top tips to those seeking to become self-employed training consultants for the first time.

Opening Words:
One of the paradoxes of recession is that, just when it’s hardest to run a successful business, more people become self-employed for the first time. Between August and October 2011, 166,000 more people became self-employed, raising the total to 4.1 million – the highest number since records began. And it’s a trend that’s likely to have continued in 2012.

It’s easy to see why more people become self-employed during recessions. Recessions motivate people to go it alone because there’s often a ‘perfect’ combination of push (loss of job security or forced changes like redundancy) and pull (the attraction of doing something you’ve always wanted to, but were a little bit scared to).

So, with many trainers taking the plunge into self-employment for the first time, I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on how to become a business savvy trainer in a crowded market:

Useful Reading For:
Anyone who has recently become a self-employed training or learning and development consultant or is thinking about going down this route.

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Burnt-Out or Fired-Up?

Article Overview:
This is a great new article from Mandy Green of the Matchett Group that looks at some of the unique challenges of the training role. Mandy offers some clear advice and tips for managing the more stressful aspects of the job. A must-read for all trainers!

About

Article Overview:
This is a great new article from Mandy Green of the Matchett Group that looks at some of the unique challenges of the training role. Mandy offers some clear advice and tips for managing the more stressful aspects of the job. A must-read for all trainers!

Opening Words:
A trainer’s life is not always a happy one, as one of our colleagues found when, after a very long journey, he arrived at a hotel in Siberia in the early hours of the morning to give a training course the next day. The taxi had driven away, the hotel staff denied all knowledge of his room reservation or the training course, then proceeded to rip him off by over-charging for the booking that he had to make with his own credit card.

Other worst-case scenarios include: arriving at the venue to find the course materials have not turned up; arriving at the venue, only to be told that the venue has been changed; there’s also ‘the show must go on’ syndrome, when, despite feeling at death’s door, you still run the course; and finally, and not least, when there are tears, tantrums and aggression - from delegates: (this can occur in soft skills courses, where some fairly tender areas can be probed) which you have to deal with professionally. Being hurtled around from airports to train stations, dealing with cancelled flights and trains, or spending long hours driving, are also par for the course in a trainer’s life.

Useful Reading For:
A must-read for all trainers.

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Catching a Coach

About this Article:
Jeremy Thorn takes a look at Executive Coaching, who it applies to and who may be missing out on the benefits of said coaching.

About

About this Article:
Jeremy Thorn takes a look at Executive Coaching, who it applies to and who may be missing out on the benefits of said coaching.

Opening Words: 
Whom do you think might benefit the most from an opportunity for Executive Coaching? Would it be just for those who show promising career potential, do you think, or could there be others? And although coaching has become increasingly popular over the last 10 years, is this the only alternative to a more formal programme of management development? It doesn’t have to be!

Useful Reading For:
Anyone interested in introducing executive coaching to their organisation or in being coached.

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Choosing Who You Work With

About this Article:
In this article, Bill Lucas argues that smart people care about who they hang out with. He points to evidence that suggests that the main indicator of children's success in school is not their teacher or their class group but the peer group they chose to spend time in the lunch queues with.

About

About this Article:
In this article, Bill Lucas argues that smart people care about who they hang out with. He points to evidence that suggests that the main indicator of children's success in school is not their teacher or their class group but the peer group they chose to spend time in the lunch queues with.

Opening Words:
What are your colleagues like? Do you work among friends? Do you get on well with your boss? Do you number “enemies” among those you work with? How many times have you wondered whether you could wave a magic wand and make certain people vanish from your life?!

At first sight you might appear to have little choice about who you work with. You are given a manager and you have to work in certain teams over which you have little control. But stop and think for a moment. Is this really the case? While you have to work with a few people, are there not many opportunities for choosing your colleagues? Smart people care about who they hang out with, although possibly not along the lines of Wilde’s whims. (I read an interesting example of this truth recently. It described research into children’s achievements levels at school. It turns out that the main indicator of their likely success is not their teacher or their class group but the peer group they chose to spend time in the lunch queues with!)

Useful Reading For:
Everyone.

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Coaching and Coach Training in the Workplace

About this Article:
In this article, Carol Wilson, looks at:
1) How the workplace is changing from authoritarian bosses and jobs for life towards self-directed learning and portfolio careers.
2) How the Virgin empire was built using a coaching culture..

About

About this Article:
In this article, Carol Wilson, looks at:
1) How the workplace is changing from authoritarian bosses and jobs for life towards self-directed learning and portfolio careers.
2) How the Virgin empire was built using a coaching culture..

Opening Words:
Over the last fifty years the world has moved from an authoritarian society – where figures such as priests, fathers and bosses were obeyed without question – towards self directed learning. Society has seen rebellious teenagers, the debunking of religion, and an end to jobs for life. People are making their own decisions, portfolio careers are becoming more common, and companies are moving away from consultancy towards coaching.

Coaching at work is sometimes regarded as the latest fad. Companies are falling over themselves to provide their senior and middle managers with personal coaches, and to train them in coaching skills.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone involved in providing or receiving coaching in the workplace.

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Coaching and Mentoring in Learning Organisations

Article Overview:
In this lengthy article, Graham Guest looks at the need for learning organisations in the modern world, and what defines a learning organisation. He goes on to look at the importance of mentoring and learning in learning organisations and provides a clear and interesting distinction between the two.

About

Article Overview:
In this lengthy article, Graham Guest looks at the need for learning organisations in the modern world, and what defines a learning organisation. He goes on to look at the importance of mentoring and learning in learning organisations and provides a clear and interesting distinction between the two.

Opening Words:
The world is witnessing rapid changes in the way we work and learn. The effectiveness of traditional organisational structures is being questioned and new ‘buzz-words’ are entering our vocabulary. We talk about the global economy, the knowledge-society, and the networked company.

One approach to dealing with change is that of the learning organisation, where learning holds the key to both economic prosperity for the organisation and personal well-being for the individual. The traditional, and somewhat mechanistic, techniques of management and supervision are being supplemented with, and in many cases replaced by, a more holistic approach involving the processes of coaching and mentoring.

In this paper I describe the features and benefits of a learning organisation and explore how coaching and mentoring form an integral part of the model.

Useful Reading For:
Trainers and anyone interested in developing a learning organisation.

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Coaching Feedback for Managers

Article Overview:
In this article, Carol Wilson looks at four key areas of feedback: Positive feedback, negative feedback, receiving feedback and coaching feedback.

About

Article Overview:
In this article, Carol Wilson looks at four key areas of feedback: Positive feedback, negative feedback, receiving feedback and coaching feedback.

Opening Words:
Feedback is often regarded as the most difficult part of a manager’s job. However, in a coaching culture, negative feedback is experienced in a positive way; as an opportunity for making new discoveries rather than blame.

Positive feedback is an energy raiser for the giver as well as the receiver. However, it must be authentic and genuine or it will be dismissed as worthless.

People often say that they only hear feedback when something is wrong. However, it costs nothing to tell people when they have done well, or give a simple thank you. Both will make the recipient feel more valuable and raise their confidence. Self-belief is vital for success, and praise, when it is deserved, builds confidence and motivation to achieve more.

It is great to give positive feedback in public; it gives people a real boost to be singled out and admired for what they have achieved. There are also two possible areas for caution here:

Useful Reading For:
Managers, including first time managers, and anyone who wants to develop their ability to give, or receive, constructive feedback.

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Coaching for Excellent Performance

Article Overview:
In this article, Graham Guest looks at the importance of coaching as a holistic method of managing performance. He explains the role of the coach and the coaching relationship.

About

Article Overview:
In this article, Graham Guest looks at the importance of coaching as a holistic method of managing performance. He explains the role of the coach and the coaching relationship.

Opening Words:
Many businesses proclaim that their people are their greatest asset. This is an attractive idea, particularly to the assets themselves. Some of the businesses making this statement actually believe it. Of those that believe it some will try to put the philosophy into practice.

This might seem like a cynical opening to an article, but it is true that if we observe businesses closely we see that manipulation and control are still the favoured tools of management. Kofman and Senge (1995) ask, 'Why do we confront learning opportunities with fear rather than wonder? [...] Why do we create controlling bureaucracies when we attempt to form visionary enterprises?' They suggest that the main dysfunctions in our institutions - fragmentation, competition, and reactiveness - are actually by-products of our success over thousands of years in conquering the physical world and in developing our scientific, industrial culture.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone involved in providing or receiving coaching in the workplace.

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Co-consulting

Article Overview:
The article explains what co-consulting is and gives some useful hints and advice for using co-consulting effectively.

About

Article Overview:
The article explains what co-consulting is and gives some useful hints and advice for using co-consulting effectively.

Opening Words:
I sometimes find trying to help people, groups and an organisation change and develop a lonely and stressful business. I would rather it was fun more of the time! It has been hard to think about what needs to be done and to overcome my own feelings of powerlessness. These feelings are very common among people who work in organisations; as trainers, consultants or managers. This has certainly been my experience both as an internal and external consultant. Some years ago a colleague and I found a way through these difficulties that worked for us. I have been using it for years and would like to share it with you.

In its simplest form, two people take turns helping each other. For say half an hour one person is the client and works with the other who is her/his consultant. The consultant and client can use any method that the client is willing to try. The consultant will need to listen to the client well first to understand the nature of the problem or issue before moving to a method. Often just listening attentively and asking questions is enough.

Useful Reading For:
All trainers and consultants.

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Considering E-Learning?

Article Overview:
This guide is for anyone considering implementing e-learning within their organisation. It considers the importance of a blended learning solution and highlights some of the advantages and disadvantages of both classroom and technology based learning.

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Article Overview:
This guide is for anyone considering implementing e-learning within their organisation. It considers the importance of a blended learning solution and highlights some of the advantages and disadvantages of both classroom and technology based learning.

Opening Words:
Many organisations have clear strategies when it comes to classroom-based learning. They may even have developed a series of generic courses covering specific phases of development - for example middle management or first time leadership. Very often classroom based training is delivered through a combination of internal resource and external suppliers.

When it comes to e-learning, fewer organisations have such a clear strategy. Some may have discarded it as an option, preferring to stick to solutions that have worked in the past. Others may have attempted to replace classroom based solutions with 'e-learning' without fully considering the implications of such a strategy for the individual learner and the organisation as a whole.

Useful Reading For:
This guide is for anyone considering implementing e-learning within their organisation.

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Continuing Professional Development for the 21st Century

Article Overview:
This article by Graham Guest looks at the importance of continuing professional development in the modern world, and looks at the link between personal and professional development.

About

Article Overview:
This article by Graham Guest looks at the importance of continuing professional development in the modern world, and looks at the link between personal and professional development.

Opening Words:
We are all used to hearing about the rapid pace of technological and organisational change and the fact that there is no longer such a thing as a job for life. Just a few decades ago the main focus in a person's career was likely to be on initial education and training, and too many people were lulled into believing that their first post-secondary academic qualification, like their job, would fit them for the whole of their working life.

The main focus now, especially for professionals, is on the necessity to keep learning and developing our skills, knowledge and understanding throughout life. True professionalism relies increasingly on an ability to respond quickly and effectively to technological and organisational change, as well as to changing market conditions, client requirements, government policies, and national and international regulations. In the context of work, a major aspect of lifelong learning is continuing professional development (CPD).

Useful Reading For:
This is relevant to everyone in the workplace.

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Continuing Professional Development in the Workplace

Article Overview:
In this article, Graham Guest considers the view that a job can no longer be considered for life and the implications of this for continuing professional development in the workplace.

About

Article Overview:
In this article, Graham Guest considers the view that a job can no longer be considered for life and the implications of this for continuing professional development in the workplace.

Opening Words:
It is not so long ago that a person joining a company - particularly a large organisation - could expect a job for life. The way into a company for a professional was through a period of academic study followed by, or combined with, structured training. After this the individual would generally follow a clearly defined path of progression in his or her chosen field of employment. Continuing professional development (CPD) was regarded at best as an optional extra to be undertaken according to the needs or wishes of the individual or to meet some short-term requirements of the company. At worst CPD was felt not to be important and additional training was given at random to use up training budgets or to make staff feel that they were wanted. "John hasn't been on a training course lately; isn't it about time we sent him on one?"

Useful Reading For:
This is relevant for all personal development in the workplace.

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Creating a Training and Development Strategy

Article Overview:
In this article Sheila looks at the repercussions of not having an effective training and development strategy. She uses a nine point component plan to highlight areas that should be covered within a strategy, and suggests some of the questions that need to be explored as part of its development.

About

Article Overview:
In this article Sheila looks at the repercussions of not having an effective training and development strategy. She uses a nine point component plan to highlight areas that should be covered within a strategy, and suggests some of the questions that need to be explored as part of its development.

Opening Words:
The purpose of a training and development strategy is to co-ordinate all aspects of the function in such a way as to ensure that the purpose, goals and targets of an organisation are given an appropriate level of training and development support, by the appropriate part of the organisation.

A useful way of defining such a strategy is that:
• It describes the actions to be taken,
• Over a period of time,
• To ensure maximum effectiveness from the appropriate level of training activity,
• And to set that training activity within the context of clearly stated organisational goals.

Suitable Reading For:
Anyone involved in training and development.

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Creating an Optimum State for Learning

Article Overview:
In this enjoyable and article, Kimberley Hare considers the importance of a resourceful state when learning. She looks at the importance of facilitator's creating learning environments that are high challenge but low stress, providing helpful insights into how this can be achieved.

About

Article Overview:
In this enjoyable and article, Kimberley Hare considers the importance of a resourceful state when learning. She looks at the importance of facilitator's creating learning environments that are high challenge but low stress, providing helpful insights into how this can be achieved.

Opening Words:
Remember a time when you were tired, lethargic and bored. Are you going to learn well in this state? Now imagine that you are extremely anxious and worried - perhaps even a little fearful. A different state to be sure, but again not one in which much learning will take place. These are not resourceful states - it's like you're operating on only a small number of cylinders rather than your full engine power!

Sadly, in classrooms and training venues throughout the world, even as you read these words, many people are tired, lethargic, bored or anxious, worried and fearful. And they will be learning very little - other than perhaps how much they dislike learning.

Useful Reading For:
All facilitators of training sessions.

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Developing Facilitation Skills

Article Overview:
Debra Pittam's article looks at how you can develop your facilitation skills.

About

Article Overview:
Debra Pittam's article looks at how you can develop your facilitation skills.

Opening Words:
What is Facilitation?
Facilitation is the process of enabling and guiding a group of people to collaboratively determine and/or achieve their goals through the skills, attributes, methods and processes provided by the facilitator and those within the group. Facilitation ensures that groups benefit from what they both share and the diversity that they each bring to the group.

Useful Reading For:
All trainers.

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Do You Have What it Takes to Become a Freelance Trainer?

Article Overview:
This useful article is aimed at anyone who is considering taking the step into self-employment as a freelance trainer. It looks at the pros and cons of being a freelance trainer and gives the reader a useful summary of things to consider before making the move.

About

Article Overview:
This useful article is aimed at anyone who is considering taking the step into self-employment as a freelance trainer. It looks at the pros and cons of being a freelance trainer and gives the reader a useful summary of things to consider before making the move.

Opening Words:
One of the consequences of the current economic downturn is that many companies are making staff redundant. When times are tough, training is often one of the first things that organisations cut back on (even though we know this is misguided). However, this may be a blessing in disguise for corporate trainers who have been toying with the idea of going freelance for years, but have never quite got round to it. Being made redundant and forced to step out of your comfort zone could be the kick-start needed to take your first serious steps towards self-employment.

As a freelance trainer of 5 years I can testify to the many advantages of this way of life:

Useful Reading For:
Anyone who has ever considered becoming a freelance trainer.

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Drawing People In

Article Overview:
This is a great article from Martin Shovel, that explains why pictures are so important in communication, and how that knowledge can help the trainer.

About

Article Overview:
This is a great article from Martin Shovel, that explains why pictures are so important in communication, and how that knowledge can help the trainer.

Opening Words:
Imagine this nightmare scenario… You're caught short in a foreign city, many miles from home. You don't speak the lingo and they don't speak yours. You're desperate to find the nearest loo. What do you do?

A recent mobile phone TV ad came up with an elegant solution. Before going on your trip, you load pictures of everything you might need onto your mobile camera phone. So now when you feel the urge, relief is at hand. All you have to do is flash a picture of a toilet at a passer-by.

In a situation like this pictures leave words standing – they are the ultimate lingua franca because they resemble the things they represent. In some circumstances a picture can even fool us into believing it is the thing itself. Think of one of those hyper-realistic trompe l'oeil paintings. You know it's only a picture but suddenly a painting of a bowl of fruit makes your mouth water and you're tempted to reach out for a non-existent strawberry. The brushwork looks for all the world like a real strawberry's blood brother but turns out to be a stranger – a case of mistaken identity.

Useful Reading For:
All trainers.

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Drawing Sensation

Article Overview:
In this article, Martin explains how drawings can engage more than just the eyes, and how they can be used to enhance training programmes in ways you may not have previously considered.

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Article Overview:
In this article, Martin explains how drawings can engage more than just the eyes, and how they can be used to enhance training programmes in ways you may not have previously considered.

Opening Words:
Most people who come along to our 'think like a cartoonist' workshops already recognise the value of cartooning as a tool for engaging visual learners. Some of them are keen to develop their drawing and visual thinking skills because they're aware of the predominance of vision over all the other senses. After all, vision is definitely king of the sensory castle, with around half the brain devoted to processing visual information. It’s an astonishing thought that, of the 11 million pieces of information we take in each second through our five senses, 90% of them enter our brains directly through our eyes.

But people attending our workshops are often surprised to discover that cartoons appeal to more than just the visual sense – they can make you feel things, hear things, smell things, even taste things too. In fact, drawing can be a truly multi-sensory tool for teachers, trainers and communicators of all kinds. A bold claim, you might think, so let me back it up with some science.

Useful Reading For:
All trainers.

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E-learning - A Performance Appraisal

Article Overview:
This article from Peter Honey was first published in 2001, but it remains pertinent today. For anyone involved in implementing an e-learning solution, it will help you identify some of the questions you should be asking of your potential suppliers.

About

Article Overview:
This article from Peter Honey was first published in 2001, but it remains pertinent today. For anyone involved in implementing an e-learning solution, it will help you identify some of the questions you should be asking of your potential suppliers.

Opening Words:
E-learning, in its current form, has been with us now for two or three years (preceded by CBT) and enthusiasm from government, organisations and providers shows no signs of abating. The hype is such that we could all be forgiven for thinking that e-learning is the equivalent of manna from heaven – a timely, life-saving miracle for which we should all be deferentially grateful. The claims made for the effectiveness of e-learning, in particular the sheer convenience of delivering it to where people are (as opposed to expecting them to come to it), make e-learning sound as if it is The Answer with other forms of learning suddenly being ridiculed as clumsy, old fashioned and expensive.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone involved in, or interested in E-learning.

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Employing Disabled People - The Business Case

Article Overview:
In this, the second of three articles for Trainers' Library, Rick Williams considers the business case for employing disabled people. Disabled people are nearly seven times more likely to be out of work. Rick looks at the reasons for this, and highlights the reasons for being more proactive in attracting disabled people as an employer.

About

Article Overview:
In this, the second of three articles for Trainers' Library, Rick Williams considers the business case for employing disabled people. Disabled people are nearly seven times more likely to be out of work. Rick looks at the reasons for this, and highlights the reasons for being more proactive in attracting disabled people as an employer.

Opening Words:
Bob Niven, Chief Executive of the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) recently said that “. . some employers are beginning to recognise the business case for employing disabled people. On the other hand, there is a gap between aspirations and intentions - that is, in translating policies into practical workplace procedures.”

The 2001 Managing Disability At Work survey of more than 200 employers found that few went beyond simple approaches to employing disabled people. For example, whilst 72% had a policy on employing disabled people only 40% had a system to monitor it. There also appears to be a gap between the attitudes of HR professionals and line managers. The former can introduce a policy of employing disabled people but the line managers, who have to implement it, don’t necessarily see things the same and often resist employing disabled people by using a range of tactics, e.g., citing health and safety as a problem.

Useful Reading For:
Managers and recruitment personnel.

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Engage Participants in Reviewing What They're Learning

Article Overview:
In this article Rod Webb considers the importance of review sessions within learning events, and offers some ideas for engaging and energising exercises that will help make learning stick.

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Article Overview:
In this article Rod Webb considers the importance of review sessions within learning events, and offers some ideas for engaging and energising exercises that will help make learning stick.

Opening Words:
The periods set aside for review within any learning event are some of the most important. If you doubt this, consider for a moment that without review, up to 80% of the detail of what we learn is lost within 24 hours . Participants however, don’t often appreciate the impact the review periods have on their overall learning. Simply asking participants to spend 15 minutes reviewing what’s been covered so far might be an approach that works for reflectors, but it is unlikely to engage activists, or indeed pragmatists.

A bland review session can suck energy from a session and dampen enthusiasm for the learning event. On the other hand, a well planned and presented review session can be engaging, involving and in many cases energising. Indeed, combining energisers with review is an extremely effective use of the periods in an event where attention starts to flag and lethargy begins to creep in. Always remember, monotony and learning are not good bedfellows – irrespective of what the Victorians thought!

Useful Reading For:
All trainers.

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Fads and Fallacies: Why HR Needs a New Learning Science

Article Overview:
In this article Bill Lucas looks at the merits of 'learning fads' like blended learning, brain-based learning, kinaesthetic training and emotional intelligence, and briefly considers the evidence that supports these.

About

Article Overview:
In this article Bill Lucas looks at the merits of 'learning fads' like blended learning, brain-based learning, kinaesthetic training and emotional intelligence, and briefly considers the evidence that supports these.

Opening Words:
Once upon a time we thought learners were all “blank slates” just waiting to be written on. Consequently teachers and trainers spent much time filling their pupil’s heads with facts. Then, during the last century we “discovered” psychology and began to explore the role of personal experience in learning. And in the1980s and 90s, at the same time as rapid advances in neuroscience, especially safe brain-scanning, whole new horizons of possibility opened up as we began to understand the true complexity of the mind’s operating systems.

Disillusioned with classroom training, many in HR have recently turned to the burgeoning hordes of providers offering solutions which promise to be more effective than the old, largely discredited techniques. Offering “accelerated learning”, “brain-based learning”, “kinaesthetic training”, alternatives to IQ like “emotional intelligence”, and, in the last few years, “bite-sized” and “blended” learning, many have played fast and loose with their evidence base. But the training world has largely swallowed their marketing hype and not bothered to check out the science on which is based.

Useful Reading For:
All trainers.

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Favourite Mnemonics and Formulas

Article Overview:
Peter Honey has always been attracted to simple memory jogs and this article explains some of his favourites.

Do you want to know how ABC encapsulates the basis of behaviourism?

Or the significance to performance of C + W + A = D?

Or, how D + V + F > R can help to explain the success or otherwise of a change programme?

Read Peter Honey's article and find out.

About

Article Overview:
Peter Honey has always been attracted to simple memory jogs and this article explains some of his favourites.

Do you want to know how ABC encapsulates the basis of behaviourism?

Or the significance to performance of C + W + A = D?

Or, how D + V + F > R can help to explain the success or otherwise of a change programme?

Read Peter Honey's article and find out.

Opening Words:
I have always been attracted to simple memory jogs. In the far off days when I used to have to revise for exams, I was totally dependent on a whole string of mnemonics that I invented for myself and hurriedly jotted down in the margin of set papers - even before I had read the questions! Those particular mnemonics have faded (probably a good thing because some of them were rather rude!) but today I still find mnemonics and formulas very useful. I’d like to share four of my favourites in the hope that they will be useful to you and encourage you to invent some of your own.

Useful Reading For:
Everyone.

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Feel the Fear and Draw it Anyway!

Article Overview:
In this article Martin Shovel looks at the benefits of being able to use pictures during training in order to get the point across, and asks why trainers don't use this skill more often.

About

Article Overview:
In this article Martin Shovel looks at the benefits of being able to use pictures during training in order to get the point across, and asks why trainers don't use this skill more often.

Opening Words:
It's well known that public speaking is top of the 'greatest fears' pops. Incredibly, most people would literally rather die than stand up and talk to an audience.

My experience of teaching drawing has revealed another little-recognised but widespread terror capable of reducing its victims to a blubbering jelly within seconds – the fear of drawing, especially in public.

But trainers speak in public for a living – surely, pens and flipcharts don't faze them? Wrong! Even the most confident trainers blanch and gulp loudly when invited to perform with a pen.

Useful Reading For:
All trainers, especially those who use or are thinking about using images in their training.

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Generation Y and Learning in the Workplace

Article Overview:
In this article, George Edwards, who sadly passed away in 2009, looks at the unique characteristics of those born between 1981 and 2000 and considers the implications of these for training.

About

Article Overview:
In this article, George Edwards, who sadly passed away in 2009, looks at the unique characteristics of those born between 1981 and 2000 and considers the implications of these for training.

Opening Words:
Generation Y, those born from 1981 to 2000 (and those aged 18 and over) comprise about 10% of our present (UK) workforce. For the first time in history, we have in our workforce a generation that has more experience in an essential workplace skill than their parents! This is the wired generation, a generation that has grown up regarding certain technologies not as "strange" (as did the boomers) or "something to be learned" (as did their parents) but as basic, essential, and the first choice as a way to do something.

They are also the "Google Generation"; they have learned that they do not need to attend any one place or seek out any one source of knowledge. They do not regard information or knowledge as something they have to acquire permanently, as it is always available to them. Knowledge itself has very limited value to them; if they need to know something, they can "Google it" when they need to know it. What they do with such knowledge is far more important to them than the knowledge itself. Much of the knowledge they acquire is "disposable", that is to say acquired for a purpose, used, but not retained beyond its use-by date.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone responsible for learning in the workplace.

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Houdini Moments

Article Overview:
In this article, Steve Marriott looks at how we can break away from the conventional coaching techniques to transform the world of coaching.

About

Article Overview:
In this article, Steve Marriott looks at how we can break away from the conventional coaching techniques to transform the world of coaching.

Opening Words:
The world of coaching is changing. Successful people the world over will at some point talk about a great coach or mentor who has helped and inspired them on their way to fame. So why is it that ‘coaching’ is still seen in many organisations as something to be avoided? Do you work in an organisation where to be ‘coached’ means to be ‘performance managed’?

We all want to be better at something in our lives; perhaps you want more of (maybe less of) something in your life, but from time to time we find ourselves ‘stuck’, procrastinating or simply unable to move forward with our dreams and desires.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone who wants to develop their coaching skills, or better understand the role of the coach.

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Human Capital Management Predicts Stock Prices

Article Overview:
This article suggests that the way we manage people has a clear knock on effect on an organisation’s ability to outperform its competition and provides evidence to support this argument.

About

Article Overview:
This article suggests that the way we manage people has a clear knock on effect on an organisation’s ability to outperform its competition and provides evidence to support this argument.

Opening Words:
In 2001 and 2003, under the auspices of our sister company (Bassi Investments, a registered investment advisory firm), we launched two different investment portfolios based on our research finding that, as a group, firms that invest a significant amount in training and developing their employees subsequently outperform the market. In Table 1 (on the next page), we refer to these portfolios as Portfolios A and B.

Useful Reading For:
Training professionals, line manager and senior decision makers within in any organisation.

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Improving the Quality of Workplace Learning

Article Overview:
In this article Dr. Peter Honey, considers the increasing emphasis on workplace learning. He looks at the differences between formal and informal workplace learning and offers advice on how to harness the benefits of informal learning.

About

Article Overview:
In this article Dr. Peter Honey, considers the increasing emphasis on workplace learning. He looks at the differences between formal and informal workplace learning and offers advice on how to harness the benefits of informal learning.

Opening Words:
There is a welcome and increasing emphasis on the importance of workplace learning. It saves time and money to have learning come to where people are, rather than them having to go to it. Working and learning go hand in hand as totally complementary activities. In fact any activity, whether or not you call it ‘working’, generates experiences - and experiences are the staple diet of learning. Working is learning and Learning at Work Day, promoted by the Campaign for Learning, is an admirable way to remind everyone that learning happens at and through work.

There are two sorts of workplace learning – formal and informal. Formal learning, for example a course undertaken in a real or virtual ‘classroom’, carries a clear learning label. Participants are in no doubt that a course is a contrived experience designed to achieve certain learning outcomes (this does not, however, mean that they will always learn what they are supposed to learn!). Formal learning experiences tend to be organised and have a clear beginning, middle and end.

Useful Reading For:
All trainers and anyone involved in workplace training.

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Induction Training Using Technology - Part 1

Article Overview:
This article is the first in a series of three that looks in detail at induction. In this article, Diane Bailey examines the nature of induction and why it is so important. The article contains a useful tables indicating what needs to be included in any induction programme.

About

Article Overview:
This article is the first in a series of three that looks in detail at induction. In this article, Diane Bailey examines the nature of induction and why it is so important. The article contains a useful tables indicating what needs to be included in any induction programme.

Opening Words:
Much time, energy and money is spent in recruiting staff. Why then does the effort and commitment so often fail during the very early days of an individual’s employment? Possibly because too much is left to, and expected of, line managers who are not trainers and how have many competing demands and priorities.

The first few days of induction is the period during which staff decide whether to stay or go. It is also the period during which the organisation has a chance to demonstrate clearly its values and quality standards, including those which relate to staff issues. This period is largely responsible for shaping the potential of each individual as an employee. In practical terms, the wrong impression created during those first few vital days and weeks will negate much effort devoted to other retention tactics and ploys such as pensions and staff restaurants.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone wishing to ensure that induction training is effective and serves both the organisation and individual well.

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Induction Training Using Technology - Part 2

Article Overview:
This article is the second in a series that looks in detail at induction. In this article, Diane Bailey looks in detail at how induction at House of Fraser was changed to meet the needs of the business.

About
Article Overview:
This article is the second in a series that looks in detail at induction. In this article, Diane Bailey looks in detail at how induction at House of Fraser was changed to meet the needs of the business.

Opening Words:
In the late 1980s and early 1990s the strategic repositioning of the company required new attitudes and performance standards from employees. Quite simple, the old ways were good, but not good enough if House of Fraser was to continue to be the ‘best store in town’.

The company realised that the opportunity to influence the attitude and behaviour of employees, and their perception of the company, is never greater than at the time of induction. It had clearly identified the need to make induction as effective as possible. The link between induction and quality service was clearly recognised. A corporate induction pack was seen as a way to establish standards across the company.

The project brief detailed a package which would:

• Establish the quality blueprint for induction across the store group.
• Provide a corporate structure and approach for induction which would allow individual store personality to be reflected, providing for local details and information to be added where necessary.
• Identify and define the responsibilities of the training department, line management and the new recruit for the effective implementation of induction.
• Provide materials and tools for the trainer, line manager and new entrant, including video and text materials.
• Emphasise and reinforce the partnership necessary between the training department and line management in providing effective induction training.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone wishing to ensure that induction training is effective and serves both the organisation and individual well.

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Induction Training Using Technology - Part 3

Article Overview:
This article is the third in a series that looks in detail at induction. In this article, Diane Bailey looks at the implementation of a public sector induction programme.

About

Article Overview:
This article is the third in a series that looks in detail at induction. In this article, Diane Bailey looks at the implementation of a public sector induction programme.

Opening Words:
As part of a review of training needs, one public sector body with which we worked had identified a need to improve the way in which managers carried out the induction of new staff at Head Office and in its 40 plus geographically dispersed branches. Circumstances and resources were such that induction had to remain a local responsibility. It was decided to support local induction by the development of a corporate induction package, using self-study and distance learning methods. The required package was also to provide guidance for line managers on carrying out induction.

The main purposes of the induction package were to:

• Establish corporate standards of induction.
• Smooth the preliminary stages of settling into a new job.
• Establish quickly a favourable attitude in the minds of new staff, so that they are more likely to stay with the department.
• Obtain effective output from new staff in the shortest possible time.
• Communicate to new staff the organisation’s values and standards.
• Deliver core induction knowledge.
• Equip line managers to manage effective induction.
• Use training technology both to improve the quality of induction training and to reduce the demands made on local managers.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone wishing to ensure that induction training is effective and serves both the organisation and individual well.

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Learning and the Bottom Line

Article Overview:
In this article Peter Honey ponders why he is often asked to make the business case for learning.

About

Article Overview:
In this article Peter Honey ponders why he is often asked to make the business case for learning.

Opening Words:
Has anyone ever asked you to prove that breathing contributes to the bottom line? Or small talk or smiling or thinking – or countless other things we all do each day just by virtue of being alive? I don’t expect so. Then why, I wonder, am I so often asked to make the business case for learning? In other words, to prove beyond reasonable doubt that work based learning (let us assume that the learning in question is ‘good’) has a beneficial impact on the financial performance of a business.

Frankly, whenever I’m challenged on this I keep outwardly calm but underneath I experience feelings of mild exasperation. Nothing life threatening, but sufficient to set me wondering why such an ostensibly respectable question should give rise to any negative feelings at all – especially since I firmly believe that negative feelings are things we ‘choose’ to have. It seems silly to succumb to unpleasant feelings of irritation when, instead, I could choose nicer feelings such as being intrigued or fascinated or even pleased to be consulted on such a weighty matter.

Useful Reading For:
All trainers.

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Learning Styles – Do they Matter and is it Possible to Please All the Learners, All the Time?

Article Overview:
In this article, Rod asks you to consider if learning styles really matter, and if so, can we meet the needs of each learning style without compromising the needs of others.

About

Article Overview:
In this article, Rod asks you to consider if learning styles really matter, and if so, can we meet the needs of each learning style without compromising the needs of others.

Opening Words:
I suspect that almost everyone reading this article will know something of Honey and Mumford’s timeless learning styles model, which identifies four key learning preferences. But do learning styles matter?

In short, yes. If we’re involved in learning design, they matter because if we disregard the needs of different learners, we’ll fail to engage all of our learners; indeed, we’ll risk alienating some learners from the whole learning experience.

Useful Reading For:
All trainers.

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Learning to Play or Playing to Learn?

Article Overview:
In this article, Nicki Davey challenges the preconceptions and stereotypes many hold about senior people and encourages all learners to be given the opportunity and permission to play.

About

Article Overview:
In this article, Nicki Davey challenges the preconceptions and stereotypes many hold about senior people and encourages all learners to be given the opportunity and permission to play.

Opening Words:
Some years ago I was asked to run a training course for all the staff, managers and trustees of a large charity. I met the CEO to discuss the course and mentioned that I would use a collage-making activity early on in the day to identify and explore some of the key issues and her response was, “But we’ll have senior managers and board members on the course – I really don’t think that cutting and sticking is a suitable activity for them, do you?” My answer was, “Actually, yes, I do”, and I explained to her how collage-making is a whole brain activity involving visual imagery, physical activity, talking and listening, and organising ideas and how it breaks the ice, helps people talk about a difficult subject in a safe way, is a great leveller, and generates a rich discussion. Her response was a somewhat cynical, “Well on your own head be it,” - she clearly thought this was a BAD idea!

Useful Reading For:
All trainers.

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Lifelong Learning for the Global Networked Society

Article Overview:
This article by Graham Guest considers the changing patterns of work and learning and explores how they are forming the basis of a newly emerging global networked society.

About

Article Overview:
This article by Graham Guest considers the changing patterns of work and learning and explores how they are forming the basis of a newly emerging global networked society.

Opening Words:
Professionals have normally become qualified as a result of a period of formal education followed by, or integrated with, a structured training programme. They have then followed this initial formation stage with continuing professional development (CPD). We are however beginning to see a breaking-down of this traditional pattern and its replacement with a process of lifelong learning. Such learning is formal, non-formal and informal and undertaken in a variety of ways. The development and application of a wide range of information and communications technologies (ICT) means that people can learn where, when, what and how they want. In addition the focus of learning is moving away from the teacher and towards the learner.

These changes in the structure of learning are being accompanied by changes in the patterns of work. No longer can a person be guaranteed a job for life and indeed the very concept of the 'job' is being called into question. The emphasis now is on flexibility and portfolio careers, where the individual develops a range of knowledge, skills and understanding to apply to new situations as they arise. The convergence of learning and work is seen in the concept of the learning organisation and other forms of learning community such as the learning city. Societies, along with work and learning, are becoming more and more globalised, and individuals are increasingly regarding themselves as members of a number of inter-relating networks.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone responsible for learning in the workplace.

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Memories Are Made Of This

Article Overview:
This is another excellent article from Martin Shovel in which he explores what makes things memorable. He compares two stories reported by the BBC about Sudan and asks why we remember one so clearly and not the other.

About

Article Overview:
This is another excellent article from Martin Shovel in which he explores what makes things memorable. He compares two stories reported by the BBC about Sudan and asks why we remember one so clearly and not the other.

Opening Words:
Why do we remember some things effortlessly and yet struggle desperately to remember others? It’s as if some experiences are covered in Velcro, while the rest are coated in Teflon. What makes this even more frustrating is that many of the most important things we have to remember are resolutely non-stick. Can an understanding of these differences help us make what we say – and write – more sticky?

One of the stickiest and most widely read internet news stories of 2006 came out of Sudan. It instantly caught the public’s imagination when it was first reported on the BBC News website. Even today, some two years later, it’s still being picked up by various web forums and being emailed across the world.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone who wants to make sure their communication has impact and is remembered.

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Move Closer

Article Overview:
In this article Martin Shovel suggests that showing our own vulnerability in the classroom may be no bad thing - an all-knowing, flawless trainer may be just the opposite of what a diffident learner needs.

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Article Overview:
In this article Martin Shovel suggests that showing our own vulnerability in the classroom may be no bad thing - an all-knowing, flawless trainer may be just the opposite of what a diffident learner needs.

Opening Words:
Brains can be shy, emotional creatures when it comes to learning. If they don't feel secure, they'll stay curled up inside the safety of their skulls, spurning the advances of the outside world. Successful learning is not just about managing information or knowledge, it's also about dealing with feelings – our feelings and the feelings of those we work with in the training room, lecture theatre or classroom.

Openness to learning is about sharing vulnerability. Some people feel almost naked when they go into an unfamiliar learning situation and are often convinced that they are the only ones in the group protecting their dignity with little more than a fig leaf. An all-knowing, flawless trainer, or teacher, might just be the opposite of what the diffident learner needs.

Useful Reading For:
All trainers.

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New Light On PowerPoint

Article Overview:
In this article, Martin Shovel considers why "PowerPoint Presentations that Changed the World" ranks so highly on the list of books that will never be written.

About

Article Overview:
In this article, Martin Shovel considers why "PowerPoint Presentations that Changed the World" ranks so highly on the list of books that will never be written.

Opening Words:
Why does PowerPoint Presentations that Changed the World rank so high on the list of books that will never be written? Perhaps the clue is in the title. PowerPoint has been with us for over 20 years but during that time it has gained more of a reputation for sending the world to sleep than changing it.

Great orators, past and present, have managed to weave their magic with words alone. Would Nelson Mandela’s statement at the opening of his trial have been more powerful, or Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech more moving if they’d been delivered as PowerPoint presentations?

Useful Reading For:
All trainers and coaches who use Powerpoint.

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Not Going Away and Feeling Good

Article Overview:
In this article, originally published in Training Magazine in August 2004, Bill Lucas shares his ideas about what learning and education could/should look like in the future.

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Article Overview:
In this article, originally published in Training Magazine in August 2004, Bill Lucas shares his ideas about what learning and education could/should look like in the future.

Opening Words:
It’s that time of year again. The summer holidays are upon us. Everyone I want to talk to has gone away to exotic places. And the people I am less keen to spend time with suddenly seem to want to chat to me.

But this year is different. For I have recently become the father of twins and have no intention of even trying to go anywhere. Just thinking about what would be involved in taking a teenage son and his newly arrived baby brother and sister anywhere other than where we live sends me into a paroxysm of unholiday-like feeling.

Useful Reading For:
All trainers.

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Out of the Mouths of Babes...

Article Overview:
In this interesting article, Martin Shovel looks at the nature of language and the way we categorise things. He shows why basic level words and concepts are so important when trying to communicate effectively.

About

Article Overview:
In this interesting article, Martin Shovel looks at the nature of language and the way we categorise things. He shows why basic level words and concepts are so important when trying to communicate effectively.

Opening Words:
In the Marx Brothers’ film, Duck Soup, there’s a scene in which Rufus T. Firefly (played by Groucho Marx) is handed a Treasury Department report while attending his first-ever Cabinet meeting as leader of the fictional country of Freedonia.

When asked if he finds the report clear, Firefly replies, “Clear? Huh! Why a four-year-old child could understand this report.” He then turns to his secretary and instructs him to “run out and find me a four-year-old child. I can’t make head nor tail out of it.”

Useful Reading For:
Anyone who wants to be able to develop their ability to communicate powerfully through presentations or writing.

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Performance Coaching and Training in the Workplace

Article Overview:
This article from carol Wilson looks at:

1) What is coaching?
2) What coaching does.
3) What coaching managers do.
4) Where did coaching come from?
5) What is a coaching culture?

About

Article Overview:
This article from carol Wilson looks at:

1) What is coaching?
2) What coaching does.
3) What coaching managers do.
4) Where did coaching come from?
5) What is a coaching culture?

Opening Words:
A sea of confusion surrounds the term ‘coaching’ in business today. The expression has not even made its way into dictionaries yet, where ‘coach’ is defined simply as ‘tutor’ and yet there is nothing new about the practice other than its name. Socrates was the earliest identified exponent, when he wrote:

“I cannot teach anybody anything – I can only make them think.”

This quote relates to the underlying principle of coaching, termed self-directed learning, sometimes described as self-managed learning.

Coaching helps people to communicate more clearly and in a way that is simply more comfortable. In this modern world of change – the seemingly constant buying, selling and merging of global corporations – and virtuality – teams working together while spread over different parts of the country or indeed the world – communication can be the oil in the wheels or the rust that stops them from turning.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone interested in developing their understanding of performance coaching or wishing to implement a coaching culture within their organisation.

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Playing the Role

Article Overview:
This excellent article from Edward Harbour looks at the benefits of using role play in training (as well as the dangers), and the key rules to follow to ensure role play is successful.

About

Article Overview:
This excellent article from Edward Harbour looks at the benefits of using role play in training (as well as the dangers), and the key rules to follow to ensure role play is successful.

Opening Words:
Role play, skills’ practice, rehearsal for life, whatever you want to call it, has been a part of trainers' toolkits for a long time. Used well, it can be an extremely effective way to embed learning, clarify principles and measure levels of skill and knowledge. A good role play experience can leave us enriched, rewarded and encouraged. However, a bad experience of role play can cause us damage and make us feel very wary about future use.

We can't legislate for all bad experiences, sometimes things happen which are beyond our control but we can take heed of some basic Guiding Principles to help ensure that most, if not all, role play experiences are as good as they possibly can be.

Useful Reading For:
Any trainer who wants to introduce role play into their training sessions.

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Playing with Feeling and Playing to Learn

Article Overview:
In this article Paul Ackerley discusses how to implement the ‘Affective Domain’ technique in role-plays.

About

Article Overview:
In this article Paul Ackerley discusses how to implement the ‘Affective Domain’ technique in role-plays.

Opening Words:
In a previous article I talked about the value that can be gained from Affective Learning Methodologies, and the reluctance of some trainers to use such methodologies. One such methodology is the role-play, and in this post I will give a brief run through on how to do it well.

Some role-plays are very tightly scripted or structured – almost being the acting out of a scenario, or a simulation – and such activities are not intended to, nor are they likely to, achieve any affective based learning.

In order to create learning through the use of the Affective Domain, the role-play needs to be as unstructured as possible – and even then there is no guarantee it will achieve this. As the title suggests, it needs to involve ‘play’. We first learn to ‘play’ as children – and this generally takes place within very loose parameters, generates feelings and is one of the principle ways for children to develop their understanding of the world around them. Not unlike a good role-play!

Useful Reading For:
All trainers/learning and development professionals.

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Purposeful Presentations

Article Overview:
In this article, Martin Shovel looks at the importance of purpose when designing a presentation.

About

Article Overview:
In this article, Martin Shovel looks at the importance of purpose when designing a presentation.

Opening Words:
The road to lacklustre presentations is paved with good intentions. It often begins with a positive desire to stop navel-gazing and get stuck into the business of getting the job done, or it may simply be a response to the pressure of time.

But unfortunately, the impulse to dive straight into your material and start writing masks a serious confusion between purpose and content that inevitably results in presentations that lack focus, clarity and impact, and leave an audience gasping for air.

Useful Reading For:
Trainers and anyone interested in developing their presentation skills.

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Reviewing By Numbers

Article Overview:
In this article, Roger Greenaway looks at different methods that can be used for reviewing learning, and considers the appropriateness of different methods to different sizes of learner groups.

About

Article Overview:
In this article, Roger Greenaway looks at different methods that can be used for reviewing learning, and considers the appropriateness of different methods to different sizes of learner groups.

Opening Words:
What is the best sized group for reviewing? 1? 2? 3? 6? 10? 16? 24? 30? 100? This article looks at the problems and possibilities of reviewing with different group sizes - from 1 to 100.

Working in large groups seems to describe situations in which people are working in small groups with lots of people nearby who are also working in small groups. Why is it that the larger the reviewing group, the greater the chances that people will end up in the smallest of groups - reviewing in pairs, or even on their own?

Useful Reading For:
Anyone involved in the development of others.

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Reviewing for Development

Article Overview:
If your work is about personal development, social development, team development, leadership development, management development, or 'anything' development you should find some useful ideas and tips in this article from Roger Greenaway about reviewing for development.

About

Article Overview:
If your work is about personal development, social development, team development, leadership development, management development, or 'anything' development you should find some useful ideas and tips in this article from Roger Greenaway about reviewing for development.

Opening Words:
Much advice about reviewing (or debriefing) assumes that the main purpose is to facilitate learning. So what should you do differently when the emphasis is on facilitating development?

One (partly right) answer is that development arises as a direct result of what is experienced during the 'activity' and that learning mostly happens after the activity when reviewing the experience. For example, the sense of achievement on completing a rock climb happens as the climber completes the final move. Such achievements have an impact on development - whether or not much learning arises directly from the achievement. It is during reflection and review after the climb that the climber can learn more from the experience than was possible while engrossed in the climbing. The climber may learn through feedback during a review that their communication was poor or that their recklessness was endangering others, or during a review they may learn how they can also control other fears in other situations. A review can take learning in many directions that were not fully apparent at the time of the developmental experience.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone involved in the development of others.

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Supplying the Third Sector

Article Overview:
In this article Nicki Davey shares her experience of training in the third sector from both sides of the fence.

About

Article Overview:
In this article Nicki Davey shares her experience of training in the third sector from both sides of the fence.

Opening Words:
In response to recent Training Zone discussions about supplying training to the third sector (i.e. charities and not-for-profit organisations such as housing associations, social enterprises and community interest companies), here are some observations based on my own experience as a training provider and my previous experience as Head of Learning and Development for a large national charity.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone interested in providing training to the Third Sector.

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The Affective Domain - A Little More Detail

Article Overview:
In this article Paul Ackerley discusses the ‘Affective Domain’ and the impact this can have on learning.

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Article Overview:
In this article Paul Ackerley discusses the ‘Affective Domain’ and the impact this can have on learning.

Opening Words:
Since writing a couple of times about matters connected to the Affective Domain of Learning, I have had a discussion with one trainer who informed me that it was not covered at all in their course – I find that concerning.

I believe that a trainer is missing a vital tool if they do not understand and use the Affective Domain.

So, what exactly is it? Well, the Affective Domain (together with the Cognitive and Psychomotor Domains) came about as a result of work by Benjamin Bloom and other colleagues.

Useful Reading For:
All trainers/learning and development professionals.

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The Differences Between Coaching and its Related Fields

Article Overview:
This is a superb article from Carol Wilson, Head of Accreditation at the Association for Coaching and essential reading for anyone interested in coaching and performance coaching.

About

Article Overview:
This is a superb article from Carol Wilson, Head of Accreditation at the Association for Coaching and essential reading for anyone interested in coaching and performance coaching.

Opening Words:
Carol Wilson, Head of Accreditation at the Association for Coaching, and Gladeana McMahon, Fellow of the Association for Coaching, explore the differences between coaching and the related disciplines of counselling, psychotherapy, mentoring and consulting. Coaching draws its influences from and stands on the shoulders of a wide range of disciplines, including counselling, management consultancy, personal development, and psychology. However, there are a number of core differences which distinguish coaching from its related fields. This article is based on a chapter of the book ‘The Handbook of Best Coaching’, produced by the Association for Coaching and available at a reduced price of £20 on www.associationforcoaching.com.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone involved in coaching who wishes to explore the origins and influences of coaching.

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The History of Coaching and The Need for Accreditation

Article Overview:
In this article, Carol traces the development of coaching since the psychology of Freud and Jung, through Maslow, Perlz, Gestalt Therapy, Solution Focused Belief Therapy, Gallwey and Whitmore.

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Article Overview:
In this article, Carol traces the development of coaching since the psychology of Freud and Jung, through Maslow, Perlz, Gestalt Therapy, Solution Focused Belief Therapy, Gallwey and Whitmore.

Opening Words:
The principles of coaching have been identified for thousands of years, as far back as in the works of Socrates, who famously wrote:

"I cannot teach anybody anything - I can only make them think".

The twentieth century saw rapid developments in the field of psychology and, towards the end of it, the foundations of modern coaching emerged. Until the 1940s, psychology focussed on identifying problems and fixing what was wrong, notably through the work of Freud and Jung. A major shift then occurred through the work of psychologists such as Abraham Maslow and Fritz Perlz.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone involved in providing coaching who wishes to explore history of coaching.

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The Key to Productive Evaluation

Article Overview:
In this article Paul Ackerley provides 10 key questions to ask before undertaking an evaluation of a training or learning event.

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Article Overview:
In this article Paul Ackerley provides 10 key questions to ask before undertaking an evaluation of a training or learning event.

Opening Words:
When managing a project or delivering training it is important that we know what our manager, sponsor or client needs from us. Clarity is required. Without it we are unlikely to deliver a good quality product.

There is exactly the same requirement when undertaking an evaluation of a training or learning event. But for some reason evaluators often obtain the information they think is appropriate rather than what the sponsor requires.

Here are the 10 key questions to ask your sponsor in order to unlock their exact requirements and ensure you deliver what is required:

1. Do you require statistical or anecdotal data? A person requiring statistical information probably wants to be able to scientifically back up the findings ensuring it is provable and measurable. If the sponsor prefers anecdotal information they may well be looking for thoughts and impressions as to how it appears to others.

Useful Reading For:
All trainers/learning and development professionals.

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The Power of Story Telling in a Presentation

Article Overview:
Stories can be a powerful addition to training, enabling trainers to get key points across in a memorable, interesting way. This article from Indian author R. G Srinivasan, identifies some of key rules for using story-telling in presentations.

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Article Overview:
Stories can be a powerful addition to training, enabling trainers to get key points across in a memorable, interesting way. This article from Indian author R. G Srinivasan, identifies some of key rules for using story-telling in presentations.

Opening Words:
Appealing to emotions is the most powerful way to transfer learning in an information-cluttered training event or presentation. A compelling story woven with a lot of information in the telling with a conclusion that appeals to emotions, can permanently etch the learning in an otherwise unresponsive training or meeting-fatigued audience.

From childhood, we learn through stories, be it Grandma's tales, reading stories in books, or from stories narrated to us in schools and by friends. We remember them better than the thousands of lectures and classes we have attended.

So what are the elements of a powerful story and how does it work?

Useful Reading For:
All trainers and anyone who delivers presentations.

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The Trainer's Lament

Article Overview:
The Trainer's Lament, providing a humorous and insightful view of the changes that have occurred in training, was delivered in Peter Honey’s inimitable psalm-like style at the TJ Awards in June 2006. Everyone joins in with the ‘chorus’!

About

Article Overview:
The Trainer's Lament, providing a humorous and insightful view of the changes that have occurred in training, was delivered in Peter Honey’s inimitable psalm-like style at the TJ Awards in June 2006. Everyone joins in with the ‘chorus’!

Opening Words:
Oh, I used to love doing my own thing. Now I’m expected to identify performance gaps and carry out learning needs analyses to ensure I deliver high value learning that supports key business needs.

Oh, it’s a shame, it just isn’t the same.

Oh, I used to love it when running a course was the answer to absolutely everything. Now I’m expected to question this and consider alternative solutions such as work-based learning, coaching and e-learning.

Oh, it’s a shame, it just isn’t the same.

Useful Reading For:
All trainers.

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To the Affective and Beyond...

Article Overview:
In this article Paul Ackerley discusses the use of ‘Affective Domain’ as a powerful tool in learning environments.

About

Article Overview:
In this article Paul Ackerley discusses the use of ‘Affective Domain’ as a powerful tool in learning environments.

Opening Words:
Buzz, Woody and co. made a welcome return in 2010 in Toy Story 3.

It is a quite brilliant film, with the ability to appeal to both young and old, but, whilst it appears that Toy Story 3 appeals to all ages, I think it’s one of those films where the adults get more emotional than the children, and the children probably do not always understand why the parents are getting all tearful – so some explanation or meaning may be required.

As many trainers know, this could be a great example of some affective learning. I’m also aware that many trainers know very little about the affective domain, and even when they do they are reluctant to use it. This is often due to the perception of such scenarios being complicated to de-brief, or that they may lose control of what takes place and not be able to gain the learning.

Useful Reading For:
All trainers/learning and development professionals.

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Tools of the Trade

Article Overview:
This article was first published in Training Journal in September 2007. In it, Carol Wilson considers the need for coaches to add new tools to their toolbox and gives an overview of models like Situational Leadership and Myers Briggs.

About

Article Overview:
This article was first published in Training Journal in September 2007. In it, Carol Wilson considers the need for coaches to add new tools to their toolbox and gives an overview of models like Situational Leadership and Myers Briggs.

Opening Words:
Coaching is fundamentally a simple process: A way of being and communicating that is aided by a small number of guidelines and rules. It is perfectly possible, and indeed quite common, to deliver a session which can literally change the course of someone’s life or business using no more than the foundation coaching skills of listening, questioning and clarifying, supported by structured coaching models like GROW and EXACT for goal setting.

After mastering the basics, coaches usually start to discover other tools, which may be nearer or further away from pure coaching but which can be useful when applied in conjunction with it.

How this often happens is that new coaches come up against various challenges in their first few months of sessions, so they research, read or talk to other coaches and hear of methods and techniques which have helped others in the same position. Extra training seems called for but it is not cheap, and few of us have an abundance of time these days to do courses, never mind practise to become proficient, in which case the new learning will soon be all forgotten. So how do we decide which of the many tools available we should choose to follow up?

Useful Reading For:
Coaches and anyone wishing to develop their coaching skills further.

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Trainer Styles

Article Overview:
In this article Peter Honey considers the impact our own preferred Learning Styles have on our behaviour as trainers.

About

Article Overview:
In this article Peter Honey considers the impact our own preferred Learning Styles have on our behaviour as trainers.

Opening Words:
At HRD Week Olympia, I was invited to run a session on Trainer Styles and their implications for successful training delivery. The title I was given was posed as a question (rather like an exam), Successful training delivery: Is it a question of style? I offered an immediate answer which went something like this, ‘Yes, but only in part. Success also depends on other factors such as relevant content, timely content, the willingness of learners, the ability of learners, resources, the learning environment and so on’.

Despite this multi-faceted view, I have no doubt that we tend to underestimate the influence of our styles as trainers. It is relatively easy to concede that, left unchecked, our learning style preferences will spill over into our behaviour as trainers. However, consciously intervening to do something about it is another matter.

Useful Reading For:
All trainers.

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Trainers as Internal Consultants - Part 1

Article Overview:
In this first in a series of articles she wrote about consultancy, Diane Bailey looks at the situation in which trainers working as internal consultants will have to work, including the new relationship they will have with colleagues.

About

Article Overview:
In this first in a series of articles she wrote about consultancy, Diane Bailey looks at the situation in which trainers working as internal consultants will have to work, including the new relationship they will have with colleagues.

Opening Words:
More and more in large organisations, in both the public and private sector, training and development staff are being required to act as internal consultants. This is often a significant shift in relationships for both training and development staff and the line managers and others, with and for whom, the will be required to work. A consultancy/client relationship is very different from that of a service department providing for the needs of others. Consultancy is about providing help and assistance, working with the client, rather than for them, and the consultancy relationship gives the client much more choice than the classic service department scenario.

Many trainers are currently being asked to play this new role with very little preparation.

Useful Reading For:
Any internal trainer who's been asked to take on a more of a consultancy role, or anyone involved in implementing a change in trainer's role to involve more consultancy.

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Trainers as Internal Consultants - Part 2

Article Overview:
In this, the second part of the article, she considers the further skills and abilities required by trainers who operate as internal consultants, such as problem solving and project management.

About

Article Overview:
In this, the second part of the article, she considers the further skills and abilities required by trainers who operate as internal consultants, such as problem solving and project management.

Opening Words:
In part 1 of this series of articles, Diane Bailey looked at some of the changes required of trainers who need to operate as internal consultants. She discussed some of the possible dilemmas or pitfalls which might affect the changed relationships and some of the skills needed for effective internal consultancy.

In this, the second part of the article, I will consider the further skills and abilities required by trainers who operate as internal consultants, such as problem solving and project management. Additionally, I will look briefly at some of the dos and don'ts and introduce and explain the continuum of consultant behaviours identified by Schmidt and Johnson during some work they did at ICI. Their work related to the use of external consultants, but the behaviours and their use are equally applicable to the situation and work of an internal consultant.

All consultancy work is about change; much of it is about problem solving. The trainer as internal consultant can help the client move systematically through the problem-solving process by contributing to the following tasks and asking appropriate questions.
• Diagnosing the situation: What are the forces for change? What are the forces resisting change? Who are the champions? Who are the opposers?
• Assessing readiness for change: How strong are the various forces for and against? How realistic is change under existing conditions? What can both the client and internal consultant do to make change possible?
• Identifying goals for change: What outcome or result is required? What degree of change is possible? What action seems appropriate at this point?

Useful Reading For:
Any trainer who's been asked to take on more of a consultancy role, or anyone interested in developing their consultancy skills.

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Trainers As Internal Consultants - Part 3

Article Overview:
The conclusion to this insightful set of three modules about trainers' use of consultancy skills. In this article, Diane Bailey looks at the process of consultancy with each of the stages clearly identified.

About

Article Overview:
The conclusion to this insightful set of three modules about trainers' use of consultancy skills. In this article, Diane Bailey looks at the process of consultancy with each of the stages clearly identified.

Opening Words:
Every consultancy project or assignment is different but each follows the same stages and involves the same processes. These are:
• Initial contact.
• Diagnosis.
• Contracting.
• Planning.
• Intervention.
• Evaluation.
• Withdrawal.
• Follow up.

Useful Reading For:
Any trainers interested in developing their consultancy skills or in making the transition from 'trainer' to 'training consultant'. Anyone interested in developing their understanding of the consultancy process.

Although the processes are described separately, they are not necessarily discrete stages. For example, it may be necessary to plan the assignment or project and use that plan to negotiate resources during the early contracting stage.

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What Are Your Clients Teaching You?

Article Overview:
This is an interesting article from Olivia Stefanino which considers the opportunities coaches have for learning from their clients. Does coaching also provide an opportunity for coaches to 'look in the mirror'?

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Article Overview:
This is an interesting article from Olivia Stefanino which considers the opportunities coaches have for learning from their clients. Does coaching also provide an opportunity for coaches to 'look in the mirror'?

Opening Words:
One of the characteristics that sets great coaches apart from their more average colleagues is an attitude of open-mindedness, curiosity and a willingness for self-examination. And one of the quickest places to discover more about you, your attitudes and your hidden strategies is to look at the kind of clients you tend to attract.

While you might be forgiven for thinking that you’re there to help your clients, there’s always some kind of “energy exchange” (beyond money), that can offer you some rich insights into what’s going on in your own life.

Of course, it goes without saying that when you’re working with a client, it’s only right and proper that you focus all of your time, energy and attention on him or her.

Useful Reading For:
Coaches and coaching managers.

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What Coaching Is and How It Works

Article Overview
In this article Carol Wilson explains the essential coaching skills and the five levels of listening. This is a really good introduction to performance coaching from a well-respected author.

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Article Overview
In this article Carol Wilson explains the essential coaching skills and the five levels of listening. This is a really good introduction to performance coaching from a well-respected author.

Opening Words:
Although the use of the term ‘performance coaching’ is a relatively new development over the last 20 years, there is nothing new about the skills themselves and they can be identified as far back as in the writings of Socrates, who said, “I cannot teach anybody anything; I can only make them think”.

Performance coaching (which expression includes life, career, fitness, business, executive, finance and any other category of coaching in the modern sense of the word) is about communicating in a way that enhances understanding, clarity, awareness, responsibility, self-belief and productive relationships.

The essential coaching skills are:
• Active listening.
• Questions that enhance self-directed learning.
• Clarifying.
• Goal setting.
• Shifting perspective.
• Holding the coachee accountable.
• Effective feedback.
• Creating trust and empathy....

Useful Reading For:
Anyone who wants to learn about using performance coaching in a work environment for the first time.

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What is It You Do Exactly?

Article Overview:
Ever wondered what a ‘Business Coach’ actually does? This article from Sheila Williams will help you understand what they do and what they can do for you.

About

Article Overview:
Ever wondered what a ‘Business Coach’ actually does? This article from Sheila Williams will help you understand what they do and what they can do for you.

Opening Words:
There I am, sitting around a table at a breakfast networking meeting for owners of small businesses. The other seven are looking earnestly at me.

“So, Sheila, what’s your line of business then?”

“I’m a business coach.”

There’s a pause.

“Is that like you give advice to people, tell them how to run the business better?”

“Er no…” I start to say.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone who'd like to have a better understanding of the role of a business coach.

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Why is a Training Needs Analysis So Important?

Article Overview:
In this article, Jeff DeLay from the Matchett Group explains why Training Needs Analyses form such a vital role in the training cycle. The article considers market pressures, how to get buy-in to planned training, and the benefits of an effective TNA approach.

About

Article Overview:
In this article, Jeff DeLay from the Matchett Group explains why Training Needs Analyses form such a vital role in the training cycle. The article considers market pressures, how to get buy-in to planned training, and the benefits of an effective TNA approach.

Opening Words:
There is often a gap between ‘want’ and ‘need’. The board might say that they want their staff to be competent in the following areas to achieve a certain goal. But when you talk the people themselves, they may well highlight a completely different need in order to reach that same end. The initial thinking behind the training has to be validated.

For example, the company might be planning a management development programme; but after analysing the views of the people who would receive the training, it might well be discovered that what is actually needed is communications skills training.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone involved in planning training and development.

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Why Learning at Work is Getting More Informal

Article Overview:
This is an excellent article from Bill Lucas that considers the importance of informal learning in the workplace.

About

Article Overview:
This is an excellent article from Bill Lucas that considers the importance of informal learning in the workplace.

Opening Words:
According to the 2001 National Adult Learning Survey1, 48% of all formal learning is provided by employers. This is more than universities and colleges combined, reminding us that workplaces are very significant providers of formal learning opportunities. And, according to the same survey, 74% of all employees receive some kind of training in any one year. Or put another way, 26% of employees received no formal training at all. I doubt that the figures are much different today in 2005. But what about the amount of informal learning going on? According to all of the research carried out, we can be certain of one thing; there is much much more of it than of the formal stuff!

Useful Reading For:
Anyone responsible for learning in the workplace.

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