They are the last link in an often very long chain of conception, arrangements and measures for the perfect design and organization of a leadership development program: trainers! They interact directly with the participants of a program and are responsible for anchoring of content and initiation of behavioral change. If they are located all over the world, a well-grounded train the trainer process is indispensable for the success of big international programs. We explain four practical measures for your successful train the trainer process.
Trainers as stakeholders
Usually, trainers have a burning passing for passing knowledge and skills and are therefore – just like board members, HR, employees and training participants – important stakeholders for international programs. For a successful program it is always important to involve all relevant stakeholders.
In this context, experienced and competent trainers are crucial because they do have to bring not only concept and content to the training participants but also desired values and aspects of the company culture. Therefore they have to be close to the country and culture they train in but also have to really understand the project and related goals, the organization and its values and specifics. Otherwise you risk that they work in all conscience in the classroom but, however, do not contribute to the intended program goals.
In order to make sure that all involved trainers around the globe know about the specifics and work at the same level of quality, international programs need a well-grounded train the trainer process. During this process the trainer team has to deal with the organization and the training content, they adapt themselves to each other and the organization and find a common understanding of work. On top, they learn from each other and can improve the whole program from module to module.
4 practical train the trainer measures
Usually, in the briefing process you start with the general project information and the standard content, then you proceed with specifics and intercultural differences and adaptions.
In practice, measures can be:
1. Nominate a master trainer
Master trainers are trainers who already did a certain program or module several times and who are a perfect fit with the organization. With being master trainer they take over a lot of responsibility since they contribute a lot to the success of all other trainers. They function as briefing authority as well as sparring partner for the complete roll out and all other trainers.
2. Clear communication of expectations, job description and project status
Especially if you have to design and roll out a completely new program, trainers potentially need to be willing to invest a lot of time and efforts for the first runs. If this fact isn’t clear and they estimate for example standard contents and procedures they “just” have to deliver, you risk frustration and therewith quality loss alongside the common path.
Examples for these intensive first efforts: new conception of topics based on an organization’s needs, time resources for briefing and train-the-trainer measures, translation and adaption of training material, awareness of travel times, …
You don’t have to overact it but detailed documentation is indispensable in a train the trainer process.
4. Exact documentation
This is another fact you should keep in mind from the beginning of a project. Accurate and extensive documentation – starting with order, briefing and organizational specifics up to session outlines, exercise design and, of course, any kind of feedback from participants or other stakeholders – contributes to a trainer team’s success and ensures that quality rises continuously.
!! Practical tipp !!
The interactive learning management system Promote® has proven itself extremely valuable in this context. Therefor we do not only use if for leadership trainings but also for train the trainer processes and have very good experience with it. With the online platform you can store any important information at one place accessible from all over the world at any time and you easily overcome time and location boards in order to allow the trainers to connect with each other and even important contact persons from the organization, if necessary. You can define common and individual goals and therewith make the whole process transparent and measurable.
4. Encourage networking
The trainers doing the modules in Amsterdam should know who are the ones doing it in Vienna and in Milan in order to be able to interact, compare notes and learn from each other. To support that you can schedule common exchange session – for example via Skype – before and after each module to encourage consequent learning as well as common solutions for any challenges during the project. Therewith the trainers can kind of coach each other and rise the overall training performance consequently. If regular meetings are too complex or too much of a time investment you should at least schedule them after the first modules to know: What did work well? Which parts of the content or concept are difficult? How valuable are chosen exercises and examples for the participants and which ones should better be changed?
Train the trainer measures are an important component when it comes to conception and realization of international leadership training programs. If you plan in a foresighted way and take to heart some of the measures above you have the chance to gain valuable multipliers for your own organizational culture and to have a share in real change of behavior as well as reach of desired results.
What serves you next?
Survival of the fittest – Only those survive who optimally adapt to their environment or who are able to procreate in spite of adverse circumstances. Darwin’s principle is still valid for nature and, in the figurative sense, also for modern organisations who have to sustain their position in a complex environment of digitalisation, globalisation and therewith a constantly changing world of work and customers.
The targets are clear, all relevant stakeholders expressed their commitment and up to the board everyone is convinced of the necessity of the upcoming program. Next stept is the concrete conception and desing of your program. Especially when it comes to international development measures, there are a lot of potential pitfalls alongside the road. We identified the most commong of them and added useful ingredients of success right from our practie.
Since decades there are leadership programs for leaders and sales programs for sales managers. In terms of the development of experts you find comparatively few specific offers and programs. Even more surprising if you think of the fact that the experts’ importance is constantly rising in nowadays knowledge society and that they can give a boost to an organisation’s innovation potential.