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Throughout three decades of delivering coaching and mentoring seminars to thousands of aspiring professionals, I have often been asked one question: “What does it take to be a truly inspirational trainer?”
My answer, back then and to this day, is detailed below. To get there, I studied the habits and routines of successful managers who invested time, money and energy to organisational mentoring programmes designed to assist students and graduates with their personal development.
But that could only take me so far. To discover what created true inspiration, I also had to look within. I began thinking seriously of the people in my life who had impacted positively on my personal growth. I realised that the people who had inspired me were all people who I had developed huge amounts of trust with.
So, with no further ado, here are seven tips to being an inspirational trainer. The good news is that anyone with passion, following the principles of H.E.A.R.T., can become an inspirational trainer by following these seven tips. The bad news is that there are no shortcuts.
1. Make the time — The world is constantly speeding up, and there are more distractions by the second. Trainers who make time to help and develop both their students and one another will distinguish themselves from the rest of us staring at our mobile phones. Make the time.
2. Be patient — It’s easy to forget that not everyone has your wealth of experience. It takes time to develop new skills and understand new concepts. Modelling patience with your students is a key technique to develop trust and create genuinely inquisitive minds.
3. Be professional — Always demonstrate the highest standards of ethics, behaviour, work performance, punctuality, and manners. Where appropriate, dress sharply. While it’s good to be down-to-earth with your students, demonstrating the peak excellence to be achieved as a professional in your field will create a lasting impression and produce inspired students. Expect excellence from your students.
4. Develop good questioning and listening skills — Being able to frame effective questions to encourage others to develop their thinking and problem solving skills is much more powerful than simply giving them your answers. Effective communication with students will increase student engagement with the subject, and student engagement correlates directly with student motivation.
5. Develop Emotional Intelligence — In today’s competitive education marketplace, EQ is essential for commercial success. Coaches, mentors and trainers can assist students tremendously by developing EQ skills such as etiquette, protocols, managing emotions in self and others, and negotiating. Inspirational trainers must also model these behaviours.
6. Encourage goal setting — As an inspirational trainer, you need to help your students zoom out and get a bigger picture about what possibilities lie ahead. What are your students’ aspirations and hopes? What are their lifelong dreams? Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are successful careers. Help your students plan their career trajectory by encouraging them to set realistic, staggered goals for future success.
7. Follow up, follow through — Taking the time to provide continuous encouragement and feedback to your students, to help them stay on track with their goals and objectives, will set you apart from the pack. Whether it’s throughout the course, or prior to a key assessment, simple follow-ups like an email can radically shift your students’ desire to succeed.
Founding Director — VM Learning / aXcelerate