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Best Training Practices
Will Kenny
3927 York Ave N
Robbinsdale, MN 55422

The Training Calendar You Need

your delivery calendar may not be your most important calendar

(reprinted from The Training Tipsheet)

For any given training client, whether an internal unit of your company, or an external client, if you are a consultant, you have a training calendar. By that I mean that you maintain a schedule of training events, and perhaps some additional deadlines and administrative details.

But there's a good chance that your calendar is incomplete. It is basically a delivery calendar, when what you need is a client contact, a relationship-building calendar.

It is not uncommon for training functions to limit their contact with their clients almost exclusively to event-centered matters, whether that is scheduling the event, handling logistics, or agreeing on the design for a new activity. Unfortunately, it is quite common to see long stretches between events where the training department or consultant and the client have little contact.

If that is happening with your training services, you may be missing opportunities to serve your client, and the company, better.

To begin with, concentrating most or all of your interaction with your clients around specific events or activities defines you in terms of delivery, and little more. Instead of thinking in terms of a relationship in which you and the client work together to identify training needs and develop responses, your client thinks in terms of what they order, and when and how cheaply you can fill their orders.

You, and the company, are better off when you deliberately schedule time with the client that is not tied to specific training delivery, when you break the client's habit of seeing you only when the details of the next seminar need to be nailed down. You simply need to talk about other things, and those other things are hard to get to when a specific event is tugging at your mutual attention.

What are the business issues your client is worried about? What changes do they anticipate in how they work, what adjustments do they have to make to evolving conditions in the industry? What can be done to keep the training function informed about the client's needs? What new training tools and approaches should the client know about?

To build a trainer-client partnership that provides the best results for the company's long term needs, find the time to look at the bigger picture. Talk about trends and possibilities. Have some "what if" discussions about what could be done differently. Work together, patiently, to create a vision of the client's greater success, a vision that builds on opportunities for better trained, more effective employees.

Develop context that wraps around individual training events. Continue the conversation with your clients throughout the year, not just when specific events loom on the horizon.

And don't rely on good intentions. Manage your contact with those you serve. Routinely, and explicitly, schedule time with them in the quiet periods between training events.

© 2011 Best Training Practices -- Will Kenny

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