Excuses, excuses …

January 15, 2017

This isn't a podcast, it's just me making excuses for not having finished editing this month's cast ... plus, a short explanation as to why I am maybe thinking about changing the name of the podcast

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The before and after: how to deliver a training programme where everyone wins

November 15, 2016

Despite our best efforts, our thorough preparation, and our fantastic facilitation, sometimes training programmes don't go as well as we hope. Sometimes people turn up with quite different expectations of what the event is all about, or they feel like political prisoners who have been coerced into attending by managerial pressure, or perhaps they are seeking to spend a day playing with their phone instead of working!

In this podcast Sunita Sehmi talks about her approach of engaging before, during and after the programme to ensure that the event is as successful as possible for the organisation and for the individuals who attend.

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If you’re not aware of your unconscious bias, you’re holding yourself back

October 15, 2016

Hi I'm John, and I'm biased.

I am not the only one. You are too.

In fact all human beings are born with a set of biases and mental shortcuts that help us survive and deal with the world around us.

In the past such biases were vital to survival. We didn't need to worry about being fair and inclusive when we were living in caves; we were more concerned with finding the next woolly mammoth and avoiding being eaten by lions. Issues such as creating a diverse community were way down our priority list.

Times have changed. Now we live and work in a multicultural global environment and need to broaden our vision beyond our own narrow bias-filled perspectives. This isn't easy, and in fact a lot of biases will persist even if you are aware of them and intellectually believe they are wrong ... but we can only manage what we're aware of, and in this podcast we discuss what unconscious bias is and how as learning and development professionals we can improve our understanding of our own biases in order to improve our performance.

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SDI in learning and development: what it means and how to use it

September 15, 2016

I have found SDI (Strengths Deployment Inventory) to be a really valuable tool in leadership development, despite my being a skeptical curmudgeon about most of these workplace psychometric tools.

What convinced me was partly personal - I felt it offered valuable insight into my own self (not a pretty sight) - but also because of the impact I've seen it have within the training room. I've used it mainly for leadership development, so that's my main experience, and I've seen many people (not everyone) find it really useful in not only raising self-awareness, but more importantly giving them a roadmap for strengths development that remains true to their authentic self.

In the podcast Simon Gallon talks through the basic theory and its wider application within L&D, in particular in teambuilding and leadership development activities.

It's another long one, but it's good stuff.

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Who’s afraid of SMART objectives? You don’t need to be

August 31, 2016

I've never been a big fan of SMART objectives. I accept there is wisdom in the acronym, but I think the process tends to eclipse the most important things about performance objectives: they should provide clarity, challenge and motivation, and when delivered they should add value to the organisation.

I made this point in a previous podcast (The secrets of accelerated learning: what's your objective? with Krystyna Gadd) and was contacted by Garry Platt who disagreed with some of what I said and wanted to mount a defence of SMART.

So that's what this is ... an extra podcast challenging some of the content of the previous one, with a screeching parrot in the background.

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The secrets of accelerated learning: what’s your objective?

August 16, 2016

A few months ago we chatted with Krystyna Gadd about her Five Secrets of Accelerated Learning, and in this podcast we drill down into the first and most important of those: writing learning objectives that link to the business strategy and the objectives of the learners.

Apologies that it's a bit long, but when you get talking about this sort of thing it can be hard to stop!

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Transactional Analysis for trainers (part two): understanding transactions

July 15, 2016

In this episode of the Trainer Tools podcast, I welcome back Garry Platt to continue discussions on his specialist subject: Transactional Analysis.

Transactional Analysis, or TA, is a theory of how humans interact with each other - its main application being to help understand human behaviour and communication: each interaction between people being called a "transaction". It was developed by Canadian psychiatrist Eric Berne and has been a tool in the trainer and coach toolbox for many years in helping us understand ourselves and our own interpersonal behaviours, but also understand those of others.

In this episode Garry talks about "Transaction", and this builds on the first podcast "Transactional Analysis for trainers (part one): understanding ego states" that you should check out before listening to this.

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TT Shorts: The Family Game: a fun way to split into groups and create energy

July 1, 2016

It's been a while since we did a short episode and I've had this one in the can for a while, so I thought I'd edit it up and put it out.

In this episode, I welcome back Seema Sarawgi who talks about a simple way to split larger groups into smaller sub-groups for activities. There are lots of ways to do this that are more interesting than saying "1, 2, 3" that can be fun and energising, can break down barriers and can lead into content or fit with teambuilding themes.

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Training can be a tough and lonely business - so look after yourself!

June 15, 2016

The life of a training facilitator is not as glamorous as it might seem to the casual observer.

There's a lot of travel, but that just means a lot of time in airports or stuck on long and boring motorways. L&D professionals don't typically travel in hot air balloons with personal menservants called Passepartout - the budgets rarely stretch that far.

It's not just the solitude of travel, it's the loneliness of being in a group of learners in a workshop, but needing to keep distant from them. We encourage social learning and network building, but we're the guide on the side not another member of the gang.

It doesn't stop there!

Often we're associated with change, and change is sometimes bad news, at least for some of the people ... and even if not, we're in the business of challenging people, pushing them out of their comfort zones, perhaps even asking difficult questions that make people think. We might even cause all sorts of trouble by demanding manager involvement or by challenging cultural aspects that might be getting in the way of learning.

Claire Simmons is an expert in offering career advice - and not just how to make your CV look nice. Her organisation (NewFuture.me) works with people through the emotional side of career change, redundancy, and picking the right options for the future.

In this podcast she talks through her approach and how we, as L&D professionals, can apply the same techniques to help look after ourselves.

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Want to see performance transformation from your training? Do action planning!

May 15, 2016

Time is running out and you've got so much more content to squash in to the training course ... what can you do? Easy, just drop the action planning session you have penciled in for the end of the day!

According to Emma Weber, expert in learning transfer and author of two books on the subject, this would be exactly the wrong thing to do.

In this episode - the longest Trainer Tools podcast by a country mile - Emma explains how action planning done well can be the key tool in ensuring knowledge and skill acquired on a training course is transferred into the workplace and drives real life proper performance improvement!

Maybe I should have split this up into two parts, but there didn't seem to be a natural break ... so I didn't. I know it's long, but I think it's worth it!

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