Very often the best people to train others in company-specific tasks are those that are already doing the job. Unfortunately, however, it’s not as simple as that when considering workplace training. While these trainers and coaches may have the technical skills needed, can they actually teach?

An old Chinese proverb says: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to catch fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Training the trainer or coaching the coach is like teaching a man to fish. Train one trainer or coach and they can then pass on their knowledge on many within their own organisation.

It is important that your in-house trainers and coaches are taught to deliver courses, workshops and tool-box talks. All aspects should be addressed, everything from course design to interpersonal skills. At the same time, you’re giving your trainers tools concerning not only what to teach, but how to teach.

Workplace training is an investment in the future of the organisation and its employees. Managers are understandably concerned about the payback. Building skills and improving knowledge helps companies stay competitive. However, if there is a larger group to train than the budget will allow, a company may benefit from a training-the-trainer programme for groups of employees or coaching-the-coach for small groups and individuals. This will enable employers to maximise their training investment.

Benefits may include:

  • Fast, positive results
  • Improved employee retention
  • Subject put into company context and targeted
  • Formation of internal alliances and teams
  • Workplace training – training delivered at the coal-face
  • Improvement in specific skills or behaviour
  • Improvement in confidence, motivation and performance of delegates and trainer
  • As soon as the session ends, the trainee should be able to implement a new practice
  • Greater clarity and roles and objectives
  • Fuller use of trainee and trainer’s potential
  • Demonstration of commitment to individuals and their development
  • Facilitation of adoption of new management style or culture
  • Less chance of skills fade as the in-house trainer is there to follow up until the new skills become a habit
  • Less workplace downtime as trainees do not have to travel off-site for training
  • Becoming an employer of choice

Recently I witnessed a change in a supervisor in a team I am close to. The new supervisor has more of a coaching ethic whereby he will take the operators away from their day job for a few minutes, demonstrate the best approach for a particular task, get the operator to carry out the task and then critique them doing the job for real. It sounds very simple but the improvement in morale, confidence and performance of the staff has been significant!

Rather than being an imposition on the new trainer, it should be recognition of their behaviours and skills. Being a trained trainer should confer status. It should not be seen as just asking them to do something else.


  • Select right people with vocational competence (no press-ganging here)
  • Deliver train-the-trainer course
  • Write training materials and assessment criteria
  • Deliver on-job training
  • Assess competence of staff on-job
  • If not competent deliver more training and repeat

TrainagleThe staff you choose as your trainers are unconsciously competent before the course. The workshop makes them think about other aspects of what training is about. “I didn’t know there was so much to it”. The critique after their delivery is always their favourite part.

The train-the-trainer course is only as good as the implementation of the course. If trainers are not given time to develop their new skills then an opportunity has been missed.

Over many years MCP has developed different formats of coaching and train-the-trainer workshops. The most popular and accessible are the 2-day workshop. Furthermore, City and Guilds’ registered courses can be offered.  Our workshops have been delivered to operators and technicians in the food, drink and water industries.

On successful completion delegates will be able to:

  • Design, develop and deliver training and instructional sessions
  • Understand the learning process and how people learn at work
  • Practice their training skills
  • Give and receive feedback

The course will focus on:

  • Learning styles and processes
  • Settings objectives
  • Barriers to learning
  • Communication – non-verbal behaviour, listening, questioning and observing
  • Giving and receiving feedback
  • Evaluation and assessment
  • Planning and preparation
  • Mind-mapping
  • Training design
  • Using visual aids: Flipcharts, power-point presentations
  • Practical exercises to reinforce learning points

Contact John Saysell, Head of Business Development and Training on 0121 506 9034

Published: 15 May 2017