Banning the beige – making sure your training provision isn’t bland


The early part of the year saw the usual deluge of diet and fitness programmes to counter the indulgences of the Christmas festivities.  In all the confusion of sugar free; wheat free; full fat; low fat; South Beach; Atkins etc, one piece of advice by a doctor resonated as simple – “Ban the beige” – ie anything that’s pale, grey, uninspiring to look at, is best either avoided or taken in moderation.  It included pasta, white bread, sugar, biscuits….instead the advice was to look for the bright colours and interesting combinations (fruit, veg, meat and fish).

It got me thinking… many training events can be described as “beige”?  You know the sort of thing – the same old quotes and “models” with theories.  The same old ice-breakers; the same uninspiring manuals.

Really good trainers and facilitators take time before a course to really understand the business – get to the nitty gritty of what the outcomes of the training should be for the delegates.  They constantly update and improve their own knowledge and expand the repertoire of their content and adapt and amend it to flex to the individual requirements.

We all learn in a variety of ways – some like the visual images of pictures; others work better with music or sound; many like the theoretical and verbal approach using words and writing whilst others just love that role play – getting up, getting involved and just using the body!

A skilled trainer will employ a variety of styles to suit everyone in the room.  Sometimes it’s about stretching those comfort zones – many who dread the “role play” scenario, often come away saying it was the most beneficial for them.  I’ve discovered whilst currently studying for some qualifications, that I employ visual, kinaesthetic and verbal.  What I don’t do well in is the auditory….I find it too abstract to make sense.  However, learning styles are only part of the jigsaw.

To really get the learners engaged, the trainer has to understand the particular demands of the delegates and the business.

Time Management may be thought of as the same whether you work in a production industry or a nursery school.  Time is finite and you need the tools to employ the best use of time.  However, the demands of the individual businesses are very different.  What works well in one sector, will be unachievable in another.  This is where tailoring the content of the training is crucial.  Rolling out the same old “beige” training is lazy and does a disservice to all those skilled facilitators who take time and effort in providing the learning in a relevant and applicable fashion.

Real understanding of the requirements comes from having an ongoing relationship – providers with clients, AND clients with their training provider.  Yes, it’s simple to roll out the same old, same old, but who does that benefit?  Talking to your training provider about exactly what the issues are gives a clear picture of what is needed.  For the facilitator to have a detailed conversation with background information enables a relevant and focused training.

It isn’t good enough for delegates to report back that the trainer was “lovely”.  That’s a beige response!  What you need to be looking for from your staff who attend training are comments about “really understanding the business”; “provided solutions that will work here”; “challenged and held to account”.  Yes, training should be fun, but primarily it needs to be focused.

We are proud of our support package that delivers insightful, impactful, tailored training – but more importantly, we are proud it provides our clients with a relationship based approach, so we understand the business fully.  There is no greater compliment than a call or meeting that starts “not sure if you can help but…….”

To make sure you are getting the best value for money from your training and coaching provider, guarantee they take time and effort to learn about your business, your staff and your challenges.  That way, the investment you make for your staff development will be anything but beige.

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