They say an organisation is only as good as its staff – and this is certainly relevant when you consider how the quality of our courses will effectively be defined by the personnel running them. In order to be a successful LCT training consultant, you need to possess the necessary skills and experience in abundance – it’s no ordinary teaching job. For a start, consideration needs to be given to the wide range of nationalities likely to be sitting on a course at any one time – English isn’t going to be the primary language for many people in the room.
However, managing this is just a small part of the wider job description. So, what does the role of the LCT training facilitator actually involve?
Different countries have different expectations
To start with, they need to be able to live up to the expectations of their delegates – which can be tricky, as these will differ depending on the part of the world where they have travelled from. For example, in our experience, some delegates tend to view their tutor as more of an ‘instructor’ – someone who presents their knowledge in the form of a series of instructions or lectures. However, others will see them as a ‘trainer’, which involves a much less formal relationship where there is more interaction and personal skills are very much a requirement of the job. Of course, these are generalisations and there will be exceptions to these views in all cultures. Perhaps it is for this reason that when asked what his job title is, one of our most experienced people – Bill Blakemore – answers “training facilitator”.
Connecting with the audience
“What I try to do is draw out from delegates their approaches to a particular topic or problem and then add my own extra material on top of that,” Bill explains. “Sometimes, it’s a case of me giving them my perspective and it turns into more of a lecture, but then that can turn into a relatively free-flowing discussion with some structure around the headings that the day is expected to cover.” Ultimately, Bill’s aim is to ensure that his delegates come away having retained enough information as possible – connecting with his audience is crucial. “I try to use humour as a way to engage people, although using your judgement to see how you can ensure all delegates get the most out of the session can be a fine balancing act at times, and you have to think about each individual member of the group to ensure that everyone leaves with a positive experience.”
Overcoming the language barrier
Naturally, making sure that every delegate can communicate their ideas while also gaining new insights is essential – although this is sometimes easier said than done with so many different nationalities in the room. Interpreters tend not to be used very often, as this disrupts the flow of the course and affects the quality of the interaction between facilitator and their group. “I tend to do a lot of checking to see whether what I’ve said actually gets across or if it’s been misinterpreted. Naturally, there can be a chance that delegates might not understand in the way I intended, so I need to be aware of when this happens and explain it in a different way,” Bill says.
“What I can’t do is take for granted that everyone will understand everything first time, as some ideas and language are complex.”
Never stop learning!
One of the really interesting elements of the job is that our training facilitators never stop learning themselves – it’s a two way process. With people from such a wide range of cultures, background and industries all participating, chances are that they will always be exposed to new information. Bill says: “For example, asking ‘how do you do your procurement?’ is a simple question, but you get a wide range of answers and I’m also learning at the same time, so I’m always adding to my own store of knowledge.” It’s an interesting side of the job and also perhaps one of the most challenging aspects as well. In this sense, the position of the LCT trainer also incorporates the tasks of a student – adding even more layers to this complex role.