Training is an important part of learning to master any type of skill or information.  You don’t need to be a teacher however, to train someone.  And actually, you don’t even need to know much about the content you want to teach.  This seems contradictory to many people and is a reason the most common reason why people don’t train others as often as they should.  Let’s explore some of the reasoning behind this and in my next article, I’ll outline how to approach training in an area, even if you are not an expert at it.

To look at this closer and understand an approach that works for training I’ll explore the classic five ‘W’ questions to consider the various angles about providing some kind of training.

Who Can You Train?

This is a great question to ask and without looking closely at it, people often feel that they don’t have anyone to train.  This just isn’t true!  There are many people in everyone’s lives and there are opportunities to train pretty much anyone you know.  You could train your children, your friends, your spouse, your family, your colleagues, strangers, and clients.  What is useful is to pay attention to all these questions when identifying who you can train.  Remember that you don’t need to have any authority or power over a person to train them. Train anyone!

What Can You Train?

Next is to consider what you can train.  I find the best way to identify this is not to look at what you DO know, but to look at what the person you can train wants to know!  This is critical to gaining their interest and desire to be trained and helps to eliminate the common misconception that you need to be an expert with something to train them.  Look at what they want or need to learn and then get into the training process (which I will cover in my How to Train Someone article next).

If you train an area of interest to someone else, they will welcome it, and enjoy it far more than if you try to teach an area you may know more about yourself, but they have no interest in.  Dale Carnegie’s classic advise to talk about the things that interest the other person apply wonderfully with training as well if you want to have success at it.

When is it a Good Time to Train?

Finding a good time to train is perhaps, the most difficult part of training.  You need to have a chance to prepare your training material and thoughts, as well to spend some time with the person you are training.  Getting a commitment for this is definitely preferred but not always practical.  If you can, schedule some specific time together to focus on the training.  When you do this will depend on some of the other questions like the who and what you are training.

I’d suggest to do training at a time of day that anyone involved is alert and attentive, so not late at night or early in the morning unless that is a good time for everyone.  Find a time that people are happy and willing to commit to so you are not planning the training to have inherent stumbling blocks before it even starts.

As I mentioned above, it’s not always practical to plan the training and if that’s not working, do not prevent you from training still.  Plan things more spontaneously and train on the spot whenever you can make it work.  Even segmented training at random times is far better than not doing it at all.  As for when to start or begin training? Don’t delay, begin the training NOW!

Where Should I Train?

Obviously, not everyone has a school classroom or facility to train from.  Nor would you want to use that for every kind of training and with all people.  Again, it is far more important to make the training comfortable and easy to do than to worry about the ideal place to train from.  Where you train can vary greatly and it can easily happen from your home or home of another person, at work in public or private sessions, or perhaps even over lunch or informal get together.  You can train over the phone, on the internet, by book or written content or even in a group in a public location.  Again, remember that it’s not that important where you train, its just important that you DO.

Why Should I Train?

This is my favorite question and often it’s the one with the most concerns.  Especially from people in the workplace and many people feel that knowledge is power and so to hoard that knowledge they are getting ahead.  Let me assure you, this is completely wrong.  As a manager, I know that the riskiest individuals in an organization are the ones that are sole experts and they are always on my mind to eliminate that trait from.  An organization wants to have multiple people available for any job so that loosing someone is no impact.  Let me assure you, if you can use training to make yourself redundant and provide help to your organization to balance out the risky ‘experts’, that is far more valuable than being an expert yourself.

Another important reason that is often overlooked is for learning yourself.  Teaching and training is the best way to both prove your understanding of a subject that you already know and also to learn more about it yourself.  As you discuss the topic, plan for it and research, you expand your own understanding in that area and so you are not only helping someone else learn, but you are definitely learning yourself.  The more time you spend training, the more you see where people have struggles, questions and concerns with the topic and it helps you to focus on addressing those areas in similar or related training for next time.  This helps you get more prepared and become more and more effective at your training.

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