Articles on Training Matters:

Why Be A Trainer?

I never thought of becoming a trainer. I just thought of wanting to live a life of significance. Of giving back to others what I had been blessed with. Of helping others live life to their fullest potential.

So I call myself an evangelist for success - an evangelist out to inspire people to Make the Most of themselves - to Be more, Do more and Have more in life. I want to help those who dare to go on a crusade - to be their best, better than their best. I want to put an end to mediocrity. We may be born average, but let’s leave our mark of excellence behind, that’s my war cry!

Some of you may be trainers already, or simply evangelists for success like I am. The rest of you are probably in a totally different profession - lawyers, doctors, engineers, fresh graduates, it really doesn’t matter. What’s important is that you have decided to read this article because a germ of an idea has entered your mind… Can I be a trainer? Is it something I may want to do?

It’s about Giving and Receiving

When we stand on a platform, we are giving of ourselves. By sharing our experiences, our knowledge and skills, we are making an impact on our audience. Whether positive or negative, we are leaving an imprint on others.

There is an awesome responsibility attached to that thought. Some may see it as power and they get a real kick out of it. To me, it is a wonderful opportunity to be able to “contribute”, to live a life that is significant, to influence others positively.

I started off on my journey of becoming a trainer/speaker because I wanted to give. But along the way, I have received so much more than I had started out with.

An experience I would never forget was when my husband and I were first invited to be keynote speakers for a business seminar in Sydney. I was a little nervous at the start, but my passion soon put that nervousness far away. At the end of a long day, where we spoke for two sessions, we were amazed when we saw a long stream of people coming up on stage, waiting to shake our hands, to speak to us, some to hug us and some to ask a question. It was a truly humbling experience, one I would not want to exchange for all the money in the world.

As Danny Thomas said, “Success in life has nothing to do with what you gain in life or accomplish for yourself. It’s what you do for others.”

And the most wonderful part is: The more we give, the more we will receive. Even as we give to our audience, likewise they are giving to us too - not only their time, but their attention, their energy, encouragement, and their commitment to following your teaching and advice. The completion of this cycle of reciprocity must be the goal of any trainer or speaker.

It’s about Personal Growth

As a Japanese proverb says, to teach is to learn. There is no better way to grow that to undertake the task to teach in the area we wish to grow in. We learn, we teach what we learn, we grow and the cycle goes on.

Why is growth important? If we don’t grow, we’re not really living. We’re just existing, what I call, occupying space. If you look at the life of someone who is not growing, it’s very much like watching a soap opera. You may not have watched it for some time, and when you tune in again after a few weeks or even months, much of the same stuff is still going on.

I meet many people who share with me their dream of becoming a trainer. Or perhaps I should say “hope”. They have a hope that they can become a trainer but they do not take that crucial first step of deciding to just be one.

They hesitate because they feel they are not yet good enough to teach. Some gave up on their dreams even before they got started because they judge themselves purely on their current state. They forget that everyone has the capacity to grow. As Zig Ziglar says, “Go as far as you can see and when you get there, you will always be able to see farther.”

It’s about Finding Your Purpose
Many people become trainers and educators because they had made a decision that they wanted to live the rest of their lives with purpose.

My husband Patrick developed a programme called YES Club International (Young Entrepreneurs Success Club International) for young adults aged 18 to 25 because he had a passion of wanting to help them design the lives they want. He sees young people who are so lost as to which direction they should take. He sees people in their 60s who, if they had the chance to live the last 30 years of their life again, would choose a different path and different actions.

For Patrick, it was a new purpose he found that prompted him to become a trainer.  He was already financially free, and established as a business coach and presenter in his existing business. But this was a new passion he discovered, something that would keep his adrenaline pumping - to develop a duplicable system so young people around the world could have mentors to help them design the life they really want.

What is your purpose? What is your dream?

Jessica See
06 Mar 2007

Article is contributed by Jessica See, a consultant with MasteryAsia Pte Ltd, which conducts the Certified Professional Trainers course. To register for a free introductory seminar on training as a profession, call Ikram at 6225-2968 or email Website:

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Change And Performance - Training May Not Be The Answer

Introducing new products or services, bringing new people on board, developing a new process or procedure, installing new equipment, change seems to be the one constant in business today and change always seems to drive a need for training. 

In conducting training needs analysis at any level, we need to understand that training may not be the solution, at least not the whole solution. Training is normally employed with the expectation of changing individual performance. While training can, and does change the ability of individuals to perform, on-the-job performance also depends on other factors that form a complex interconnected human performance system.

For any system to produce a desired performance output, there are always a number of factors that must be managed. 

Six-factors for human performance  The following is a six-factor system model for human performance. In principle if you manage all six well, you will get the desired performance. If you ignore any of the six, the desired system performance becomes less likely. Training can indeed be an important part of a system solution, but if other parts are not provided, training may not be effective. 

1. Make expectations clear: 
The expected outputs, and actions to produce results, must be made crystal clear. These include vision, values, mission, roles, goals and objectives, action plans, milestones and standards. If you don’t tell them what is expected, don’t expect results. 

2. Provide necessary resources and conditions: 
No one can produce the expected results if they do not have the process, methods, tools, materials, space, time, money, and people to do the job. A workplace that is badly designed, uncomfortable or unsafe also makes it difficult to perform. Given the means, they can deliver performance. If not... 

3. Measure the performance of the system: 
In order to determine if expected results are being achieved we need to measure the performance outputs. It might also be helpful to monitor in-process indicators, which affect system outputs. Using metrics we can identify progress toward targets, verify performance as desired, or identify problems and opportunities for improvement. We all pay attention to what gets measured. 

4. Communicate progress and results: 
Continuous and visual feedback on the performance and results achieved by the team and system allows for quick recognition and correction of problems and implementation of improvements. If individuals do not know how well the system is working it is difficult to achieve the desired results, much less make improvements. Performance knowledge empowers improvement. 

5. Provide appropriate incentives: 
Consequences are important. Positive rewards for good performance, congratulation, recognition and celebration, promote and encourage the behaviors that produced the results. Take care to avoid negative consequences for positive performance, or benefits for negative performance. If it felt good, they’ll want to do it again. 

6. Develop necessary competency: 
Competency is the ability of an individual or team to successfully perform a specific task or activity. Sometimes if you are lucky, you can hire a competency off the street. More often development through training and practice is required.

Competencies are built through learning activities, and through experience. A competency requires skills, knowledge, and attitude sufficient to do the job. A competency has observable measurable outputs and behaviors. An individual must have the capacity, both mental and physical to learn and to perform the task or activity. If you’ve got the skills and knowledge you can do the job.  The next time you ask how to improve performance, take a systems approach and remember to consider how to manage all six human performance factors.  We get exactly the results we manage for.  --  You have permission to publish this article free of charge, as long as the resource box is included with the article. If you do run my article, a courtesy reply to would be greatly appreciated.

© 2004 Howard Sommerfeld 

Howard Sommerfeld
08 July 2007

Howard Sommerfeld has an extensive background in training that includes over twenty years experience in training management with major telecom equipment manufacturers. He has been responsible for development of major classroom, computer-based, web-based, and distance e-Learning initiatives, and has a depth of understanding of manufacturing and training management issues. He is keenly interested in trainer training, blended learning approaches that ensure learning transfer to workplace performance, human performance systems, and in demonstrating return on investment for training.  Howard is currently Director of Product Development at Automated Learning Corporation.

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