Choosing the right training consultant for your business

If your business is looking to bring in a training consultant to delver some training to your staff, what exactly should you look for? choosing a training consultant

Whether it is leadership training for your managers, or team building to improve staff engagement and work-group cohesion, or  perhaps customer service training for your frontline staff – whatever the nature of the training, what are the boxes that any training consultant should tick?

Having run a training consulting firm here in Melbourne for more than 20 years and having had the opportunity to either work with or observe many, many different training consultants during that period, here are 5 tips that I would offer in the form of questions that can help prompt your decision making …..

  1. Are you wanting accredited training or customised training? ….. If you are seeking some type of accredited qualification for your staff, then it is essential that the training provider be an RTO (registered training organisation). You might consider a local TAFE college for example, if you were wanting your managers to obtain a Diploma in Frontline Management. However if you are looking for a short course, and particularly one that can be tailored to the needs of your business then it is not at all necessary that the training provider be an RTO.
  2. What exactly is the subject matter expertise of the training consultant? ……. It is obviously essential that the trainer have authority and credibility with the topic and that they have the depth of experience and knowledge to be able to provide the right guidance and direction to your staff. The last thing you want is to have been sold a training program by a training company representative that later sends along an inexperienced trainer to deliver a package that’s been developed by someone else and the trainer themselves is still learning the material.
  3. What is the style of delivery of the training consultant? …… There are still some subject matter experts out there that simply deliver their training in a boring lecture style format. If you want your staff to be able to actually apply what they learn back in the workplace, then they need to be engaged during the training. The training program itself needs to be interactive and delivered in a way that draws upon and extends the experience and understanding and capability of your staff. Furthermore, you need to feel confident that the trainer as a person will fit the culture of your business. For example, if the staff of your business are enthusiastic and outgoing, and like to have a bit of fun while they are working, then you need to feel the training consultant will be able to connect with them
  4. What is their track record? ……. Has the training consultant delivered the course to organisations somewhat similar to yours? In the same way that you ask for and check references when you are hiring staff for your business, ensure you take the same precaution when engaging a training provider. You don’t want to make the all-too-common mistake of being fooled by someone who can talk-the-talk but not deliver the goods. So check with their referees and confirm the nature of the course they delivered and how satisfied the clients were with the results
  5. Are they taking the time to understand your business? …… Have they asked the right questions, that serve to demonstrate they are genuinely curious about the experience levels of your staff and the challenges they encounter? Have they actually come to the initial interview with some knowledge of your organisation and demonstrated that they have done some basic research into your business? You’re looking for a partner, you want someone who will relate the training to the world of your staff and bring a personal touch to building a relationship with you. You don’t want someone who espouses theory or is bringing an “off the shelf” program that has no relevance to the needs of your workplace, and fails to understand the problems and pressures your people must cope with.

By no means are these the only questions for you to consider when choosing a training consultant – but they provide a beginning.. For example, there’s the question of cost – however this should always be weighed up against the benefits you will gain. As consumers, many of us have learned that sometimes it’s worth paying a little more to get the quality we want – although in no way does a high price guarantee quality!  ……. I’m reminded though of the old saying “If you think it costs a lot to hire a professional, try counting what it costs you when you hire an amateur”.

About the author

Brian CarrollBrian Carroll is the founder of Performance Development.

He is a psychologist by background and has more than 20 years experience working actively in the field of leadership development

His passion is to help people develop the capabilities they need to achieve their goals – thereby experiencing deeper levels of happiness, meaning and fulfilment in their life.