Not all training is meant to be fun!

One more rep to go, your forearms are burning, eye-balls bulging!

Your personal trainer demands you push with everything you’ve got!

You curse at her, “I cant!”

Standing over you, she kneels down and blurts back, “don’t you %@#! dare give up, give me one more!”

You strain and spit, managing to bust out one more exhaustive rep. You then collapse clutching your biceps on the sweaty floor. “Get a drink”. Workout complete.

Now, can you think of a sales or professional training program that demanded this much of you? It’s rare.

Why? Too many trainers are overly focused on rapport and too sensitive to engagement to worry about genuine gut-busting effort and capability development.

Moreover, if the trainer challenges the participants too much this could mean the individual or collective group disengages and then provides a poor feedback score. This is of course the trainer’s worst fear, hammering their ego and reducing their chances of being rehired. The participant is in control.

What’s the solution?

Trainers need to be more open and willing to exchange being “liked” for being respected. This will mean not only knowing your stuff (subject matter and audience,) but providing clear, constructive and direct feedback to participants whether they want to hear it or not. It will also mean training sessions are set up to genuinely challenge people — not just to create fun, interactive surface level learning experiences.

Mantra: As a trainer, I’m here to help you, not be your friend. I commit to being brutally honest with you, to help you grow whether you like it not. My focus is on developing your skills, helping you gain confidence and achieve your goals — if I fail in doing that, I fail you. This commitment must be mutual.

The trick here is to stay in control without diminishing rapport too much. This is not easy. We often ask participants, what is the difference between aggression and assertiveness?

The answer is of course empathy.

So the question is, do you care about the results your training delivers? If so, do you care enough to push the boundaries in the right way?

Creating a positive learning environment is really important; it’s proven that people are more open to learning, taking risks and stepping out of their comfort zone when they are in a positive state and supported in the right way.

Truly impactful training establishes a relationship of trust that helps the participant breakthrough surface level learning and through the pain zone to the place where true change and transformation are born.

Next time you’re delivering a training program, ask yourself, am I feeling any pain? Are my participants feeling any degree of pain?

If not, you’re not stretching or pushing hard enough. #TrainHard 

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