Today I started to learn how to ride a motor-bike. Having not done this since I was 14years old, it required some effort. The biggest effort was to believe what the instructor told me to do and not fear falling over and breaking my neck. But why would I believe him? Transfering this question to my own training environments, I’m wondering: What is the role (for participants) of faith in the trainer…?
So here’s the thing: I am supposed to turn a 250kg machine through a tight figure-of-8 at no speed (and little momentum) without it dropping on my legs.. ..my instructor said: “All you have to do is look where you are going and trust that the bike won’t fall over.” But why on Earth would I believe him?
Reason number 1: Authority + accreditation
- He’s the man. So I believe him. He is certified by the Auto-Ecole and no-one else is responsible for training me, so I accept. Fortunately for me, I don’t have (too many) troubles with authority.
Reason number 2: I saw him do it, with ease and style
- ..and indeed, it looked just like he said it should. Just point your eyes where you want to go and the massive heavy leg-breaking moving-parts machine won’t slip on the wet-road and crush your legs. So it works, right?
Reason number 3: The last thing he told me to do worked out just fine
- This was the most important to me. If he had told me to do things that didn’t work for me, I wouldn’t have accepted reason number 1 anymore and I might have thought that reason number 2 was due to him being a demi-god and me not.
So: Why this blog? If you are a trainer and you want your participants to believe in you, consider this…
- Get some authority. Either be THE certified man or get someone else to say you are the best (borrowed authority). This could be done with accreditation, previous trainee references (preferably from participants’ own colleagues) or with a short testimonial film during the start-up of your training.
- Show the way with clear examples where the actions and behaviours you are asking for actually attain the desired results. Note my use of the verb “show”. Don’t just tell stories and make-believe. Prove it to them. (Without showing off !)
- Make sure that when participants do things as they should that they KNOW they did it right. Giving clear feedback on positive performance will help them to know they are capable and believe even more what you say.
…which, considering the next things he asked me to do (at speed, in the rain) made a world of difference 🙂
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