Last month Rob Myers copied Scott Bain and me on an email to a friend of his who is moving to Europe and teaching agility to software developers. Rob’s email listed 8 tips for trainers. I found his email to be so powerful that I encouraged him to blog about it and he did in a post called Techniques for Agile Trainers.
I highly recommend reading his post and the comments below. I also have some training tips that I thought I’d share here.
My big breakthrough on this came many years ago when I was teaching for IBM. I was asked to teach a class on something called the Workplace Shell, which was a very complex piece of software that I hadn’t spent much time with before. It was a Thursday afternoon and I was asked to show up in Austin to teach a 5 day class starting the next Monday, and it was to the group who wrote the Workplace Shell!
At first I was terrified. How could I prepare in 4 days? How can I teach anything to the team who wrote the Workplace Shell in the first place? When I finally calmed myself down I realized that no matter what questions someone could ask there was somebody in the room who could answer them.
That is when I realized that my job as a trainer was not to be the authority on a subject. My job is to be a facilitator of knowledge. When I got that not only did I become a much better trainer, I also had a lot more fun in class.