“This training should only take about 15 minutes to deliver. It’ll be quick and pretty simple so . . . I can’t imagine it taking too long.”
This comment is something that I’ve heard a few times recently and more times than I can count over the years. It’s the same phrase that creates a little smile on my face as I now realise another capital instructional offense is about to be committed.
But seeing it happen again and again, it makes me wonder a few things—why do we tend to rush training? More appropriately why do we think that we can teach people quickly? Why do we fail so badly?
I just read recently that if you spend long enough following someone on social media you’ll learn who they truly are—they’re political alignment, they’re sense of humor, they’re beliefs etc. To an extent I find this to be true, especially when someone’s back is up to the wall, you’ll see their true nature. You’ll see what they will do to survive, and who they’ll sacrifice along the way or . . . you will see something extraordinary.
You also get to learn about people as they observe things. There are those who will watch the world go by and criticize everything around them without knowing anything about what they’re talking about, and then there are those who will blindly say that everyone is simply trying their best no matter what the outcome or effort is—and they are only two ends of the spectrum.
Coaching and Teaching are very closely related! In fact some instructors will often coach during teaching and vice versa. So if they are so similar how do you know which one you’re doing and when to do so? Between Coaching & Teaching-What’s the difference?
Coaching and Teaching are very closely related! In fact some instructors will often coach during teaching and vice versa. So if they’re so similar how do you know which one you’re doing and when to do so? What’s the difference?
Before we go into the differences let’s take a look at what each are.
It seems like a dire subject when we think about training for emergency or abnormal situations, but not all training can ever be planned & delivered for completely predictable or ‘safe’ environments or scenarios.
So before we dive into this topic further how can we define ‘safe’?
Safe can have many definitions depending on the industry or the subject that is being instructed upon, but let’s for the sake of the article settle on‘safe’ being;
“A secure environment where activities can be conducted without risk of disruption & where people have no exposure to any threatening hazards of any sort.”
Let’s just work with it for now!
So . . . When we use a definition such as this, abnormal can technically be anything that falls outside of the above definition and emergencies can not only be disruptive to operations, but also hazardous to the people and material conducting activities.
One thing to think about at this point is that abnormal
or emergency situations can typically be regarded as rare. And when we think
about rare circumstances our natural tendency is to want to ignore them.
As an example, motorcyclists are encouraged to practice
emergency braking techniques often in controlled environments, but how many
actually practice? Emergencies likely won’t happen to us, so why bother to keep
the skill up to date?
You can see where this is heading, but one point to
remember and really take note of is that training is expensive, both as a
client, and also as an instructor. So knowing that an abnormal or emergency
situation is not just possible but potentially probable and that preparation
can be expensive, we are left with two options that we can examine.
Training can be expensive so if a situation is not likely to happen then is it worth covering?
The possibility is known, but we choose not to prepare for it.
One point to make clear now is that abnormal situations vary
on an absolute scale between industries and sectors down to certain
individuals, but the local scales of the impacts can be large regardless,
whether it be a disruption to service or operations leading to some down time
through to a situation that can impact on thousands for an extended period.
So what is the cost of training & what is the cost of failure?
This is now venturing into risk management, but training carries
two costs. Firstly as a client it is going to cost the upfront value of the
training, and also the time that it is going to take to become competent in a
Let’s set time at $100 per hour (Cheap in some circles) and say that a course is going to take 40 hours to complete. As a client you would expect the course to be set at No Less than $4,000 excluding other consumables, and that it will take a week to complete.
If you’re an employer, not only are you going to be staring
at $4,000 per trainee, but you’re also going to face 40 hours of disruption
while the trainee goes through training and those roles and responsibilities
need to be distributed elsewhere.
Naturally if something is unlikely and this can save 10 hours of training then this becomes a corner everyone wants to cut. It gets trainees back into work, clients trained sooner, and costs are reduced.
So this corner cutting can save 10 hours & $1,000 dollars per trainee, but what happens when the training required to handle failure is not delivered?
If an organisation has 20 employees and a manageable failure
occurs which disrupts everyone for 2 hours, then the cost of this failure is $4,000
(personnel costs only).
If training could have reduced the impact from 2 hours of
downtime to 1 hour, then the extra disruptive training pays for itself after
the first failure, and our costs (Theoretically) balance. Each failure in
future which becomes better handled actually saves an organisation money. But .
. . This is actually not the complete point here. Read on!
So is it about prevention & Risk Management?
Training for abnormal or emergency situations is much less
to do with risk management but most importantly more to do with being able to
respond and react to the abnormal situation itself—and preventing additional
failure once an event has occurred.
Unlikely situations can be taught, but are seldom remembered
when required. How can proper preparation be achieved?
We make the emergency more likely!
The use of exercise or simulator based scenario training is exactly how we prepare for unlikely and emergency situations. Setting up specific training scenarios (where required) is how we create proficiency and skill in people who have to deal with unlikely and emergency scenarios.
Rehearsing specific scenarios is exactly what makes regular people extraordinary in emergency or crisis situations, and this can only be achieved through scenario specific training with repetition.
Carefully setting the outcome, creating the situation, and then let the scenario play out. As an instructor in these training situations it can be important not to get involved and simply take notes on what takes place for feedback later. The timely & accurate feedback is what will make your clients and an organisation better where required.
As mentioned training is expensive—particularly on
organisations. Staff are out of place, roles & responsibilities need to be distributed
to maintain output, and there is also the financial cost. Clients will pay both
in dollars and hours, but this final question is not only directed towards
What is the cost of failure?
And to educators running lessons and courses, if you know there is an abnormal situation; What is the cost of ignoring these lessons?
This is a question that came up just recently & also something that I’d come across years ago when someone asked “When are they no longer the noob?”
At the time the answer someone gave was “When you don’t have to ask that question!” Being relatively new to the field at the time, it wasn’t me that gave the answer and being fair I didn’t have one, even if I was the one who was asked.
When are you no longer the apprentice?
But at some point we look back on our journeys whether they’re personal or professional and only when we reflect do we realize how far we’ve come. These journeys are slow & arduous and the progress can be so incremental that we don’t realize that we actually make progress.
So whatever your field is; When are you no longer the
apprentice? When can you call yourself the master?
When thinking about this there is no single point where
the change takes place, but your Google search history is a far better gauge of
where you’re at. It might seem abstract but keep reading.
It’s what you’re looking for.
My conclusion is that there are four key factors that
determine whether you’re an apprentice or a master.
1. When your questions change or when you ask different types of questions.
Let’s use the health and fitness industry as an example. There
are literally millions of people who have asked; “How to lose weight.”
We have to accept that this is a very generic question for the fitness industry, and an easy question that everyone at some point has asked. Most likely this is the ‘first’ question that anyone asks when they want to ‘get into shape’ whereas someone with more experience may start to ask “How to lose fat?” or “How to build Muscle” or even better “How to boost your metabolism?” In the fitness industry, trainers and instructors typically want clients who ask these questions because they are already more mature than clients who just want to ‘Get into shape.’
2. When you start to research your own answers, and having the confidence to know your research is correct.
Let keep running the fitness industry for consistency.
Whether you’re a client wanting to strip fat or boost your metabolic rate
eventually you’ll start to do your own research rather than perhaps simply
taking what your trainer gives you as gospel.
This is where you’re going to start having the ability to sift through all of the noise such as banana diets, lemon diets, soup diets, and start looking for higher quality information which will be more suited to your needs.
When you finally start to find consistent information
from independent sources you’ll have the confidence to determine that what you
have found is something that you can work with and learn from.
3. When you start helping others—you know where they’ve come from.
Give it enough time and research and you’re going to start getting results. Nothing is going to attract attention like progress, and once you start to make progress people around you will likely want to know how ‘you got into shape’
At this point in your experience, you’ll have the ability to help & educate others but also to know what question to ask when you start to provide guidance.
The biggest take away to know about here is that the advice and guidance you’re going to give is already going to be more advanced than what you would have searched for when you started ‘your‘ journey.
This means that you are more advanced and skilled than what people are typically looking for.
4. When the questions you ask, haven’t been asked. You can’t find your answers any longer, and you are doing new things.
The final step in knowing that you’re no longer the apprentice is when you begin to look for answers that are not readily available or when you start doing your own research & experiments.
Remember you started your journey with ‘How to lose weight’ and you may have found information about cutting calories.
As an advanced self-taught fitness expert you’re going to be looking for information in the fields of ‘Insulin Manipulation’ or ‘Cortisol reduction’ . . . the list of advanced key word searches is endless which will likely see you looking through research papers on page 2 of Google or beyond rather than Instagram posts.
So when are you no longer the apprentice?
From experience (regardless of the industry) I can say that it comes down to these four areas which all relate to the questions that you ask, and what you look for in your field, and not just about how long you have been doing something for.
After all you can cut calories for years but that doesn’t mean you’re an expert!