When we’re working with trainers on their facilitation skills, one of the common issues we see is the trainer’s attempt to get to the “right” answer as quickly as possible. No matter how subtle or complex the question might be, many trainers are frantic to get past A so they can get on to B.
We’re all guilty of this—especially when time is running short, and we need to move on. So, when one of our learners responds in a way that meets our immediate need, we simply say, “Thanks, that’s right,” and move on.
Don’t get me wrong; sometimes, this is just what needs to happen. But not all the time.
Trainers should question whether they’re looking for the right answer to meet their needs or their learners’ needs. If the trainer isn’t taking the learners’ needs into account, seeking just the right answer will discourage learners and learning. It will place too much focus on what’s happening now in the training room instead of what will be happening when learners are back on the job. If you make it all about you and the workshop, you’re missing the point.
As trainers, we need to be open to nuance. We need to look for the exceptions to the rule—especially after the rule is understood by the people we’re training. Perhaps most of all, we need to be comfortable letting discussions go into territory that is unknown to us. And, yes, maybe getting to questions that we ourselves can’t answer. Doing so will help learners in these ways:
- They will feel respected.
- They will learn how to think on a deeper level about what they’ve learned.
- They will see that live, interactive training doesn’t only provide information but deep insight as well.
So the next time you’re facilitating a discussion, and you hear someone say just what you want to hear, consider what might be gained if you stick with this topic just a little longer.