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Advice & Tidbits from Over 10+ Years of Experience (Interview)

Yaqina Raheem has used her expertise of instructor led training at the US Army of Corps of Engineers-Savannah District, St. Joseph’s/Candler Health System, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, the US Marine Corps-Parris Island, and the Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation. She led key initiatives that reduced medical errors by 33%.

After building over 10 years of training expertise, Yaqina is leaving the training world. With her departure, she leaves a bucket full of tidbits and advice for future and present trainers.

Q. What was your favorite part of working as a training professional?

Being able to transfer knowledge in a fun, yet worthwhile manner. As a classroom trainer, I like seeing the light bulb turn on when a student comprehends a concept or when a student discovers ways to take the knowledge back to the workplace and immediately apply it.

Excitement from the adult students continually feeds my personal excitement and a synergy is maintained.

Q. What is different about the new 21st century landscape of training and development or human resources?

Two words: Social Media (SM). I love most SM platforms, with the exception of Twitter. I think SM has become the “go to” tool for HR teams, especially Recruiters, for data mining for candidates and employees alike.

But I do wonder how successful T&D professionals will be with learning assessments, evaluations and training in general with SM tools. The nature of social media is inherently SOCIAL. Therefore, how can we assess individuals separately from the group think of SM?

Q. Why do some training and development initiatives fail?

There are so many reasons, but here are just a few:

  1. Lack of post training support and/or follow up. Why spend time and $$$ to train people without ensuring that post training tools and support are provided? So many employees feel bereft after a training session and are not actively encouraged in a supportive, positive manner to seek assistance, guidance, coaching, mentoring, etc.
  2. No buy-in from leadership.
  3. A great trainer does not always make a great coach or mentor.

Q. Do you have any last tidbits of advice to give to the trainers before you leave the training contractor world?

Always get the best fee for your talents and skills, yet be flexible.

Also, continuous learning is tantamount to be a contractor. No excuses. No matter how great a trainer you are, networking is the best skill you can develop to stay relevant in the training.

Q. Can you expand on the importance of networking? Why is it so important?

Great trainers are fantastic at selling themselves—either to the students, clients or even bosses. This has nothing to do with the hiring or interviewing selling that a person does. When selling to students, it is indirect; you’re selling them on the fact that the content is useful, just-in-time and interesting to boot.

Moreover, you are selling them the notion that YES they can learn what you are training and it is not boring, nor difficult (two fears of adult learners).

When selling yourself to clients, you are convincing them to believe that you (or your company, dept, etc) have what they need to improve performance, provide knowledge, meet expectations, etc. The arguments provided to both student and clients are usually the same, just presented differently.

How does networking help? Well, networking allows you to make meaningful connections with your students and clients/customers. It provides credence to your training as well as providing a deeper connection to your students.

Trainers receive useful and valid info from students, i.e. future developments, company changes, etc. Networking allows a trainer to stay connected and in touch with the real world – the one outside of the classroom, discussion board or LMS.

Q. What resources have helped you succeed over the years?

Websites

Magazines

ASTD International Conference

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