Survival Guide: Welcome to Your New Role
New Trainers – By Jennifer Muszik
Congratulations! You just earned a new position as a sales trainer! You are so very excited to take this next step in your career – and we are so very lucky to have you join our team to support our newest colleagues through their learning journey. Here are some topics to consider discussing with your leader to help ensure you don’t just survive, but rather thrive in your new role.
Your Role as the Facilitator
A large portion of your new position will be facilitating learning. While some new trainers feel this is an opportunity for them to “shine” and to share all the amazing work they have done, the best trainers I have worked with know this is the opportunity to truly be their learners’ advocate. The goal of a great facilitator is to ensure each learner can learn. While there are many ways to make this happen, here are a few to consider:
- Being Prepared – Practicing the facilitation, anticipating questions & challenges, thinking through obstacles for learner success and planning on how to address.
- Staying Calm – When things do go differently than you had planned, your preparation will help you stay calm and ensure the environment is best suited for learning.
- Setting up the Learning Environment – Think about ways to make your learning environment a safe and welcome one, whether it’s virtual or in person. Consider appropriate music to start your day and through breaks and utilize whatever tools are available virtually or physically, such as polling, chat, walls, flip charts and white boards to take the learning to the learner.
- Focusing on the Learners’ Agenda – Remember, as the learner advocate, your role is to ensure they can learn. That means don’t let the agenda run the day, but rather ensure the learning takes place. If you need to adjust the agenda to allow greater learning to happen, please do it!
Your Role With Peers and Stakeholders
When not in front of a class, you will find yourself in many meetings with peers and stakeholders. These may be focused on building workshops for developing skills, utilizing a new resource or planning for a large national meeting. Here are a few things to consider:
- Seeking First to Understand – Having recently come from the field, your feedback is going to be highly requested and valued. When asked to share your thoughts, make sure you truly understand the reason for the question prior to providing your feedback. Also, remember your experience was in your location and it may or may not be as relevant in other locations. Having this awareness will help you provide the most meaningful feedback.
- Maintaining Balance – Just as your opinions will be highly sought after, so will your time and partnership in projects. Please work with your leader to ensure you are keeping a balanced focus on your projects and the additional opportunities for your development. There will always be time to take on new opportunities. Take the time to learn your role and become an expert in that first.
Again, congratulations on your new role! While this is not a comprehensive list, I hope this will help you not just survive but rather to thrive in your new role.
Jennifer Muszik is head of U.S. commercial learning for Biogen and a member of the LTEN Board of Directors. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.