Teaching and Doing are Different

Wayne Gretzky was the greatest hockey player ever to hit the ice, but when it came to coaching a team, he was not an all-star. This random thought hit me after I read a recent article in HR Daily Advisor titled, “What Training Skills Do Your Managers Need?”

The article begins:

“Managers are often expected to have some role in the training and development of their employees. After all, it’s the manager who oversees the work of his or her staff members. In addition, as the person responsible for the team’s performance, managers have a strong incentive to mold the performance of the individuals who compose that team.

“Unfortunately, managers aren’t necessarily the best trainers. Oftentimes, they are put in a management role because of their technical aptitude, charisma, or ability to lead.”

The article goes on to describe three skills or traits that a good trainer needs to have, including:

  1. Effective communication
  2. The ability to identify learning styles
  3. Passion

While I agree that good managers should possess all of those skills if they want to be good trainers, I would argue that they must also possess many additional skills, AND it is probably a tall order to expect people who have mastered one area of expertise (say, computer technologies) to also possess all of the skills required of a good trainer.

Training IS a Master-Level Skill

Law firms hire people to be very good at certain skills or topics, such as IT, document processing and (clearly) the law. Asking them to also be good trainers is a tall order. For example, there are entire graduate degree programs designed to teach people how to “identify learning styles,” as the article suggested trainers must do. (Our very own Terry Aurit has a master’s degree in instructional design with an emphasis in adult learning theory. It’s a thing!)

In a nutshell: just because someone is good at a subject or software or skill does not mean he or she can teach others to be good at the same thing. We are not all natural-born teachers!

Teaching and doing are different.

Outsource Your Training to the Experts

If you want a job done right, bring in the experts! Savvy Training & Consulting offers trainers who are experts in the field of law firm training. We provide:

  • Large group, classroom-based trainings complete with preorganized agendas and outlines, custom-built materials for your week(s) of learning, and trackable outcomes based on your firm’s expectations.
  • Small group and one-on-one trainings to accommodate power users, executive teams, advanced learning and more.
  • Roaming, desk-side support to accommodate individual questions.
  • And any other customized training that your firm needs!

If you expect managers at your law firm to double as trainers, you may be asking too much. (ALSO: Perhaps their training duties distract them from some of their mission-critical activities, thereby impacting your ROI on their efforts.)

Consider partnering with a professional training company that knows the legal industry inside-out: Savvy Training & Consulting. Get started today!


Leave a Reply