6 steps for an effective trainer onboarding

By the 29 April 2021

Is having the best players a guarantee that you’ll have a great team? Certainly not: teams need to be built and trained.

This morning I was talking to my 10-year-old son, and our conversation inspired me to write this post. He plays percussion and is part of his music school’s orchestra. He knows how important it is for him to play his part perfectly, but also for others to play theirs, which build the total piece. Furthermore, he treasures the rehearsal and practice sessions. In fact, he finds them very enriching and empowering. He reminded me that good collective results require listening and synchronising (his words for alignment 😊).

How does it go when we’re not teaming up amongst players or musicians, but trainers? In a previous post I talked about how to decide which type of trainers’ team you need. This time, I’ll go a step further into how to onboard them.

How to onboard a trainers’ team

I have the pleasure of working with excellent trainers, true experts in their subject, skilled in pedagogy and with long track records with clients in several industry sectors… Should we assume, when rolling out a new international project, that once they get a call from the Project Manager with a debrief on the course to deliver, they are ready to jump in and give their best?

We could agree that if you’re delivering off-the-shelf programmes, the “project brief” could be quite fast and simple. You just need to give client, target population and project context to the trainer and share the key messages to reinforce along the programme. However, if your training project is tailored to a custom approach, that won’t be enough. Let alone a fully bespoke programme, where you not only onboard but also train and certify your trainers prior to their delivery.

So, what are the steps to take when onboarding an expert trainer to an international training project?

To have a complete and focussed overview to this process, let’s position ourselves in this context: you are the PM of a bespoke programme; you’ve already signed off the design; you (or your master trainer) have already piloted it with good results. The programme gained initial buy-in by the local stakeholders in each region.

Step 1. Plan the rollout

This step includes:

  • The definition of your facilitation kit: timeline, activities, materials, logistics…
  • The definition of your consultant’s profile and the matching criteria to this project: subject matter expertise, facilitation style, relevant experience.
  • Your best approximation to the delivery calendar.

Step 2. Source the right trainers and prepare your onboarding

  • Ensure they check on all your matching criteria and secure their availability for the project launch and rollout.
  • Set up a matching call between trainer, Project Manager, and programme’s business owner.
  • Create the trainer’s onboarding piece: project brief, introduction, sessions, assets, materials…

Step 3. Make trainers dive in

  • Schedule the team kick off and TTT (train-the-trainer) sessions.
  • Send the project brief, company introduction and training materials to the trainers.
  • Translate the training documents and send them through to the trainers so they can start their appropriation and localisation (if needed).
  • Ask trainers to make a list of their questions and doubts on client context, target population, programme, content and session development prior to their TTT.

Step 4. Certify the trainers

  • Master trainer (and programme’s business owner, if needed) delivers the TTT sessions to all local trainers.
  • Master trainer validates each trainer’s ability to facilitate the content and their due preparation to deliver within the client and project context.

Step 5. Launch the local delivery

  • Foster a contact meeting between trainers and local key stakeholders.
  • Secure the quality of the facilitation of first sessions in the location (debriefing to PM).
  • Implement any needed local adjustments to the facilitation guide.

Step 6. Manage the trainers’ team

  • Collect feedback and any specific adjustments to the facilitation guides.
  • Share best practices and programme’s results among trainers.
  • Launch rounds of recertification if needed.

Am I missing anything? Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts in the comments.

Of course, there’s always more details and colours that will complement the scenario, but these 6 steps have been very successful in our global training projects’ rollouts so far.


If you would like to learn more about how Cegos can help you build the right international training team for your project, visit our dedicated page and get in touch.

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