Article: Six types of trainer you DON'T want to upskill with (And how to handle them)


Six types of trainer you DON'T want to upskill with (And how to handle them)

There are wonderful teachers in this world, and some of us are fortunate enough to be taught by them. But there are also people who are terrible at teaching. We identify six types of really bad trainer here and suggest how to handle them.
Six types of trainer you DON'T want to upskill with (And how to handle them)

Workers around the world have been rushing to upskill over the last few years, driven first by the need to stay employable in a painful pandemic job market, then by the need to stay current with changes in the world of work, and now by the latest upheaval driven by generative AI.

But what happens if the course you're taking isn't meeting your needs? Or more specifically, the trainer conducting the course isn't teaching you what you're supposed to learn? We've identified six egregious types of trainer here, and suggest a few tips for dealing with them.

Fish Out Of Water

This trainer probably knows less about the subject matter than a child still in kindergarten, and unlike the child, they aren't even good at making it up. They read robotically from slides that someone else prepared (or they don't even have slides and read from the recommended textbook instead), they get facts and figures wrong, and they can't answer even basic questions. How did this joker even become a trainer?

How to deal with them: Whatever they're telling you, do your own independent verification. You'll probably learn more from a Google search than from this trainer.

The DIY Guy

Speaking of Google, there's a certain type of trainer who will start their classes by reading out the topic of the lesson...and then they'll tell you to go and Google the rest of it yourself. What are we paying them for again?

How to deal with them: Alas, you just have to Google your way through as instructed. With luck, friendly coursemates will help you out. And you should probably tell whoever's in charge of the training that this trainer is a waste of the L&D budget.

Missing In Action

You step into the classroom—or enter your Zoom meeting—and the trainer is nowhere to be seen. Maybe there's a note somewhere telling you to read such and such a chapter of the textbook, or to do some assignment. As to the trainer themselves, neither hide nor hair can be found.

How to deal with them: How much do you really want to complete this module? If you want the knowledge, your best course of action is to demand a refund and use the money to get a better trainer. If you just want the certificate of completion, use the time to take a free break.

Everyone Else Is Wrong

This trainer, on the other hand, is all over the place and telling everyone that they got everything wrong. On occasion this trainer's statements will contradict the model answer, the real life answer, and the common sense answer. And when shown evidence to the contrary, they'll double down and call you names or insist the textbook/dictionary/research paper/other documentation is wrong.

How to deal with them: Technically, they're doing their job and educating you. Kind of. You have multiple options: argue with them, complain to their superior, walk out in a huff, or leave a bad review...or all the above.

The Doormat

In contrast, this particular trainer just doesn't know how to divide their attention between the students. This often results in one particularly outspoken—or exceptionally incompetent—individual monopolising all of the trainer's time or, in some cases, all the speaking time in the class. Seriously, we're not here to watch someone else getting private tuition.

How to deal with them: You have to speak up and demand your fair share of the trainer's attention. Sure, it stresses them out, but at this point you need to look out for your own interests too.

The Creep

Finally, deserving of mention is this particular breed of trainer: the creep. You'll find them full of unpleasant -isms that manifest in everything they do or say: sexism, ageism, classism, plain old bigotry. The nastier specimens of this type will make personal comments about people and some may even try to hit on students. That, by the way, falls under the category of harassment.

How to deal with them: You shouldn't have to! Complain to their superior, to your manager, to the head of L&D, whoever can do something, before the first lesson is up. Just get them out of there so you and everyone else in the class isn't subject to their creepy behaviour any more.


What other types of bad trainer have you encountered while upskilling? Share your experience with us!


This article was first published in July 2021.

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Topics: Watercooler

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