Every time this month, I get ready for the upcoming ski season as a PSIA instructor. I begin to worry that I have not done enough to get myself into shape for the season, and know those first few days will be harder as a result. Muscles not used for 6 months will be tested and all when the conditions are usually at their worse at the beginning of the season.
So I will start training hard for the next two weeks and hopefully make it through the beginning. Now for most of us, it’s pretty obvious that we need to stay in shape for whatever our skill, sport or hobby. Otherwise we just won’t enjoy it so much, and of course we are usually trying to do better, so that’s another reason.
When training up to 200 instructors for the upcoming season, about 17 instructors have been picked based on qualification, ability to teach and probably more important, their skill to lead others. The skill of teaching and communicating on snow is one where you need a lot of tricks in your bag, based on the students, fear, skill level, conditions and equipment. Basically a lot of moving parts!
This year, I am pleased that the mountain I ski at has taken a great step forward by getting all the trainers on the same page. A train the trainers workshop, being organized to get everyone informed and aligned.
So training the trainers is not just a means of teaching everyone the same technique, which while important, we also need many other skills in place. These include:
- How to deal with customers/students
- What to do when you are in trouble
- Refresher on safety rules. You can’t teach students in dangerous circumstances and expect them to learn
- Shared learning experiences
- How to help new instructors get started with their groups
- Dealing with language barriers (many international students come to our mountain)
- Customer service
- Being a walking information kiosk (knowing the services and locations on the mountain)
While this example is about ski instruction, it can apply to many BPM projects. Here you have a variety of skills and knowledge for each project. Changes have to be made and agreed, and new techniques and procedures will be put in place.
Think hard today about training your trainers for your upcoming season.