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Why do Trainings fail?
An Article by Wisdom Solutions’ Trainer

I have been a trainer for 12 years having trained thousands of participants. When I meet training managers, they start volleying questions: How long will this last? What is the relevance? Do you think this can cause any change? etc. Hidden behind these questions are deep rooted factors that cause training failures. There are several. Over the years, I have seen that amongst the several factors, if three essential components (one each from the three key stakeholders) are considered, then trainings can’t fail.   The three most important reasons trainings fail in my opinion are lack of Wisdom from the Trainer, lack of Willingness from participants and lack of Faith from H.R. Let us examine each of these three factors, playfully called as WWF (an acronym):

1. Wisdom (from the Trainer):

I have found that if the trainer imparts wisdom i.e. key nuggets and insights and causes paradigm shifts, it makes all the difference. ‘Wisdom’ is what quietens the mind and shapes the attitude. Wisdom necessitates the trainer facilitates the dawning of wisdom and the shifting of paradigms minus any ego (‘I am the only Zen master available’). He or she should conduct the training with the attitude of gratitude and the intention to bring about the required behavioral change. He should not stand there and deliver the rituals, slide after slide. You don’t want participants going, “Hey mister trainer, come on give us a break. We all know how to read. Tell us the wisdom, share your experience and inspire us.”


To choose what insights of wisdom should be imparted in a given training program, what helps is to do a pre-training-survey with the participants and their bosses separately. This helps in identifying the issues and the areas of concern.  In most trainings, consulting with the people who are going to receive the training is shamefully neglected. So most of the people who attend training are unaware of what is it about and why is it important?  I have seen trainers sweat out and debate on the relevance of the training (which almost all simultaneously agree they don’t need) rather than train people.  It may happen that participants would draw into a shell when approached for a pre-survey. But, once they interact with the trainer and gain confidence in the trainer, they are more ready. One thing is for sure, that they won’t share with the HR what  they would share with an outsider. The trainer then should also talk to the bosses to get the other side of the story. Now equipped with the complete information, the trainer should chalk out the program focusing on what key paradigm shifts he wants to bring about. The trainer is ready now… what about the participants?

Willingness (From the Participants):

The most important factor of any training  is the ‘willingness’ of the participants. If the participants are unwilling or non-trainable,  trainings will eventually fail and even God can’t help. My experience with an unwilling audience is half of them feel i-know-it-all and the other half feels nothing-will-change. In that case how can we expect any changes to happen? This is where pre training surveys come in. We have already seen in this in the previous paragraph. Such a survey breaks the initial ice with the participants and they feel they are in the loop in designing the program which leads to their being more open to learning (receiving wisdom).


The other thing that helps in increasing willingness is linking trainings with appraisals.  Clear competency definitions, feedback on these competencies and linking trainings to competencies will mean that trainings can work miraculously. Thus, the role of HR also plays a crucial role. This is where the third factor comes in.

Faith (from the HR):

‘Faith’ is the greatest vibration on earth. If you show faith, people respond. The HR (or training department) should try out new trainers and training methods and keep faith on them. Try ‘the new’ since they are thirstier to prove their mettle. Be like Captain Dhoni: Show faith in newcomers and they will win battles for you.  Consider that, “If you keep doing what you did, you will keep getting what you got”. Thus besides new trainers, try new training programs and new methods. Don’t restrict your discussion with  trainers only till cost reduction. Ask them their uniqueness and     tell them your intention.  I am sure they would deliver.

Faith is not just faith between HR and Trainers. Participants should have faith on the HR too. Thus HR has to build that faith about training over the years. If the HR Head or Training Head primarily puts the due diligence required for ensuring the quality of trainings first, the resultant trainings would be great. And that will build faith on HR or the training department.

I hope this new WWF (Wisdom, Willingness and Faith) will help you wrestle better in the arena of trainings.
Nitin Ahir
Certified Coach and Trainer
Wisdom Solutions


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