Who was your most inspirational teacher at school? 

Close your eyes and think about your best teachers. The ones who inspired you and made a difference. 10 seconds. Done? Easy?

Now, close your eyes again and think about the best trainer you ever had in your career. 10 seconds. Done? More of a struggle?

How can we transfer the school inspiration into the corporate world? If you are looking for a trainer to help embed policies, make a difference to your team, and help them make an impact, what should you be looking for? 

At school, we had four different types of teachers:

  1. Imposters. Don’t know their stuff and don’t earn respect. I’m thinking here of my physics teacher in college. To stump him, just look a few pages ahead in the textbook and ask a tricky question. To help our memories, we’ll call him Albert Newton.
  2. Brains. Exhibit: my organic chemistry teacher: deep expert and published author. But ironically no personal chemistry.  She’s Bérylle Valance.
  3. Clowns. Some great teachers are super fun. They see their job as comedian, not educator. You remember them, not their content. Exhibit: geography was one of my favourites – not because I liked it, but Ms Grimaldi made class time fun.
  4. Muses. I did Latin at University. No one in our class had to do Latin. We were there for curiosity, but our teacher, Ioan Caws, a crazy comedic Welshman, made it fun, entertaining, and inspiring. 

In corporate training there is arguably a higher proportion of brains and imposters, only a few clowns and hardly any muses.

Why should this be?

Brains? You want an expert to train you. She should know her stuff and have the answer to anything. Unfortunately, she comes with the curse of expertise: what is obvious to her is not obvious to participants.

Imposters? If you are rolling out a large corporate programme, not all your trainers will be topic experts. They might know the ‘script’ but nothing else. To stump them, just advance a couple of pages in the slides and ask a tricky question.

So: how do we get more corporate Muses?  Here are two ideas:

First, Muses work well by using variety. Prof Caws made us listen to the news in Latin, learn swear words, or watch movies with Latin content. Lesson: use different approaches to get your learning across. Perhaps not Terpsichore but maybe Clio, Thalia or Euterpe can help you: they help us.

Second, great learning is about the whole brain. To ensure effective learning, you need to engage different parts of the brain: through neuroscience; our ‘play-learn-do’; and giving people a chance to try skills in a safe environment. 

What can you do to get the most from a muse? Here are some tips:

  • Be clear on your learning objectives, outcomes and behaviour change you would like.
  • The programme is not about you, it is for participants. 
  • Let the muse do their job – let your trainer  be flexible and use different techniques.

Delivering learning, and creating behavioural change is hard. Which is where we come in. Next time you are thinking about embedding a policy or rolling-out a programme, call us. We’ll help you ‘muse-ify’ your teams.