The designer's done their best to create some great learning moments - now it's the trainer's turn! 

Going back to an analogy used on an earlier page, you may have a great movie script but you still need actors, as well as a director, to turn the words on the page into something an audience can see, hear, and most importantly be influenced by. 

To reiterate, CSAR is about a learner's state of mind, body and focus. Trainers can assist learners enormously to achieve these states, but only if they are open-minded and willing to be flexible in their delivery style.

Just to be clear, any trainer can communicate to support the CSAR states (at the end of the day they're only being asked to use their body, tone of voice, vocabulary and overall energy in certain ways), it's just that sometimes they seem reluctant to do so, as if they are somehow giving up, rather than gaining, skillfulness.


Training Style

Many trainers both pride and sell themselves on their "style". The thing about CSAR is that we're looking for four styles; four aspects of you, each of which supports one of the learner states better than the others. Whilst it's fair to say that we all have the capacity to communicate in such a flexible and strategic way, most trainers seem uncomfortable with at least one of the four trainer styles.

Derek: "I'm a classic example. I have a natural over-the-top, motivating style of communication, in front of groups and pretty much anywhere else! This helps me enormously in creating Curiosity in workshops, however this type of manner does not effectively support the state of learner Study. My natural arm waving, question-asking, vocal inflection and anecdote telling creates "what I term communication clutter". The learner is distracted from the task at hand, which is to go to that calm, still and serene study place. In truth, I need CSAR as much as anyone, if not more. My extroversion and need to perform also used to inhibit my ability to be informal and real with groups. This made working within the Activity and Reflection quadrants a little uncomfortable for me as well. These days I've learned to be myself - natural and authentic - whilst training in these quadrants, and as such groups achieve these states, and therefore learn, far more effectively."


Training across the 4 quadrants

This page seeks to outline the gist of what trainers need to be able to do whilst working with groups within each of the CSAR quadrants:


1: CURIOSITY - The trainer as presenter:

Trainers need to access their public speaking/presentation skills whilst training in this quadrant. Why? Because learners need to need to learn - to be curious - and this state is assisted greatly by a compelling, emotive leader in the front of the room. Getting others to care is what motivational speaking is all about. A lot of trainers have such skills, but if you feel you're under, then attending a presentation skills course may well be a good investment. 

2: STUDY - The trainer as teacher/lecturer:

Ever wondered why most media-trained presenters tend to do much the same thing:

  • They speak slowly & clearly
  • They pause as they release each new, separate idea, rather than just when they finish a sentence
  • Their body and face remain fairly still and measured, as if not to distract the viewer from their message

In a training context we call this Explaining Technique, and it underpins what trainers can do to easily create a Study state in their workshops. Some trainers, especially those with a strong background in motivational speaking, can be a little reluctant to pull back their normal style in such a way, but the results are well worth it.

If this is you, a great way to look at it is that you're creating the feel of a library in your training room; just for a few minutes, every so often. The thing is, learners love being in this essential state, especially if they're curious going in!

3: ACTIVITY - The trainer as coach:

The Curiosity and Study states require a formal trainer approach. Quite literally, the trainer is on show, asking the group for their heart or mind. With the Activity and Reflection states, the trainer must dip into a different bag of tricks, largely exchanging their presentation skill set for that of facilitating groups and meetings. The essence of this skill set is being authentically plugged into the moment. As such, informality - being one's "off-stage" self - is key.

With activity running, the trainer needs to observe, assist, re-iterate or clarify instructions, answer questions, give feedback etc; all the things that coaches do. This is the state that looks most like one-on-one work with learners. For the workshopping trainer, this may be something they do a lot or a little of, depending on what their overall role/life affords.

Derek: "Until recently I seldom did any one-on-one educating with learners. As such I really struggled to feel comfortable whilst supporting the learner's Activity state. I simply didn't know what to do with myself! I'd continually interrupt groups with more speech-making, or just roam around the room, hovering. These days I'm a lot better at being what I call the "weekend me" whilst workshopping. !"

4: REFLECTION - The trainer as facilitator:

If you run interactive, effective meetings, then you can run discussions in the training room. Equally, if you run more facilitated types of workshops, then you have what's required to support and foster the all-important Reflection state.

The key is to create an environment where the group are challenged to examine and explore what they have discovered via activities, as well as life and how skills and knowledge could/should be used back at work. Leading a group to be strategic, to plan, risk assess etc are all important.