Do you think more training will help your business move forward? Here are some things to ask before signing up your company for ongoing education.
Do you feel like you just can’t figure out how to solve problems at your company, no matter what you do? You want to be able to build something that will last. But employees aren't engaged like they used to be. It seems like no one wants to collaborate. Meetings are tense - if anyone even volunteers to share at all.
If you’re feeling stuck with what to do to turn things around, there are tools available to help you make a change. As you search for solutions, you’ll likely come across many courses, workshops, or seminars all claiming to be the perfect fix to your problem. While it might be tempting to immediately sign up, it is important to know what you’re getting yourself into.
After spending over 30 years developing a program to help companies create successful teams, we understand the value that the right program can add to your business. You can increase productivity and engagement, improve communication, and benefit from more creative and innovative contributions.
However, it is important to know what you are signing up for. This is why we’ve compiled a list of questions you should ask before signing up for any kind of training or education program for your company. Asking these questions can help prevent you from wasting your time and money. The more you know about what you’re signing up for upfront, the less likely you are to be disappointed down the road.
We learn best when we are given opportunities to practice.
One of the most important factors to determine the success of any educational program is ongoing opportunities to practice what you learn. A musician doesn’t master their instrument by sitting down and playing for four hours straight. It takes a little bit of practice every day to become an expert.
This is true for anything you learn.
While you don’t want to be baited into signing up for more and more classes, it is important that you have opportunities to continue to learn and grow. This is especially relevant if the class you are taking meets only over a short period of time (like a weekend seminar). In a class like this, you’ll have a lot of information thrown at you at once.
It might feel exciting and revelatory in the moment. But if you don’t have a chance to try out what you learned and get some experience, all of that knowledge might start to fade away.
However, if there is an ongoing method for learning and practicing, you will experience more sustainable results.
For example, when you complete our Macklin Method Workshop, you’re invited to join our space called “The Arena” for free for two months. The Arena allows you to continue to experiment with what you learned in the workshop. This platform also gives you the opportunity to receive feedback and bounce ideas off of others.
If you really want to learn something, you need to teach it.
Nothing brings you knowledge faster than trying to figure out how to convey that information to other people. When you are evaluating the course you’re interested in, see if the program offers you the opportunity to become a teacher or leader.
This will help you begin to master the subject as you work through teaching it to others. (It will also make it easier to onboard new employees.)
If you want to make lasting improvements at your company, you will need a way to correlate what you are learning in the program to what’s happening at work.
Before signing up for a course, it is essential to find out if it will be applicable to your workplace. If a class is academic in nature, it will teach you the theory behind something, without giving you any practical solutions or exercises. A more pragmatic approach will offer you the opportunity to apply what you learn to real life situations with your employees.
This is where growth happens.
It is important that you feel confident that the person teaching the course you sign up for has actual experience with what they are teaching.
What is the teacher’s background and teaching style? How did they become a teacher of this course? What has been their journey with the subject you want to learn? You’ll also want to evaluate if the teacher or leader is someone you feel you can approach and ask questions. Do they provide opportunities to connect?
It won’t be helpful to you if you cannot access your teacher throughout the course.
Can you go through the program and get what you need out of it?
Many courses are designed to keep you coming back for more. While there is nothing wrong with continuing to advance yourself, you also don’t want to fall into a trap where you’re baited by one class that just sets you up to sign up for eight more.
You’ll want to make sure that the class you are taking is actually going to help you with whatever problem you want to solve - without getting you to continue spending money on more courses or books.
Before signing up, make sure the program is designed so that you can go through it once to get what you need, without ever having to take it again.
When you are trying to determine if a course is right for you, it is worthwhile to consider the experience other participants have had with the program.
Reviews and testimonials are a great way to get a snapshot of what the class might be like and if it could be helpful to you. However, keep in mind that not every review and testimonial is valid. It is important to look at a program’s reviews on a case-by-case basis. For example, if all the reviews are 5 stars, especially if the company is new, there might have been some incentive offered for perfect feedback. This could invalidate some of the exemplary claims about the course. In the same vein, not every negative review is indicative of the program’s value.
Look at the reviews and testimonials as a whole and make your best judgment. If there is anything you feel you need clarity on, speak to someone from the company directly to get clarity.
Will the program actually impact your company?
If you are looking for help from any kind of educational offering, it can be easy to get into a cycle of signing up for classes, thinking the next one will be the thing that actually fixes your problem. But if you can’t relate the course to what you are actually facing at your company, is it actually beneficial?
When evaluating if a program is worth signing up for, make sure you can see your business at the end. What does the transformation look like? If you can clearly envision a positive outcome, the class is likely going to be relevant for the help you need.
If you are confused about how the program fits into your overall goal, you might want to reconsider it.
How many hours does it take each week for participation and prep work?
When you look into how much time you need to put into the course, does it make sense with your current schedule? Or will you need to make some adjustments to make sure you can fit everything in? Be sure to get a clear idea of how much time you will actually need to spend on the class.
It can be stressful down the line if the time requirements are more than you initially thought and you end up struggling to fit it into your schedule.
One of the first things you’ll likely look at before signing up for anything is the financial cost.
When evaluating the cost of a program, it’s important to know if there is a monthly fee, and, if so, what the total expense will be. Make sure all charges are discussed upfront and that there are no hidden fees.
It is also important to note if the course offers any kind of refund options and what the terms entail for getting your money back.
When you feel stuck, it might seem like making any attempt to change your circumstance will be better than staying where you are.
There is nothing more frustrating than putting all your hope (and money) into a program that might not actually get you the results you are looking for. But if you research the course you’re considering and ask the right questions, you can better understand if the offer is going to be right for your company.
We hope whatever you choose to do will be transformative for your business. And if you want to learn more about our programs and how we can help your teams, schedule a consultation.