12 Questions to Ask Your Corporate Trainers (Before You Hire Them)

According to Forbes, 65.9% of corporate trainings are still instructor-led. With eLearnings, mobile learning, webinars, and just-in-time trainings on the rise, many training providers and training staff may be under the impression that the vast majority of trainings these days are actually not trainer-led; however, nothing could be further from the truth.


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Considering the above staggering statistic, it’s quite imperative then that training providers select top trainers who lead through talent, teachability, and trust. 

Too often, training providers are “under the gun” to fill the trainer vacancy and don’t really get the chance to understand the style of the trainer, let alone their methods in the classroom. Now, more than ever, it is crucial that we ensure we are offering our best trainers to do the job right while making sure the courses are all about the participants’ experience.

With the rise of Millennials desiring to become professional trainers, it’s quite important that we as veteran trainers and coaches equip them with the commitment level required to lead  and dive deep with our course participants. Many Millennials indeed have the optimism necessary to lead great courses. Additionally, they have a wonderful transparency that many veteran trainers can learn from, as well as the desire to be corrected, mentored and coached (which is a great sign of a wonderful trainer and coach); however, many Millennial trainers miss the perseverance required to go the distance and can be quick to throw in the towel.  According to Goldman Sachs, the Millennial generation is the biggest generation in US history—even bigger than the Baby Boomers; thus, it is crucial we give Millennial trainers the encouragement and know-how to carry the torch of training forward into the future. And, it is imperative that veteran trainers continue to put themselves through ongoing education in order to stay current, innovative, and fresh.


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This post isn’t solely about Millennial Trainers; it’s directed at ALL trainers and training staff in our industry. Considering the Training sector represents a $130 billion industry, we’d better get our ducks in a row and clean up our act. And this means, it starts with our biggest representative yet: The Trainer.

Now, we can’t expect Trainers to be perfect but we can have expectations. And, this means, that as trainers, we should have expectations of ourselves as well. As trainers, we should uphold our trainer code-of-conduct, make sure the experience is about our participants (rather than about ourselves), and that we can feel and read the room for energy-drops by our students, as well as ensuring we are facilitating their learning by asking open-ended questions while truly listening from our heart to their answers. 

Additionally, trainers should attend regular courses themselves to never forget what it is like to be a participant. Not only should trainers be re-educating themselves but we can easily throw out empathy when leading courses if we don’t continuously participant in ongoing education ourselves.

Talented trainers have open hearts, open ears, open minds, and open doors. If a trainer is trying to push agendas, have ulterior motives, are thinking about how they are going to respond to a participant’s question while the participant is asking (rather than clearing their mind and really listening), dare I say it: they shouldn’t be in the Training or Coaching industry.

It’s not easy task to be a terrific trainer; there’s lots to juggle each day we enter the room but it’s a big honorary job we’ve signed up for—we’re really blessed to do this work—thus, we should treat it as such.


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So, let’s get cracking!


Below you will find 12 questions you should ask every potential trainer that walks through your doors in order to ensure your success, was well as your participants’ growth, development and learning.



12 Questions You MUST Ask Every Trainer Before You Hire Them


  1. How do you grab your participants’ attention from the very start? Be specific—what methods do you use? (We’ve literally only got 30 seconds to get our participants invested in us, the material, and the course overall so we need to know how to hook them from the very beginning).
  2. How do you as a trainer practice self-care during your courses? (Be looking for answers such as, they honor their breaks; they get fresh air between modules; they go to bed early each night; they exercise after delivering each day; they watch comedy, for example)
  3. Which tools do you use in your private and professional life that you also teach participants (which tools do you believe in the most)? (Which of these tools do you find most beneficial and why?) Be listening for things such as: They have a coach who holds them accountable; they love Agile Leadership or Fish! Philosophy or MacGregor X vs Y Theory. You want to hear specifics. They don’t have to be the examples listed above; you just want to know they have some tools they love, value and use and they can cite what they are.
  4. How do you share the course objectives with participants? Do they have the participants read them out loud? Do they read them aloud? Do they simply tell the participants to look them over? What you’re looking for: You want to make sure they are covering the objectives in some way and not skipping over them.
  5. What are the methods you use to handle difficult participants? Make sure they cite specific examples. What you’re looking for: You want to ensure they are not getting angry and having a short fuse each time they encounter a difficult participant. Additionally, you want to make sure they aren’t humiliating or embarrassing the participant. And, lastly, you want to make sure they have an open mind, can accept opposing views, and can make difficult moments defining moments rather only adverse ones.

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6.What is your secret to creating a memorable course? Note: If the Trainer says things along the lines of, “The participants were always laughing at my jokes; I was asked to teach again; I had a good time,” these are not the answers to be giving a “thumbs-up” to. You want to hear things like, “The participants had major turnarounds, breakthroughs and a-ha’s; it was clear the participants were invested in the learning because they openly shared, were vulnerable, engaged and sincerely participated.” The idea here is not that the trainer is an entertainer or performer but that they are actually facilitating memorable and deep learning. 

7. In what ways do you address the various learning styles and personality types in your training courses? (What are your thoughts on Micro-Learning and Adaptive Learning?) Ask them to share specific ways they get their participants involved based on each and every individual participant- personality type. For example, do they use the Enneagram? Perhaps they use DISC, the 4 Workplace Personalities, Human Design or MBTI? All of these are great examples that the trainer can personalize and customize the participants’ training experiences through Micro-learning and Adaptive Learning experiences based on individual needs/desires. 

8.How do you know your course was successful? (What are the signs/evidence of this successful course?) What you’re looking for: The trainer should have had an idea of what the client was hoping for, as well as what the participants needed in order to have major take-aways. Thus, the trainer should be able to say something like,“The course was successful because the participants indicated we met their objectives, and the client has stated that we provided them with tools they actual plan to use in an ongoing way.” 

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9.How can you ensure that as our trainer we will get our Return on Investment? Cite specific ways you will help us achieve our ROI. What you’re looking for: You want to know that this trainer genuinely cares about the success of your participants, as well as the future of your business. You want to know that your trainer can be agile, bounce-back, and be resilient; you want to know they can adapt to YOUR needs to make sure the ROI is achieved.

10.What’s the difference between a Coach, Mentor, Consultant, Facilitator, and Trainer? Who do you yourself to be? A Coach? A Trainer?

11.What will you do/how will you “be” to ensure that we will continue to work with you as our Trainer? 

12. If you as Trainer make a mistake during the course, how do you handle it? Do you speak to it? Do you turn it into a coaching opportunity for course participants?

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As Training professionals, if we’d like to see more happy faces like in the above picture, we must do our job to provide the top, talented trainers who will approach participants with their hearts in mind. We want to ensure we are facilitating, coaching, and guiding throughout the entire course and providing the deepest learning for the  highest good by ensuring we are truly SEEING each and every participant in the room (and not just ourselves).

I hope you enjoyed this post and found it helpful in taking your training needs to the next level. I look forward to reading your comments and always invite any feedback or insight.

Oh, and if you didn’t get the chance to read last week’s post on how to stay current in this ever-changing market in 7 simple strategies, check it out here: http://www.extremedreamtraining.com/how-training-providers-and-trainers-can-stay-current-in-7-simple-strategies/.

Till next time, happy training!


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About Laurie Santos

Owner and Founder of Extreme Dream Training. Certified Life Coach, Master Reiki Healer, Certified Law of Attraction Expert, Certified EFQM Assessor. Surfer, expat, lover of animals, poetry and silence.

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