Training Budgets are Always the First to Get Cut. Don’t Let it Be You.

“Our proudest achievements can come from the face of our greatest adversity.” –Mark Manson

The Training industry can be a cut-throat biz, although, we don’t usually think of Training in this way. Generally, when we hear the word, “Training,” we automatically think of the fun, excitement, and learning that comes with Training. But, I’ll be the first to admit that there’s a dark-side to the Training Industry that just ain’t so pretty for Training suppliers and Trainers.

The bulk of my training work is the Arabian Gulf with a few new European clients for whom I deliver training. I lived in Kuwait for nearly 8 years and have been creating customized workshops and Coaching programs in several Soft Skills courses for the Oil & Gas, Financial, Banking, Scientific, Education, and Health sectors—so, I’ve seen firsthand how Training budgets get slashed, cut and completely eliminated overnight.

I remember when I first got a real taste of this dark-side of Training in December 2014 when the Wafra Joint Operations (WJO) was shut down in Kuwait and WJO employees were ultimately told the following year that they were now on an official open-ended “leave.” At the time, I was actually delivering two different courses to several batches of participants at the WJO and Saudi Arabian Chevron on the topics of: Creative Problem Solving and Advanced Creative Problem Solving and Decision Making —awww the irony of teaching those very topics during such a huge time of crisis. Never could I imagine that this dramatic turn-of-events within the Oil industry would actually severely hit the Training industry. I was left asking some pretty big questions that I’m certain other training providers were asking themselves, too:

1. How could the shut-down of an oilfield (or any corporation) impact an entire country, let alone the many training departments in the banking, finance, university, health, education, and science sectors?

2. How could training providers lose business that was directly linked to the shut-down of an oilfield?

3. Should I continue to work in the Training field? Is it worth all the stress and uncertainty? (I know I was not the only one asking this question; most of my Training colleagues were, too)

While pondering these very realistic scenarios, what was evident is that: Significant business was lost for trainers and training providers and it was literally overnight!

I remember witnessing training providers scurrying about trying to find ways to pay their employees’ salaries. The level of nervousness, stress, worry and fear were at an all-time high since the global economic crisis of 2008. The oilfield shutdown was just a few short years after the economic crisis so most trainers, training providers and training departments believed this was the end for them. And, sadly, for many, it was. In fact, several training providers that I sub-contracted my services to are no longer in existence to this day due to this major event that transpired between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. And, not only training providers located in the Gulf were impacted, so were many training providers from The States, Europe, Canada, and Australia who had a vast majority of their clients in the Gulf.

For quite some time, training contracts dried up. Training budgets were slashed. For months, trainers were out of work; training departments had no work to do; and many previously negotiated training contracts were canceled.

I distinctly remember being told by a CEO that when the going gets tough, the training budget is the first to get cut. Ouch! But, a sad reality indeed.


In the United States alone, nearly $71 billion is spent on training expenditures, including employee payroll and purchasing of necessary products to maintain business. This lofty figure symbolizes the extreme value the Training industry has. There would be no $71 billion to spend if nobody ever desired training, innovation, education and coaching. And, with the daily affairs of business rapidly changing due to social media, advances in the internet, and cool inventions and apps, lord knows we will always need the Training industry to keep us up to speed on what’s changed or been updated with these advancements in technology, not-to-mention emotional intelligence.

There must be a way then, that we as Trainers and Training providers can permanently install safeguarding techniques and measures to protect ourselves from foreseen and unforeseen crises that can dramatically hit our bottom-line. So, what is it? How do we stay safe while treading unsafe waters?

I recently surveyed many training providers in Europe and the Middle East who survived the oil field shutdown, and I was told what saved them, as well as, what keeps them going strong in the training sector today.

These training providers informed me that focusing on four (4) very specific categories is what keeps them remaining top in their field—protecting themselves from crazy crises that could cut them out forever if not proactive and prepared. The 4 areas they devote time, money, and focus to are:

  • Quality Trainers
  • Quality Customized Content
  • Streamlined back-office
  • Going Extreme  (doing the unconventional)

Truth be told, Training is the first thing that should stay when any crisis hits; it’s Training that helps us keep a solution-based mindset, find the opportunity in obstacles, as well as remain innovative, positive and fresh during a crisis. Also, most of us are teaching our participants significant ways to buck systems, forego the status quo, embrace the unconventional and choose adversity as an advantage. If we head for the hills when the going gets tough, we certainly aren’t walking our talk. If we aren’t role models as Trainers and Training providers, who is?

In today’s post, we will discuss the first of the four topics categories mentioned above—Quality Trainers. We will outline specific ways to find powerful, purposeful  trainers who will be your bread-and-butter.

Next post, we will go over quality customized content and how tailor-made courses help you leave your print and lasting legacy.

Thereafter, we will discuss just how crucial it is to have an extremely “air-tight” and streamlined back office to help you plan, prepare and be proactive.

And in the fourth and final post of these series, we will examine how “Going Extreme” and foregoing the status-quo (especially with our mindsets) will truly safeguard us from events like the oilfield shutdown mentioned previously. Exploring how we can turn adversity into advantage may sound extreme but it works. So, stay tuned for the three (3) remaining topics after today’s post on how to stay successful in the training industry in my upcoming posts. Meanwhile, we now turn to how to select and keep truly talented, terrific trainers to keep your clients coming back for life—no matter the crisis or threat.







Quality Trainers

We’ve all had the experience of getting a new customer and wanting to impress them (and keep them). We’ve worked hard to ensure that behind-the-scenes everything is going perfectly with our training staff. We’ve selected the “best” trainer, they show up on time, deliver the course and all the participants are present. But then, you receive the course evaluations only to discover that your trainer totally bombed. Like, in a major way. Every evaluation received was awful. The participants say it was the worst trainer they’ve ever experienced, and your client even threatens to cancel all future contracts simply due to this trainer’s performance. What in the heck happened? It seemed everything was going so well! As a result, you feel drained, tired, depleted, maybe even angry and you feel all of your hard work was lost the moment those evaluations were submitted.

This scenario is all too common. I hear it every day from the several training providers I work with: they just can’t seem to find and keep amazing trainers who are organized, clever, professional, and cutting-edge. And, if your business model is primarily built upon using Freelance trainers, your business could be shut down entirely due to repeat bad evaluations. Next week, I will send you a little cheatsheet on how to find and keep Super-Stellar Rockstar Freelance Trainers—so be on the lookout for that. 


So, how do we select a great trainer who can guarantee us near-to-perfect results every time and protect us in times of crisis?

1. Gather as much information about your trainer as you can. What techniques do they use? Do they continuously participate in trainings themselves and get certified in new, cutting-edge techniques? Is training a “way of life” for them? Do they “walk their own talk?” Do they feel inspired to you or do they feel desperate for training opportunities? Stick to the inspired trainers; ditch the desperate.

2. Sit in on a few of your trainer’s courses to feel their process. I can’t tell you how many training providers I’ve consulted with who’ve freely admitted they have never sat in on any of their trainers’ courses. Now, you don’t have to sit in on every course but having seen them in action for at least an hour is crucial. You need to see if they are fun, on-point, and can handle the room. Are they engaging? Do they interact well with each and every participant? Do they know where they wish to take the participants and do they take them there? Are they able to handle the unexpected and still APPLY it to the training agenda? Is the trainer a role model for the principles they are teaching—do they try to implement these principles in their personal and professional life?

3. It should NOT be about the trainer’s experience, rather it should be about YOUR clients’ experience. If the trainer is putting on a show and wants to be on “stage,” best to skip out on this trainer. This is the first sign that they may be a one-time trainer as they are always looking for something better. Many trainers believe it is about them when the experience should be about every single participant in each and every course—after all, clients are paying a pretty penny to have their participants walk away feeling satisfied. If you’ve found yourself working with a “performer” for a trainer, best for them to exit stage-left and head into show business. Training isn’t for them.

4. Do they listen? Does the trainer show a genuine interest in your needs as a training provider? Do you they sincerely listen to the participants and address their needs? Or, are they just non-stop talking? If they can balance between listening and information-sharing, they are a keeper.

5. Is the trainer organized? Do they follow-up and follow-through? Do they email back? Return your calls? Or, do they only care about their day-rate? Trainers who truly honor their code-of-ethics and see training as a “way of life,” are the trainers you want to work with.

6. Do they mix it up? If your trainer uses several tools to illustrate the objectives of the course, such as videos, games, self-surveys, partner work, group presentations, teambuilding activities, songs, role plays, scenarios and in the-moment-coaching—and can stick to the agenda— this is a trainer to keep for life.

Let’s protect your training company from getting slashed—invest in quality trainers now.  I still have some slots open to lead courses in September and October. Let’s keep your business going strong and staying in the game. Schedule with me now at:



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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.


  1. kareem helmi says:

    Dear Laurie

    Your are the best Trainer and the best friend I worked with her before , I think you will be from the top trainers in the world.
    god bless you ,,,,,

    I think we can take advantage of this name (( Tips, tools and techniques for Trainers, Training Staff and Training Providers )) to do a training Course

    best regards

    • Laurie Santos says:

      Salam Kareem! It’s always wonderful to hear from you and thank you so much for your kind comment. Al Rouya Training was the first training provider that gave me a chance. I will never forget Al Rouya and I am so grateful, happy and honored over all the work we did together. I would LOVE to do more trainings with Al Rouya—we had A LOT of fun and wonderful participants!

      I agree: Let’s do a training course for training companies or for training staff from training departments called, “Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Trainers, Training Staff and Training Providers.” I’m on board! Let’s make it happen. I hope you’re doing well and that all the staff at Al Rouya are also doing great. Send them all my regards and I hope to see you all in Kuwait soon! Best regards always, Laurie


  1. […] Each of these 4 topics is being discussed in 4 separate posts. Last post, we covered the cruciality of keeping quality trainers and I promised you a cheatsheet to help you identify these super stellar quality rockstar trainers which bring you less headache and more bucks. If you didn’t get the chance to read the last week’s post on why quality trainers are your bread-and-butter, read here. […]

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