Training Today: The Old Way and the New Approach

By Michael Koethner Wellness & Healing Consultant, Michael Koethner | September 02, 2012

A lot has been written about training and development, it is also a sensitive issue to write and talk about, and I guess this article will not be the last one to explore this topic. This is a clear sign of the demand and importance of continued training in today's times. I like to again bring the focus and attention to the spa and wellness industry and highlight a few facets that have possibly been neglected and/or not even thought about. Training is important, there is no question about it. But it should be linked to education and not just to performance of an employee. It should also be interesting and inspiring for both the trainer and the trainee. In the old days training was seen and treated as a patronizing way of teaching. If a person or employee did not perform well, according to required standards, the management or respective department usually had to create an extensive training plan with an evaluation and point scheme to make sure that the performance of the person would be adjusted to positively reflect a company's image. Most of the time these measures did not show the expected results because the individual human factors of personal and professional development were neglected. This got me thinking…

"Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth."
– John F. Kennedy

This is a strong quote, I am aware of this, and it might not be in the interest of some companies or people who try to set standards and samples of excellence in their enterprise. However this quote has a true value in today's time, and any training session, seminar and/or workshop should build on the development of the individual trainee, their growth and freedom of choice. I am not suggesting a total laissez-faire type of training, but a training approach with regard to seeing the trainees having already accumulated a large set of skills and knowledge to be fine-tuned.

In my previous article I wrote about how important it is to know your therapists, staff members and associates in the spa and wellness centers, and how to integrate them in the overall operation of the hotel and/or resort. With this article I like to extend my point of view and observation to the subject of training, and would like to engage the reader in a thought process of how to create a better training environment for everyone involved. Again, the key words are love, passion, compassion, trust and dedication. A therapist needs to have these key attributes, in order to be an excellent person and an inspiration to every guest and to their fellow colleagues. A trainer should have at least the same attributes, a passion to educate people, to pass on knowledge and develop the skills of a trainee, to name just a few. A trainer also needs to be able to awaken and inspire the trainees to know more and do more, so they can be better and achieve more in their personal and professional life, for the benefit of personal growth and excellence. The performance, service excellence, attention to detail and the remuneration will be a positive side effect of a successful training. Any training should therefore consider the humanity of the interaction, and it should be interesting, engaging, inspiring, valuable, true and well presented. The trainee should be able to obtain new theoretical knowledge, update current practical skills and learn new skills. The training should also be conducted in an environment that is pleasing, healthy, clean, safe and supportive. A training performed in the lower floors of a construction site basement with polluted air, no windows, insufficient lighting, second hand furniture, constant disturbing construction noise and other negative side effect, only because the company wants to safe expenses during the pre-opening process, will surely not benefit anyone. The impact on the trainer and trainees in conditions like these would be and is disastrous to say the least. Unfortunately this is still happening in some companies and certain geographical areas, and the consequences are not being addressed and/or solved.

Everyone has, or is searching for, a mentor in their personal and professional lives, to guide them through their journey called life. A mentor is not defined by age, race, gender, culture, or religion. A mentor should be chosen based on trust and personal energy alignment. If chosen by instinct and intuition their can be the best trainer for life. A mentor based training can also be more beneficial than group training, because the focus and intensity of the training is enhanced between two individuals who have connected on a deep level and fully trust each other. The mentor knows what the student really needs and will guide them on the right path, just as good parents will do.

Have you ever asked yourself at work - what am I doing here?, or – what this is all about and good for?, then you are not alone. Times have changed to a great extent. As companies re-establishing themselves and adapt to an ever-changing environment they slowly start to discover their true potential and assets – their staff members, realizing that without them there will be no company; most companies however still ignoring this fact. They are living in the ever growing process of adaptation and restructuring their work environment and workforce, make people redundant and replace them with machines, in order to increase the profit margin, only to discover at a later stage that they have lost the soul and true meaning of their business enterprise.
On the other hand, more and more people are waking up and asking themselves whether they are actually happy with what they are doing for a living. People start re-educating themselves, change occupation and go into a totally different direction and looking for jobs and careers they really love to do, which gives them fulfillment and a purpose in life, as well as provide them with a steady income. People become much more aware of what they can do and want to do, instead of simply conforming or performing to outdated standards, orders, rules and regulations.

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