This is an often-asked question at trainer conferences and instructor development schools. Traits that most often make the list are passion, credibility, knowledge and humility.
I am going to suggest it is Curiosity. I believe trainers are in one of the most influential leadership positions in any organization and this is why Curiosity is the same trait I wrote about last year for the Dare to Be Great leadership blog about as the most important trait for leaders.
- Curiosity keeps your mind, eyes and ears open to new ideas and better ways to teach.
- Curiosity keeps you humble, as it is hard to be cocky and curious at the same time.
- Curiosity makes it ok to say, “I don’t know?”
- Curiosity makes it ok to ask, “What do you think?”
- Curiosity helps you realize that excellence, greatness and mastery are all journeys, and never end points.
- Curiosity inspires you to ask questions such as:
- Will this enhance the competence and confidence of the people I am training?
- Will this enhance the learning environment for the participants?
- Will this enhance learning, understanding and retention?
- Will this enhance the ability of the participants to apply this material in the real world?
- Curiosity inspires you to read, listen, learn and grow.
- Curiosity inspires you to wonder, “Is there a better way?”
- Curiosity makes it ok not to know the answer.
- Curiosity challenges you to ask, “Is this content still relevant?”
- Curiosity inspires you to seek the answer to the question, “What does the research show?”
- Curiosity allows you to learn from the people you are teaching.
- Curiosity leads to empathy.
- Curiosity inspires you to seek to connect the dots between what you are learning and what you already know.
- Curiosity leads to knowledge and understanding.
- Curiosity causes you to pause and reflect, which leads to insight and wisdom.
- Curiosity helps make you a better listener.
- Curiosity helps make you a better leader.
- Curiosity helps make you a better trainer.
- Curiosity inspires you to ask open-ended questions.
- Curiosity inspires you to listen to the answers to those questions.
- Curiosity inspires you to ask follow-up questions.
- Curiosity gives you permission to say, “I never thought that. Tell me more.”
- Curiosity gives you permission to say, “I never thought of it that way. Tell me more.”
- Curiosity keeps you thinking like a SMR (Subject Matter Resource) instead of an SME (Subject Matter Expert).
I am curious. What did I miss from the above list?
I am also curious what you believe is the most important trait for a trainer.
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