Designing Trainings with the Learner in Mind

 @michaelbolton and me at the 2008 AYE Conference - with experiential learning master @jerryweinberg observing

 @michaelbolton and me at the 2008 AYE Conference - with experiential learning master @jerryweinberg observing

The "Golden Rule" states to treat everyone the way you want to be treated. 

In general terms, this may be true: I don't want to be lied to, I want to be treated fairly, I want to be respected - so those are all things I try and give out as well. Once you have some cross-cultural or Type knowledge, however, general terms aren't enough. You realize how important the details are.  

What I consider truth and fair may have different connotations for you. What I think is respectful behavior may not be where you're coming from. In fact, it may be the complete opposite. 

When serving clients from other countries or with other Type preferences, then, it makes sense to treat them the way they want to be treated.  

One-on-one sessions like coaching are pretty easy to customize, but keeping a diverse group engaged takes a little more preparation.  

During her keynote address at the conference, Susan Nash of took us all through an exercise. We learned by doing that the four Interaction Styles™ energies all add value to the learning process.  



  • provide guidance
  • narrow down ideas
  • provide information about potential pitfalls
  • stand back and monitor
  • set up a group structure
  • review what you’ve accomplished and next steps



  • complex problem-solving
  • reduce anxiety during conflict
  • listen, build trust, mediate
  • be there with client and ask questions to allow them the space to find their own answers
  • tipping point / push a little bit and step in with a gem



  • get people engaged with passion and energy
  • set time parameters
  • give structure/boundaries
  • bring people back on course
  • provide guidance when client is uncertain
  • make stuff happen



  • pull out the wisdom in the room
  • help connect people
  • humor element
  • get people to brainstorm / feel relaxed
  • bring energy up at the start and after lunch


One way of making sure everyone's engaged is to follow Susan's TEACH model: 

  1. State the Topic
  2. Engage the audience in experiential learning
  3. Provide Abstract data as well
  4. Help them remember by providing Concrete examples
  5. Show How to apply what they've learned

Concrete and abstract concepts speak to both Sensing and Intuiting learners, and applications speak to all adults. After all,

Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand.