Many people want to know how to choose a good training company. It is so important to understand what to look for in a training company and also what questions to ask. This article considers what to check and what to ask of a training company.
What courses do the training company offer?
There are some companies – like SuperStar Communicator, who specialise in specific areas: we specialise in communication skills for impact, credibility, efficiency and skills associated with work skills. Others appear to do everything. If they DO offer ‘everything’, ask if are these courses ‘off the shelf’ or tailored to the client? Are they existing courses they run “in house” and do they have specialists leading them? You will be
What is their experience and expertise?
Here at Superstar Communicator we have unique experience; Susan is a former international opera singer, prize winning business owner, with a compelling personal journey in speaking and presenting. She is also a fully qualified teacher, and a very experienced trainer, coach and speaker internationally.
There are some training companies who are started by talented individuals who were previously in an L&D role within a company and they then have a specific knowledge of a sector of industry. Alternatively there are individuals who are passionate about supporting a specific sector or type of client. This might be the charity sector or public sector.
What is the information on their website?
You should be able to check basic information – such as the questions above. If they aren’t readily available, why not call them or arrange to have a brief conversation.
What do their clients say about them?
Testimonials on the website are useful; certainly we have some. But only a fool would include less than favourable testimonials about them! Google reviews can be quite useful – although we have heard of incidents where rival companies have left unflattering reviews on other company Google reviews which is naughty. Also Linkedin reviews. If a client asks if we can speak to a former client, we welcome this; it endorses the high quality service we provide.
Do they have any external accreditations or qualifications that are specific to the training area they are in?
Here at SuperStar Communicator, our work is CPD accredited by CPD Standards. This internationally recognised qualification is accredited by an independent organisation which specialises in learning. They have assessed th equality of the content, learning outcomes, structure and delivery and this in itself is a recommendation. But there are professions which require a certain number of hours of training a year to maintain professional skills.
Some training companies might be endorsed by a professional organisation such as CMI, CII or ICAEW: they provide technical training as part of professional qualifications or leadership development. And they will be able to issue qualifications related to this.
Who do they work with?
At SuperStar Communicator, we work with multi-national, corporate organisations, SMEs, professional associations and partnerships in the professional services area. Other companies might work with a specific sector such as digital creative companies, start ups – or even with individuals rather than B to B.
Who are their trainers and what are their qualifications, technical knowledge and experience?
Any good training company should list their trainers and coaches with their expertise, qualifications and experience. At SuperStar Communicator we have associates who have specific expertise and experience to enhance the learning outcomes for niche industries and courses.
If there are no trainers’ information included, or the ‘about us’ is very vague, it would be beneficial to question them about this.
Do they present qualifications or certifications:
We offer CPD accredited certificates that are invaluable for many professional development programmes. But as a rule there are 3 types of accreditation for all training courses: these are –
- An external Accreditation – from an awarding organization which is easily recognisable. This includes CPD accredited qualifications, and there will be an external organisation who check the quality of the training
- Approval from a trade body; so it is part of their career development programme. An example could be professional qualification training – such as accountancy.
- In-house certification from the training provider itself, which is fun but not necessarily recognised in the industry
Unless you are looking for professional training, external accreditation qualifications and certificates are the best option.
What is their process of working with you?
At SuperStar Communicator we communicate with our clients from when they originally contact us, to post training meetings. However, there are companies that you literally complete a form; press a button on their website and pay! It depends what you want: some clients might really like the idea of the ease of booking you, but others would prefer to get to know their training company. Consider what your values are and what you want from your business relationship from your training provider.
What processes do they have to understand your business and specific challenges?
Do they set up meetings to understand your business? How do they report to you throughout the training process? Or do they just rely on a questionnaire or form that you complete? Do they have a specific account manager for you to liaise with? Are they happy for you to ask them questions? How often can you contact them? What do they offer in addition to the actual training?
What methods of training and coaching do they use? Are they innovative and engaging?
There is a wide variety of delivering learning opportunities to attendees. The best companies combine a variety of different activities to engage, inspire and support attendees to learn. They also focus on the learning outcomes and how these are aligned to the needs of the client. Here at SuperStar Communicator we use a variety of different learning and coaching activities; we also include independent learning as well as group learning; different activities to add variety and challenges.
How do they tailor existing courses to your business needs?
Some companies only deliver existing ‘off the shelf’ courses. They are not modified for specific clients. These might be for professional qualifications or to deliver very popular courses like presentation skills. Here at SuperStar Communicator we arrange a pre-meeting session with the client to discuss what outcomes and results they want; we also conduct a confidential survey with the attendees to identify and include any specific need. Even if a client is paying for an existing course we tailor this framework to the needs of the client. However, not all companies do this; and this is an important question to ask.
How do they measure progress and success?
In fairness, this might not be something included on their website or their brochure. This is a great question to ask a training company. A good company like SuperStar Communicator measure and monitor progress and success: whether it is a virtual workshop, speech or more conventional training. As part of the CPD process we ask specific questions after delivering the training for attendees to reflect on what has been learnt and how it will impact their working. Other companies have a formal test or exam at the end.
There is truth that you get what you pay for, when it comes to training:
As a general rule, you do get what you pay for, and this is especially true for low cost providers. Unfortunately the only way a training company is able to be cheaper than the competition is by cutting their costs. This impacts the quality of the training in a number of ways
- quality of resources
- experience and qualification of the trainers: good trainers will charge the company more
- quality of the equipment if this is an experiential event or technical where computers and devices are supplied
- facilities of the training environment if your training company is organising the venue.
- size of the class. If they have TOO many attendees, this will impact the quality of learning for them.
- course duration (is it shorter in terms of hours or days?) there are some companies that offer shorter hours – hence it being cheaper, and how effective is the learning experience and outcomes?
In summary: when you are choosing a cheaper option, be aware of what you are willing to compromise. You might not mind having a lot of attendees in the room, or the facilities of the venue might not be the prime consideration. So list what your priorities are when finding a training provider as well as your budget.
If you would like to discuss working with us please contact us or book a call