Expertise Disease

There’s a disease in training. It’s widespread and can have some pretty unpleasant symptoms. It can wear trainers out, exhaust delegates and block real learning…

It’s the belief that the trainer is the ‘Expert’. That they know more than the delegates and are there to download their expertise to the ‘less able’.

There is something fundamentally wrong with this. If knowledge is what you’re after then read a book. You can achieve a great deal more ‘knowledge acquisition’ in a shorter period of time than the laborious process of listening to someone else.

So what is the role of an effective trainer? To create a space where learning can happen would be my answer. Where experience can be tested and reflected on in a safe space designed for the experiential learning taking place.

When you go to a training do you:

  • Expect to learn from the trainer?
  • Blame the trainer if you don’t learn anything?
  • Look for a good set of notes so you can file them neatly when you get back to work and only refer to them when people asked you what you did on the course?
  • Only change your way of doing things if others do first?


  • Do you decide what you want to learn before you go?
  • Own your own learning and ‘how’ you will learn during the course?
  • Help others to learn by engaging in the process and let learning emerge?
  • Help the trainer and other learners create a safe space for exploration and reflection?

So why does this disease exist? Because that’s how we were taught at school and university. We learnt what we were told and regurgitated when requested.

But think back. When did you really learn? Perhaps when you were pushed to do something different and stretch yourself or because you were inspired to change by the example of others through real experience?

Stay curious…

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