Monthly Archives: January 2010

Trainer Questions to Create Movement

“Shift in how we perceive the world occur because what we experience changes the questions we ask. Seeking answers to questions we have never asked before changes our brains so we can practice differently and thereby craft new experiences.”

Coaching with the Brain in Mind, David Rock and Linda Page 

In our 4MAT Train the Trainer programs, we explore in depth the power of artful questions. Questions drive the learning process. The questions we ponder serve as the filter for the information and experiences that come at us. We pay attention to the information that is relevant to the questions we are seeking an answer for and disregard the information that is irrelevant. When we shift the questions we are asking, we reshape the filter and what was previously irrelevant suddenly becomes relevant.

Trainers can easily shift the learner’s attention by reshaping the questions the learner is asking. We do this through the questions we seek to answer in our design and the questions we pose in our delivery.

In training design, there should be one overarching question that is being explored. In 4MAT, we call this the “Essential Question”. What is the point of the learning process? What is the question we are seeking an answer for? In the 4MAT Train the Trainer program, 4MAT 4Delivery, our essential question is: “How does the trainer’s delivery approach impact the learner’s experience?”  All of the content and practice in the program is designed to explore the complexity of this question.

In training delivery, the questions are crafted to move the learner along the learning process. Before delivering the course, the trainer should craft questions they will use to transition the learner through the learning process. A trainer also needs a “toolkit” of questions to pull out when the learning process needs to be stimulated. These “toolkit” questions are independent of content-you can use them in any learning situation. Here are examples of some of our favorites:

What are the themes showing up in this conversation?

If you could focus on answering only one question, what would that question be?

That’s interesting, can you tell me more about this?

How does this idea connect to your experience?

What did you notice about this experience?

Did you notice any familiar patterns in yourself or within the group?

What would you predict from?

How would you adapt this to…?

What would you predict from…?

What has worked in the past?

Feel free to share your favorites–what questions do you use to lead the learner to the next step in the design 

How would you adapt this to…?

What has worked in the past?

Comments: Share your favorites–what questions do you find yourself using frequently to lead the learner to the next step in the learning design?

4MAT Training Opening Activity: The Difference that Makes a Difference

I took along David Rock and Linda Page’s book, Coaching with the Brain in Mind, on a recent trip to an off-site train the trainer program. This is an excellent “textbook” for 4MAT trainers interested in learning the brain basis for effective transformation of behaviors. Rock and Page reference Bandler and Grinder’s work on paradigm shifts calling them “the difference that makes a difference”. They go on to give us metaphors for this shift including, “a curtain lifted”, “a light went on” or “I’m seeing with new eyes”. As I read this, I thought what a great 4MAT Connect step for a design. For example, imagine opening with this as a Connect activity:

 “We have all experienced a moment when everything  shifted for us. Sometimes this is a radical shift in our life: a marriage, a birth or a loss. Other times, it is as subtle as comment that someone makes in passing. This is the “difference that makes a difference”. When has a difference made a difference in your life?

Where might you apply this?

A customer service training focused on the little things that make a big difference.

A goal workshop focused on how incremental improvements create the progress.

A creative thinking workshop illustrating how a simple shift in perspective can radically change the view.

In the 4MAT model of design, we emphasize the bigger concept that overarches the content. Concepts transcend the content. Where else might you apply the concept of a “Difference that makes a difference”?