About our Train the Trainer programme: - from a participant’s point of view

Interview with Pálffy Magdi, career development trainer, founder of ‘Női Pálya’, certified trainer from Sämling’s 15th Train the Trainer group

You are a qualified teacher and culture manager. How did you find your way to trainings and becoming a trainer?

I wouldn’t separate the career of a trainer and a teacher: they both want to transfer knowledge and want to bring change for people. The teacher teaches kids certain things, the trainer helps adults develop their self-awareness, or cooperation. There are differences in the overall goals, yet both roles strive for initiating change – and that is where people need guidance. The only difference is with focus and methods applied. Certainly, there are frontal presentational roles being a trainer. You should be able to lead people, yet participants need more space to have their own experiences, they need their own experiences so that they could have their learnings.

I think these 2 roles fit brilliantly to my life. My mother is also a teacher, so I think I inherited much of that from her. It was always inevitable for me to teach. For almost 10 years I’m working in the IT sector. My bosses sensed that I’m very much attracted to teaching and education. I’ve mostly had roles where I was able to use and rely on these skills sets of mine. At certain times, I taught new joiners, other times I had to make sure several hundred colleagues understood technical and process differences. These trainings focused on knowledge transfers and were formal hard skill development courses. Nevertheless. I always tried to make these courses colourful and enjoyable for my audiences.

What was your motivation to participate at our Train the Trainer course?

On the one hand, I was a participant at certain trainings that I personally really enjoyed. I had my own experiences of non-formal education, where ‘aha’ moments could bring changes that affect your full life. in 2003, I also had one of these experiences: at a preparation programme for a sabbatical volunteering year. Certain high impact experiences lead me to drastically change my points of view about certain things.

On the other hand, I started a trainer role last year that focused on career development. Here, I use methodologies that are more characteristic of trainings: small and large group exercises, individual work, situational games. For now, I received great feedbacks, so it made sure I’m on the right track.

Why did you choose Sämling’s Train the Trainer programme?

I’ve seen this course in a person’s portfolio references who is very important for me. I thought that since I want to work as a trainer, I need to get a well-designed course for that. I was also searching for courses on coaching and mediation. Once I’ve seen Sämling quality programme, I also checked other types of train the trainer courses, yet the more I searched for information the more it was visible for me that I should do this with Sämling. I liked this the most. 

What expectations did you have concerning the training programme?

I did not have any exact expectation: I just wanted to learn and develop myself. I was hoping to have ‘aha’ moments – and I did have them. I had this trust that this is the thing for me, so I eased myself in it. I liked the topics, so overall, I was optimistic about it. It was the best experience of my life. The team was great – I don’t know how they feel about it, but I do miss our weekends together.

What happened during the course? What are the 2-3 most important benefits that you had from this course?

I really liked that most of the processes we could try ourselves on our own. There were also methodological parts, small presentations helping us explain what is happening during a training. For example, how many possible outlets an exercise can have. I found both theoretical parts as well as experimental parts fascinating.

I also enjoyed that right from the beginning it was deep water: we had to work with the team right away as trainers. These were well-prepared situations, so I was never caught off-guards. The team was also a great source of inspiration, because I also learnt a lot from them.

What are the areas that you learnt the most?

I was quite a fresher in my group, yet I never felt being left out or non-qualified. I also got affirmation that I should keep on working my way in this field. Besides these, self-awareness and cooperation were the best for me.

What are the parts of this course that you are already using in your trainer life?

What I could utilize right away on my trainings is paying attention to participants, and the importance of feedback. By paying attention, I refer to the ability to truly listen to others and not project my own understanding and concepts into to. This helped me a lot. I can truly listen, and deeper contents can surface during my trainings thanks to this.

It’s almost 2 years that you founded ‘Női pálya’. It provides a community and colourful contents in the topics of women’ career building. How do you see the potential of women in the sector of trainings? How do you personally experience being a trainer as a woman?

‘Női Pálya’ started as a hobby. I wanted to continue in the virtual space a work that I’ve done with a group of female colleagues. The blog is sharing information in an online surface about career management. It also has psychological and societal aspects written by others too. The articles share own experiences as well as knowledge sharing. This year’s big goal is to launch an offline space: start ‘Női Pálya Akadémia’ with lectures, round table talks and trainings.

I see that there are many trainers on the market, and many training companies. Most of them are focusing on corporate environments, there is less possibilities for individuals. From this point of view, it is not at all easy to start working as a trainer or start a business in training. Professionals and specific knowledge is very important, yet I’ve heard on several occasions that a childless young woman has great difficulties starting work in this field – even though she might have the knowledge and the specifics. Top managers (most of the men) do not take them seriously. Nevertheless, based on my (personal) experience, strenuous hard work and determination will always yield success. A likeable personality and honesty are components for true success.

The biggest challenge I see is how to make people realize change is needed. For example, we launched a campaign entitled: ’21 day without nagging’. People have difficulties realizing the fact that they actually do nag all day, every day. Without this self-reflective realization, people are not able to initiate changes in their lives.

What positive aspects do you live being a woman on this market?

Before Sämling’s course, I thought women are far better trainers, but after the course I redeemed by judgement and acknowledged that men can do this trade great. I honestly thing that with great people skills and pedagogical approach, it really doesn’t matter if the trainer is male or female. Appearances can be a woman’s secret weapon, yet it is only helping if the outside and the inside are both filled with values. Women are known for their spirit of care and helping. In training work, this could be well-utilized. If someone is talented in something, likes to work with people, then a career as trainer is a great opportunity for both sexes.

Who would you recommend Sämling’s Train the Trainer course to?

Nowadays, there are many roles squeezed into being a trainer: corporate trainers still do a bit more of knowledge transfer and hard skills trainings. First and foremost, it’s important to clarify the aim of the training. Those trainers who must go with more teaching frontal style, they can learn a lot of knowledge and experience-based methodologies that will enrich their repertoire. Trainers working with service desks and sales areas will highly appreciate all elements related to communication and self-development. They will get to know non-formal methods that will refresh their everyday work. I can also recommend this course to coaches (with special focus on active listening and questioning technics), career changers, teachers too..

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