by Benson Maina
These key elements were confirmed while leading the New Staff Training in Kenya from August 2015 – May 2016.
Preparing for the Training – I am indebted to the two Africa-wide NST Trainers trainings (in Harare and Nairobi). The materials given to us, the power points, the leader’s Guidebook, Orientation Manual and other notes have come in handy and given us more than enough space to be innovative in their use. I also developed a Trainers Handbook for the sessons using the Trainer Training Materials and Coaches Notes for continuous training of my team of trainers throughout the cycle. On a monthly basis we met and sharpened one another on these matters.
Shared Leadership – Having a team of nine new staff and six trainers, each one of us had either one or two new staff to train. The trainers were carefully selected on the basis of their heart to train, their vision, and passion for field ministry too. In addition, the trainers were running with one key administrative role in the cycle. So the work was shared and none of us felt overwhelmed. The roles included finances and logistics, field ministry, sessions training and planning, welfare of the new staff, team dynamics of both the new staff and trainers, and general administration, leadership and coordinating the team. Everyone was maximized, having being placed according to their strengths and passions – and together we won!
Coaching Emphasis – From the word go, we knew this had been a missing link in the previous trainings. The new staff used to be assigned to “busy trainers” and even sometimes they were chided – “It is your responsibility to chase after the trainers!” The result was a demotivated team, having unmet needs, and un-clarified expectations. We chose to go the other way – intentionally scheduled weekly meetings between the trainers and the trainees. We also developed a Mentorship Handbook which helped each trainer to track commitments agreed upon in each meeting.
Every appointment was a time of celebrating successes, addressing challenges, setting goals and evaluating them, getting personal and giving feedback. I can confidently say the new staff felt cared for personally. In a big way, this took care of many of the problems which could have arisen from unattended concerns. Even our National Director said, “This was a training cycle with a difference, having not engaged in any problem solving, compared to our previous cycles.”
Problem Solving – At the very beginning, one session we held with the trainers was “Anticipating Problems and Possible Solutions.” This turned out to have been a very crucial session, because many of the problems were addressed before they happened and whenever any challenge arose, we could address it at our monthly trainers connection. This brought about development for both the trainers and the new staff as well.
“Leading New Staff Training is a Privilege”
What are some of your best tips for a great New Staff Training experience?