For trainers, differentiation becomes crucial in an overcrowded market

Economy March 10, 2014 00:00

By Michael Heah
Special to The N

There must be more than 50,000 trainers out there in the market place today. This statistic may be even higher considering the ease of being a trainer these days - a little space in the house, a computer, a printer and Internet facilities can launch anyon

While this is the beginning of a new career for many, it could be the beginning of many months or even years of “professional nightmare” for many who cannot make ends meet and become disappointed and disillusioned.
In this article, through a series of questions and answers, I wish to share some of my insights on how this ill-gotten fate can be avoided and be replaced with many opportunities that can take their career to greater heights. 
What do you mean by ‘professional nightmare’, and how do we get into this? 
“Professional nightmare” is about the great difficulties trainers face in finding and getting training business in the market place. 
The sheer number of trainers in the playing field means that there is hardly any entry barrier for anyone who wants to get into this profession. While this is good in a way, it comes with a price – namely, entering an increasingly overcrowded market place.
So what is the implication of this?
While an overcrowded market place is already challenging, it becomes even more challenging because of the homogeneous skill and knowledge set that most trainers have. For example, one can be certain that trainers who do soft-skills training will be offering courses like customer service, supervisory skills, management skills, team building and interpersonal relationship. 
At the same time, hard-skill trainers are likely to offer programmes such as project management, performance management and ISO quality management. 
What all this means is that many trainers neither have a clear and strong positioning in their product offerings, nor in their delivery. There is little differentiation from one trainer to another. To many clients, they all “look” the same!  
Where are the opportunities, then? 
Trainers who want to get into this very tough profession need to differentiate themselves very clearly, and quickly too. One of the best ways is to be a certified coach themselves. Here are the good reasons for doing this. 
Firstly, they internally strengthen themselves (through coaching) to become positive minded, courageous and people persons who not only “walk the streets” to look for business and attract clients and business to them, but also have a powerful game plan for their long-term growth.
Secondly, coaching will teach them not only to be extremely innovative in designing products and methods, but also provide them will the ability to achieve far greater results for their clients – leading to extremely high customer satisfaction. 
Thirdly, training delivery that incorporates a “coaching methodology” will always appeal to more clients, as coaching will help them address real life issues as opposed to theoretical ones. This is what most clients want.  
Lastly, with acquired coaching skills, trainers not only automatically transform themselves as coach-trainers or coaches, but also elevate their professional status for higher professional credibility many times more. 
Are there any other opportunities?
Yes, there are. Trainers will have another product called coaching in their offerings to their clients. 
Many organisations today are aggressively investing in coaching for their leaders in order to accelerate and strengthen their organisation’s capabilities through coaching workshops and personal coaching services. This becomes another revenue stream for them. 
The other opportunity is for trainers to get into a close-knit coaching community, where coaches come together to help one another to find business opportunities, strengthen their coaching and training skills, and simply be there for one another. 
So how does a trainer go about this? 
For both new and old trainers, they must believe that they need to invest in themselves first. There are no free lunches. Get into a recognised coaching school with strong, world-recognised credentials. 
Take your time, do your own research, search the Web and talk to other coaches. I am sure you will get a lot of invaluable information on where to go from here. 
It is very important to ensure that the coaching school you want to enrol in is really teaching you the skills of coaching, and not just the knowledge of it. 
So, with proper planning, you will start to attract good energy, which will soon be converted into opportunities. Soon, you will be very different from the rest and you will not have a “professional nightmare” anymore!   
Corporate Coach Academy is a coaching school in Asia to certify leaders of all backgrounds to become manager-coaches or professional certified coaches in the region. Log in to or e-mail for details.