How Do You Deal with Difficult Trainees?

Photo credit: Blake Richard Verdoorn, published under CC

Trainers report only very few situations where they have to deal with difficult trainees, fortunately. Participants may challenge what you say, but that’s actually a good thing. It means that they’re engaged and care what you tell them. Use the opportunity to spark a discussion. Ask the other trainees for their thoughts on the matter: “What is your opinion on what Jane just said?” This usually turns the discussion into a fruitful exchange of ideas between co-workers, instead of making it about Jane versus you.

If the discussion veers too much off course, make a note on the board and promise to get back to the issue after the session is over – provided you’ve got time left.

For those cases where you have to deal with trainees who are actually difficult, here are a few effective tips, collected from experienced trainers.

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