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Arie Speksnijder on providing training to trainers: “Being a 'servant trainer' makes me happy”

What's more difficult than providing training to trainers? Virtually nothing. After all, you're talking to a group of inspired, highly skilled experts, who tend to be critical (and rightly so). Many would shy away from it. But given his deep love for the training profession, Arie Speksnijder decided to take up the challenge. After gaining experience as a teacher and as a training advisor in mental health care, he took the plunge in January 2010: “I went to the Chamber of Commerce to start my own business. Providing training was something I enjoyed so thoroughly that I wanted to transfer my knowledge to other people."

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Arie Speksnijder

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As it turned out, this decision paid off. In the past 14 years, his company has grown considerably. And there's a reason for that: Arie's philosophy is distinctive. "Many trainers focus on the question, 'What should I do with a group of people?' That's obviously important. But if you ask me, a training course starts before that. Having a fun day together is not the goal. What matters is that participants can apply the theoretical knowledge they've gained in practice. That's why I teach trainers how to make choices. If you 'cram' as much information as possible into a training course, the question is if a participant can ultimately use it. So in my training courses, we have a close look at the content together, and we discuss how the trainer can convey it to participants as clearly as possible. We are constantly working on design and implementation. I really enjoy doing that."


"I want to give participants a round of applause at the end of a training course"

The coaching profession covers a wide spectrum, which is why it continues to fascinate Arie. "Our profession is about designing and implementing training courses, as well as dealing with groups of people. You may encounter enthusiasm or resistance. We discuss all these aspects during my training sessions. That keeps me sharp, too."

What makes Arie truly happy is being a 'servant trainer'—a term he uses to indicate he likes to leave the spotlight to participants "Many trainers enjoy standing in front of a group of people, sharing a powerful story, and getting a round of applause afterwards. There's nothing wrong with that. But I want to give participants a round of applause at the end of a training course, because they've mastered a skill they hadn't mastered before. That's what gives me real joy."


“Quality is my top priority”

Arie provides training to trainers who are experts in a wide variety of fields. But they tend to have one thing in common: "I particularly get along with people who feel an intrinsic motivation to do what they do.  They're not just trainers because 'it happens to be their job'—they provide training courses to help others improve. Quality is their and my top priority. That's also one of the reasons why I ultimately decided to offer a complete training course for trainers: I noticed that training courses from larger institutions often consist of separate components that don't form a coherent whole."

Arie has adopted a thorough approach: upon completing his industry-recognized training course, participants can call themselves 'professional trainers.' "The program consists of 21 sessions — including online meetings — as well as personal guidance," says Arie. "Eventually, participants complete the course by taking an exam."

As Arie attaches great importance to quality, he decided to offer the training course in blended format. "Of course, it saves time and costs," he explains, "but it also improves quality. Initially, the learning environment was a secure page on my website. But with LearningStone, I’ve taken blended learning to the next level. Now, I offer a mix of e-learning elements, self-study, live online training sessions, and on-location training sessions. And participants can access all training materials in the blended learning environment, so they can peruse these on their own time."


"There are still plenty of plans in the pipeline"

Since Arie started working with LearningStone, he's been able to increase efficiency: "If I compare it to the old way of working, it saves me a lot of time. Furthermore, I've designed the environment in complete accordance with my corporate identity. That way, participants immediately go, 'Hey, this is Arie.'"

But here's what Arie loves most about LearningStone: "It does what it should do. And if I see a potential point for improvement, I can shoot them a quick email about it. They always respond very fast. On top of that, I've noticed that LearningStone often really acts on feedback. I don't feel like I have to go through four organizational layers to reach a decision-maker."

Working with LearningStone has also spurred Arie to embrace a different training format: "In addition to my main training course for trainers, I now also offer an e-learning training course, 'Goal-Oriented Designing.' I plan on making other e-learning training courses like these. There are still plenty of plans in the pipeline!"

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