Asking the difficult questions
I learned a lot from that colleague, and the feedback the customer gave. It is when we are a bit uncomfortable – when we ask those difficult questions – that we really help.
In my current role, I use this to build up the courage to give advice, both when asked for and especially in situations where it is not explicitly requested. Here are two common scenarios of that:
Sometimes, the customer has an idea of an area to cover in a course. But when we analyse the learning need and talk to the target audience, we can find that the real issue is within a different area. Maybe we need to focus on leadership training instead of process training to reach the desired change. In those cases, it is up to us to highlight this and explain why we see a better effect of a different learning initiative.
What the customer asks for, is not always what is best to deliver. For example, if a customer requests a one-day online webinar, we need to evaluate if that is the best method for the participants to learn the objectives. It may lead to a few difficult questions from us about what it is they want to achieve and what possibilities there are to support other types of learning situations. In the end, we may find that a different setup would be more efficient, say, for example, a few short digital modules, followed by a 1-hour online workshop.
So, I keep challenging myself to challenge our customers to help them in the best possible way. With both wanted and unwanted advice.