Team Building consultants generally use three overlapping, but distinct roles. Each of the roles mentioned below keeps the learning and Team training meaningful, self-reflective, team-reflective, and most importantly fun!
The overlapping of roles are best summarized in the explanation below:
• Consultant. In this role, he establishes and maintains contact with the client, jointly assesses the client's situation, elicits information, designs programs, serves as confidant and adviser to the primary client contact.
• Trainer. In this role, he sets the tone of the training, then communicates, educates and improvises as he orchestrates and delivers the content through a sequence of activities and facilitated group discussion
• Facilitator. In this role, he leads the debriefings [processing], engaging and challenging participants to dig for deeper meaning, mediating disagreements and pushing for ever-greater clarity and understanding.
Each of these roles is inter-dependent upon each other. For example if the training lacks the full "buy-in" or approval of the primary client contact, (usually Human Resources, a Team Leader, or a Supervisor in some capacity), the program will fail to reach a higher level of success and fail to have a long term effect on the team and the participants within the team.
It is imperative that a discussion takes place between the Team Building Consultant and the client contact. All parties need to reach an agreement on how the program will progress, what objectives and goals are going to be reached as well as how to follow up the Team training program. What if the client contact is unclear about what objectives and goals to be reached? That is where the Team Building Consultant should meet, process and enable the client contact to better see and understand what it is that really needs to be addressed in the training session. If the Team Building Consultant can not facilitate a discussion to lead to clarity on goals and objectives both parties, the consultant and the client, should agree to go elsewhere.
Additionally during the training new evidence of inter-behavioral barriers may present themselves and the program takes an unexpected turn. This is when the true test of a trainer's ability becomes evident. Does the trainer choose to stay the course and work on the pre-defined objectives? Does the trainer choose to go in a different direction and follow what has just arisen? Does the trainer have the skills, knowledge and abilities to in a synergistic fashion meld both together? Experienced Team Building Consultants have been in all three situations and the answer really is "YES". It all depends on the situation at hand. That is why when choosing a team building consultant or team building company an organization must research and feel comfortable with the qualifications of the facilitator.
Some questions to ask team building companies are as simple as, who are your facilitators? Can you tell me an example of a program you have lead that is like our situation? Can you supply me with a list of sample questions you ask during the debrief [processing]? Give us a specific example of a program you have created that was a success? A failure? Can you provide my organization with a written proposal or agenda of what will be accomplished during our team training?
An effective team building consultant has the ability to move seamlessly through the consultant; trainer; and facilitator role. This comes from experience and Team Building consultants who are well educated and trained, in several fields. Choose the right consultant and always ask for and check references.
-Michael Cardus serves as an Adventure Consultant for Create-Learning-Team Building: Headquarters in Buffalo NY.