I am scheduled on Tableau’s ‘Train the Trainer’ course in a couple of weeks in London. To say I’m super excited would be an understatement! In advance of the training, I turned to our own Tableau Certified Trainer, Caio Assuncao, to get his thoughts about becoming certified and some insights on what to expect.
Q: What was your process in preparing for the ‘Train the Trainer’ course?
A: Besides setting up the logistics, I didn’t do much specific preparation for the course, which is not to say I went in completely unprepared. Before taking the ‘Train the Trainer’ course I had been delivering training for about a year, so I had been preparing indirectly. Although not required or necessary, I think having the experience of delivering training sessions before helps position how the course is going to help and allows you to better relate to the content.
Q: How did you find the course, what was the highlight?
The course is really good. The people delivering the training, who are senior trainers in Tableau, are excellent professionals with tons of experience and they are passionate about what they do. Getting trained by them is very valuable. The course itself is an intense week with lots of lectures, discussions and it is actually great fun. Throughout the week it will touch on all the aspects of delivering training. You are going to learn about personal and group dynamics, how to handle difficult situations or challenging students, learn about Tableau as a software and as a company and many other topics.
An essential part of being a good trainer is how you communicate and present material, so a big part of the course is focused on the best and most efficient ways to communicate and how to improve your presentation skills. The week is structured in such a way that there are lectures, discussions and then hands on exercises and presentations, most of them in groups. For me, the highlights were the exercises and presentations. You get to discuss the issues and solutions with other people and see their points of view. Then you get to give a presentation in front of your peers and receive feedback. The trainers were able to build a very friendly atmosphere among the people attending which made the learning process of giving and receiving feedback very smooth.
Overall it is a great week.
Q: What would your key piece of advice be to people preparing for the course?
Review the course material beforehand, in this case Desktop I and II and try to re-do the exercises. Make sure that you have good a understanding of all the concepts and technical elements. This will allow you to focus on how you are going to deliver the content, rather than worrying about the content itself.
Also, go in with an open mind and be willing to embrace changes. You will get feedback as the week goes on and you will really benefit if you can incorporate the feedback into your approach.
Q: What was the biggest challenge you faced and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge for me was to create a written plan for all of the classes. I tend to do things in a very organic and dynamic way, where the process evolves with the work (very Bayesian). This works well when dealing with challenges that are also dynamic, but the classes have a very defined structure and you will be repeating that structure over and over again. Having a script with the material you need to deliver makes it much easier and less tiring. Of course, you are always adapting the training to the specific needs of the people you are delivering it to and evolving the methods, but having a script lets you be aware of the deviations and how to get back on track if desired.
Q: What does certification mean to you and what has been the biggest benefit from a personal/professional perspective?
Certification sets a minimum standard. There isn’t one single, correct way of doing anything and this applies to delivering a training session. By becoming a certified trainer, you are demonstrating that you understand the content and key features that you need to cover and what constitutes a high-quality training course. You are still able to merge your own personal style into the sessions and adapt to the needs of an individual class. In delivering a certified training course you are setting a minimum standard. Those who attend are assured that they will be exposed to the key features of the software and know they are receiving the approved standard which has been set by Tableau.
Personally, it gives me more confidence. I now know what I am doing right and where I can improve. Professionally, it is also a big benefit. Training is about communication. A good teacher is a good communicator, someone who can put themselves inside someone else’s head and see things from their perspective so that they can shape the communication to what is best for their audience. This applies not only when delivering training but also when talking to anyone and especially working as a consultant. I think a bit part of being a consultant is also being a teacher.
Q: Any other pieces of advice?
I would like to add two quotes from the Brazilian educator Paulo Freire which I think are very relevant. I recommend anyone interested in education and politics to look him up.
“Whoever teaches learns in the act of teaching, and whoever learns teaches in the act of learning.”
~ Paulo Freire ~
“To teach is not to transfer knowledge, but to create the possibilities for its own production or its creation.”
~ Paulo Freire ~
Course photo (credit to Anoop Odedra)
I feel Caio’s input has given me a great idea of what to expect. One requirement before going on the course is that you need to be a Tableau Qualified Associate. If you are interested in Tableau training with Perception, why not check out the options here. Certification is a great way of gaining confidence and demonstrating your ability from a professional perspective. You can see the different options on Tableau’s website here. I have some experience teaching English as a foreign language but have never delivered training of this sort. I’m prepared for an intense week and a steep learning curve but I’m really looking forward to the challenge. I’m convinced of the benefit of having Tableau skills and looking forward to putting that passion to good use in enabling more people to see and understand their data.
Watch this space to hear how the course goes!