Curiosity about and readiness to ask for feedbackGives, receives and integrates feedback in a constructive wayLearning to learnOpenness to ask for feedbackSkill to give, receive and integrate feedback in a constructive wayUndergoing personal / professional development through feedback

How to improve our own performance as a trainer?

It is absolutely possible to change a behavior even though the process of transition is long and requires commitment and ongoing monitoring/support. In this article we would like to introduce you to the tool that stimulates and integrates community development. It gives you, as a trainer, great power for self-development.

Why did I choose this tool?

The purpose is to provide you with suggestions for the future and to help you achieve a positive change in the behaviors which you have selected.

This very short and dynamic exercise provides an enormous insight and inspires for further development.

How does this apply to a trainer?

We are constantly learning, and at the same time, we are creating learning environments for others. It is extremely important to grow in this process. By being a trainer, you can choose to work individually on your own strategies or learn how to change your own behavior by using the wisdom of a group. You can get inspired for new solutions thanks to human micro-interactions.


Looking for improvements in your own behavior is the simplest way to become a more professional trainer. There are many different models that describe different ways of changing a behavior.

If we look in the past, there are many things used to change the behavior of others, like punishing people or giving them a price, by putting them in jail or by increasing income, which gave a base for a totalitarian system – “behavior is shaped and maintained by its consequences” (Skinner).

Now the libertarian and humanist opponents advocate for “designing a culture,” that is, creating social forms that will be more conducive to satisfying human needs.

It is important to know that it is absolutely possible to change a behavior, even though it is a process of long transition, commitment and constant monitoring and support.

I used to spontaneously attend various formal and non-formal meetings where I was looking for inspiration.

One of those meetings was a MeetUp in Berlin where I was introduced to a tool: FeedForward.

In the group of 20 trainers, we were asked to define important behaviors of a good trainer.

We created a list of 15 different behaviors, skills and attitudes.

Then each of us was asked to think about their own behavior, and what could be improved.

Process of a FeedForward exercise:

  1. I was asked to think about one behavior of mine that I would like to improve as a trainer.
  2. Then I was asked to describe this behavior to another, randomly chosen person.
  3. Then this person had 2 minutes to give me her/his own ideas (minimum 2) about how this behavior could be positively changed. I was given suggestions ONLY for the future, because a feedback about the past was not allowed.
  4. I was not allowed to interrupt them, instead I was just listening and taking notes 🙂
  5. I said thank you 🙂
  6. After 2 min we swapped, I asked this person the same question I was asked before: “what would you like to change?”
  7. I listened to a description of a behavior and I asked several clarifying questions.
  8. I had 2 minutes to give 2 future oriented ideas how this behavior could be improved and I could refer to my own personal experience.
  9. The person who listened, thanked me for my contribution, without any additional comments.
  10. These FeedForward short interviews were repeated 4 times and always with a new person.
  11. Then came the time for personal and group conclusions.

I experienced this with strangers, imagine if you did the same in your team?

“I have observed more than 5,000 leaders as they play two roles. In one, they are asked to provide feedforward to give someone else suggestions for the future and help as much as they can. In the second role, they are asked to accept feedforward to listen to suggestions for the future and learn as much as they can.” – Marshall Goldsmith


If you have recognized particular behavior in your performing as a trainer, which you would like to change, please continue with this exercise.

Write down the behavior in your performing as a trainer, which you would like to change:


Schedule several meetings or one group meeting with colleagues trainers or your workers. Invite them to coffee or make a short Skype meeting.

Describe them your behavior and ask how this behavior could be improved. ONLY for the future – because feedback about the past is not allowed.

Speak individually with each colleague. The answer should last no longer than 2 min. Do not interrupt. After saying thank you, you may offer the same feedback to your colleague.

Write down your reflections and highlights. Communicate your plan for improvement with your supporters after you have it.

Reflection questions:

  • What aspect do you particularly like about this method?
  • What would you change in this method? What would you keep? 
  • What can you learn from this experience?

Author of the article: Dagna Gmitrowicz

Dagna Gmitrowicz – a senior trainer in the field of nonformal education, conducting international/national training and facilitating conferences since 2001. Creator of innovative educational tools and curriculum – Academy of Nonformal Education (PAJP), TOSCA training cycle, learning cycle in BECC Bridge to Cultural Centres, Colours and Needs cards, and many more. Member of several international trainers’ pools (It’s up to Me, TOSCA, European Solidarity Corp Polish NA pool and other). The member of the International Society for Self-Directed Learning after giving a lecture during SSDL Symposium 2020 in USA/Florida. Dagna Gmitrowicz is also a professional painter, and performer actively participating in a cultural scene in Germany and Poland, actively supporting cultural events and projects.
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FeedForward, Marshall GoldsmithMarshall Goldsmith - The founding director of the Alliance for Strategic Leadership, and authority on helping leaders achieve positive changeSelf-Management Model with 5 A’s (Glasgow, et al, 2002; Whitlock, et al, 2002)

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