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The Modern Butlers’ Journal, August 2018, Staff Training

Staff Training

by Frank Mitchell

What Makes a Good Trainer?

In the hospitality sector, the trainer is all too often whoever is available in the moment. Sometimes, the trainer might be chosen for their length of service or high performance. This is irrational. Training is a separate skill. Obviously, you should be a subject-matter expert in whatever you want to train, but you should also learn the skills required to be a good trainer.

A good trainer is available, well prepared and has the time, patience and inclination to help develop others. At all times, model the care, attention to detail, behaviors and hygiene standards you expect from your students. The right attitude and behavior in a trainer encourages learning.

A good trainer is self-confident but humble, organized but flexible. They should command respect through competence while respecting others. Good communication skills, coupled with patience is critical. A sense of humor helps, especially when things go wrong. And they will. At all times, demonstrate enthusiasm for the profession in general and the standards you are training.

Be a good listener. Invite questions and be honest when you don’t know the answer. Allow time for trainees to practice and make mistakes. Give praise and reward good performance, always encouraging students to find better ways to serve. We can all learn from each other.

In next month’s newsletter, we look at the advantages of conducting a simple training needs analysis.

Frank Mitchell’s background is as a private-service butler who then became a head butler at a hotel, and then a butler trainer with the Institute. While he continues to train butlers for the Institute occasionally, his focus for the last decade has been on training hotel and resort staff. He has written several well-received columns for the MBJ over the years. 


The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.