Cutting Edge Skills for Training and Facilitation: Identifying and Handling Resistance

In most organizations and in most situations, people come into a training session to learn, willing and eager.  But sometimes you may encounter resistance from one or more of the participants.

Tug of war training and development can be difficult. Learn how to identify and handle resistance. There are four reasons for training resistance

Clues to resistance include:

  • Refusal to participate.
  • Disruptive and/or inappropriate behavior.
  • Excessive questioning by participants who are trying to make a point rather than gaining knowledge.
  • Questions that challenge the relevance of the training and/or the competence of the instructor.
  • Questions that are aimed at trapping or baffling the instructor.
  • Numerous side conversations between participants.

When you encounter resistance, your first task is to find out why.  Reasons may be due to a perception by participants that they are being controlled, coerced, or manipulated, and have little to do with you, but relate to experiences outside the training.  Most resistance is due to one or more of the following reasons:

1. People being sent to training:

  • inappropriately.
  • when they are too busy.

2. Participants not understanding:

  • why the program is relevant to them.
  • why the program is relevant or important to their job.
  • why they were selected to attend.

3. Outside influence from:

  • family, money, health, etc.
  • problems with a superior, subordinate, etc.

4. Emotional issues such as:

  • negative past experiences with training programs.
  • disruptive interpersonal behavior characteristic of the person (e.g. intense need for attention, need to dominate, etc.).

Related Services:

About the Author

Cherissa Newton