Corporate Training Instructor Tailors Courses to Clients’ Needs


Instructor Cheryl Davis has taught management courses for our Corporate Training clients for several years. She is also an instructor in the Management Development Extension Certificate. We spoke with Cheryl about what she brings to corporate clients.

Q: What is your teaching style when working with corporate clients?
A: It’s really about them being able to apply what I’m teaching as they go through the program. We want to give them useful information that’s directly applicable in the roles and situations they’re in. We get a good sense of our audience before we start and adapt to the needs of each group.

Q: So you’re never teaching exactly the same program twice?
A: No. Even though I’m teaching the same content the discussions are different because a lot of the topics come from the students themselves. I talk to the group about what issues they’re dealing with and then I make sure that the emphasis and the materials apply to their situation.

Certainly there’s core content that I make sure to cover, but I am also aware of what the group is there for and what they want. Relevance to their own situation makes it more likely they’re going to take something away.

Q: What courses do you teach for corporate clients?
A: It varies. I do a lot of supervisory, leadership and communications courses – basically how to treat people. Because I have a financial background, I also teach how to read and understand financial statements and manage the bottom line.

Q: What changes have you seen in management training?
A: There have been lots of changes. I’ve been involved with management for over 30 years now. When I look at some of the things that were acceptable to do years ago, you could get put in jail for that today! There have been a lot of changes in terms of respect, safety and how we communicate. The whole top-down, “I’m the boss” mentality doesn’t work. There was a lot of position power years ago, but now there’s personal power. Managers have to ask themselves, am I respecting people, do I have integrity? To help people understand the significance of this in their roles as managers is huge.

Management today is a lot more about how you treat people than being procedure-driven. In the past it was about what to do, what steps to follow. Now it’s a lot more about the things that could happen while you’re trying to implement procedures and how to deal with those things.

Q: How can corporate clients be prepared to be good leaders?
A: To be a good leader really requires people willing to follow. Leaders have to think about the people they are leading and where they are coming from, how they feel and what impacts them. In order to help employees to deliver their best and be the best they can, managers really have to know them. Everybody is unique. What works with one individual won’t work with everyone. So the better leaders are at adapting their style to the needs of their team the more successful they will be as leader.

Q: What are some common issues for corporate clients?
A: Probably the most common issues are people issues, how people interact with each other. One of the things that we talk about a lot is perception. Oftentimes, it’s not that somebody’s right and somebody’s wrong, it’s that the way I see it is different from the way someone else sees it. Things get blown out of proportion because one person didn’t understand what the other person meant and their perspective was quite different. In the classroom, we try to understand why might this have happened and what could they have done to prevent it?

Q: What feedback do you get from your corporate clients?
A:  One of the biggest things is how they can take away what we’ve talked about and immediately apply it. They also appreciate how it opened them up to other perspectives.

Q: Why is MRU a good place to come for Corporate Training?
A: MRU really thinks about their clients. They talk to the clients and find out what they want and then match the instructor to the client. We have a lot of discussions about the client’s specific needs before we even develop the materials. MRU makes sure that the instructors they send out to the client are proven to be competent and have some real-life experience in the subject matter they’re teaching.

Q: Do you teach most often at the client’s location or on campus?
A: It’s pretty much equal. We’re very flexible. We’ll go wherever the client requires, wherever it makes the most sense for the people who are attending.

— photo by Krystal Hurt

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