Oleksii Klymchuk, Senior Business Analyst at eBay, followed the GAIn Train-The-Trainer program in 2020 through the eCG Analytics University. We interviewed him recently to look back on this experience and learn how he applies his trainer skills in his daily job.
Being a trainer is the essence of good mentoring and management
Oleksii was first introduced to GAIn through the eCG Analytics University. This in-house academy of eBay, founded in 2018, has already upskilled more than 327 employees in AI & data through 13 different courses to date, with participants from across Europe, the Americas, Australia and Asia. As a GAIn in-house academy, eBay can choose from a portfolio of 60+ courses covering a vast range of topics, and create tailored programs to fit the specific needs of different departments across the company. In Oleksii’s case, he first joined a program for analysts in April 2020. With a background in finance, both as a research analyst and business developer, and more than six years in various leading analytics roles, Oleksii already had an interest in mentoring and sharing his knowledge with others. So when presented with the opportunity to join the Train-The-Trainer program in parallel, despite no previous experience of giving training, it was an easy decision to say “yes”.
A step towards transforming analytics teams
The Train-The-Trainer program is designed to develop trainers of the highest quality following the GAIn standard. ‘’What specifically appealed to me in the program, is that the framework is very engaging and personal – both for the trainer and the participant. It focuses on delivering the knowledge in a practical and fun way, and stands out with its condensed theory and practical knowledge that can be applied directly after the course’’, Oleksii comments. eBay’s ambition is to create a pool of trainers who can deliver trainings internally, and doing so through the GAIn Train-The-Trainer program means using an approach that develops globally certified trainers. In Oleksii’s words, ‘’In a sense it’s transforming analytics teams, creating a more proactive way of working with people in your team, and teaching them to be analytical themselves.’’ After being certified, trainers can specialize in a certain GAIn course that they feel most passionate about to teach. The level of expertise the trainers need themselves is also dependent on what they teach. More complex topics like machine learning, require programming skills, while topics like storytelling and visualization are applicable for anyone to teach.
‘‘If you look around there are a lot of good courses, but often the content is delivered in an overly complex way. And when too much effort is spent on just digesting the information, it drives the focus away from learning. The Train-The-Trainer framework tackles exactly this and ensures that you as a trainer are able deliver the best possible learning experience.’’
– Oleksii Klymchuk
However, the Train-The-Trainer framework is not limited to just GAIn courses but can also be applied in a wide range of other professional situations. In Oleksii’s work, that means taking the theory and applying it to any topic he wants to deliver within his team or another department. The most important training he delivered since getting his certification, was to the sales team on the use of a new sales analytics tool, that he had developed himself. Oleksii remarks, ‘‘Collaboration in cross-functional teams can sometimes be a challenge when the level of data savviness differs a lot, and this was exactly one of the challenges that I wanted to address with the training. Building the solution to help the sales team alone is not enough, it is also my responsibility to make sure the teams knows how to use the tool to achieve the desired outcome.’’
‘‘For my internal sales training I thought: why not use the structure I learned in the Train-The-Trainer program? I thought about how to deal with questions, made it extremely engaging, created a lot of assignments and allowed the participants to get instant hands-on practice, instead of purely learning the theory. And it paid off.’’
– Oleksii Klymchuk
The sales training had two goals: for participants to become more data savvy and be pushed to think about what else is possible. By applying the Train-The-Trainer lessons, Oleksii managed to achieve these goals. He explains, “Keeping the training interactive, required a high level of attention from the participants, as they were learning to use the new analytics tool on the go. To give an example, in one of the exercises I asked the participants to look up the biggest portfolio in their account, and to find the churn prediction percentage of this account. And then by analyzing the patterns in their dashboards, figure out whether their conception of what customer was most likely to churn, was supported by the data. Many were surprised by the results of the assignment, and excited to start using the new tool. Some participants also reached out to me after the training to understand more about a certain functionality. This I found very motivating as it showed they had kept thinking about the learnings from the training and now wanted to take their skills a step further.’’
‘‘As an analyst I’m getting less and less ad-hoc requests, because people are learning to do more on their own and can perform tasks themselves as a direct result of a training I delivered. This saves me a lot of time.’’
– Oleksii Klymchuk
Despite the time investment, it’s really worth it
Giving a good training is no easy feat, and there’s actually a surprising amount of theory behind it. Oleksii describes his most unexpected learning as follows: ‘’What surprised me the most was that there’s a strategy behind handling questions from the audience. I never thought of it before but it actually makes a lot of sense. It’s about how you ask questions and direct the answers, which triggers you to think about how to facilitate your communication.’’ In the first training Oleksii gave using the Train-The-Trainer framework, this was one of the key strategies he used to make the training successful.
Another crucial strategy is one for delivering virtual trainings. The need for this has grown especially during the past year. Oleksii reflects, ‘’Many were skeptical about the virtual training to begin with, especially since the sales team is very used to in-person engagements. In addition, learning how to use a new dashboard over a conference call didn’t sound all too exciting. However, I received a lot of positive feedback afterwards, especially on how interactive and engaging the training had been, despite being virtual.’’
Gaining the knowledge and learning the tools for how to deliver virtual trainings is an important topic covered in the Train-The-Trainer modules. And with virtual as the only option at the time when Oleksii’s own training started, also his program to become a trainer was fully virtual, and he got to learn this ‘new way of working’ alongside the trainers from GAIn (for whom it was also new at the time).
At this point Oleksii’s goal is to deliver more trainings for internal groups, and keep focusing on developing his trainer skills. He concludes: “Despite the time investment, it’s really worth it, as it improves my day to day work and facilitates the adoption of the tools I build. And going forward, I now know how to help teams across eBay make the most out them.’’
‘‘Being a trainer improves my day to day work. Especially from an analytics perspective, it helps me mentor and manage my team better when I’m able to explain complex concepts in an engaging and fun way.’’
– Oleksii Klymchuk