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JRT500

By Sunita Sehmi, Walk The Talk

John Tomlinson is the founder of Trainer Tools and the main contributor. He has worked in training and change management throughout his career. In 2014 he joined the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) as a Learning and Development Specialist. He is now Head of Learning and Development (Europe/Central Asia) at the FCO and is the global lead on Change Management.

Frustrated at the lack of industry recognition for Learning and Development professionals, and a keen listener of podcasts, John decided to launch Trainer Tools as a collaborative podcast project for trainers to share their tools and tips in the hope of benefiting the entire profession.

What is really unique about his podcasts is the level of caring and sharing amongst the L&D professionals and John has a knack of handpicking talented and kind professionals who are willing to support and give to others. I was lucky enough to interview him, hope you enjoy the interview!

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Who are you, where are you from, etc.…?
I'm a Change Manager and L&D professional who loves podcasts ... I travel a lot, so listen to a lot of audio and read a lot of books. I'm originally from Leeds, and have lived in a few different places, but currently settled in Madrid in Spain.

What is your podcast about?
The podcast is about workplace learning and, to a lesser extent, Change Management. It's a simple format, just me interviewing someone about a specific topic or technique or whatever, and we try to keep it informal and chatty, but focussed on one specific thing that professionals in L&D or change can find useful.

What got you into this?
Selfishness. I love learning new things, and although I'm an introvert, I love social learning and great conversations and so I thought I'd seek out interesting knowledgeable people and make them tell me stuff.

I also love radio and music and podcasts, I guess my communication style must be quite auditory (despite not being able to sing a note), so a podcast felt like a natural way to go. (I never considered video, for example, although I might add a YouTube channel to the podcast to try to create more interest).

Could you tell us more about your idea behind Trainer Tools?
It's not an original idea, but I don't think that's what's important, I think it works because it's great content and the conversations flow well and are easy to listen to, and that's what I was going for.

My original idea was to have a regular trio of presenters who discussed various topics, but I couldn't get anyone to commit to it, so I just got on with it myself and hassled people I knew who had interesting things to say!

Who is it for?
It's for anyone who works in L&D and Change Management, especially if they're on the road a lot and have time to listen to podcasts.

What is the best piece of advice you ever got?
Being a stroppy awkward person who hates being told what to do, I have unfortunately ignored most of the great advice that has kindly been offered to me over the past decades ... but there was one thing my Father said to me when I was 16 that surprisingly I was clever enough to listen to. I was leaving the house to go to my first ever job as a glass collector in the local golf club and he just said "Listen to people. Let them tell you stuff, even if you know it already". So simple, but so useful ... and it's surprising how many people don't do this!

How do you see training growing the future?
I am pretty convinced that learning will continue to move outside the training room as people become more learning literate and more able to improve knowledge and skills from a variety of sources and opportunities. I think the L&D industry will focus on curation, creating development programmes and looking at things like learning culture, coaching and problem solving.

What’s the next challenge for us?
I think the biggest challenge will be to keep up to date with what technology can offer our industry, without being distracted by fads that don't add much value. I am not great at this, I don't find it that interesting and too much technology drains me. I tend to wait and see what sticks rather than jumping aboard the bandwagons as they race by, so I'm not worth listening to in this department!

What’s next for you?
I want to keep developing my change management knowledge and skills, and I might write a book. I keep promising myself to focus on work-life balance too, but I don't have the time.

Anything else we need to know?
There's a lot of people trying to create free quality content online, where you find something you like that you think is useful. Please try to support it by sharing it, providing reviews and otherwise just showing your appreciation - it makes a huge difference!

To find out more about John and his work go to: https://trainer-tools.com/contribute/john-tomlinson/
John also tweets under the handle @JohnRTomlinson and is on LinkedIn.
John also writes about learning and development.

Sunita's Bio

sunitablogphoto nov2015

Sunita is an Executive Coach, Trainer and Consultant. She is of Indian origin and was born in London before moving to Geneva in 1992. She has a Psychology background (specialising in Occupational Psychology) and a Post Graduate in the Development and Training of Adults. She also completed a Masters in Ressources Humaines, Coaching et Gestion des Carrières at the University of Geneva.

During her 25 years experience Sunita's drive has always been to help people to do their best and hence led her to create Walk The Talk.

In her free time Sunita is a Mentor for the Branson Center of Entrepreneurship and a proud member of the School in The Cloud Team.

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