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Training vs. Performance Consulting

Posted by Melissa Grey Satterfield on 7/20/15 4:00 AM
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I recently gave my business card to someone who questioned my title. She knew I was in the training industry, but didn’t know the details of my job. I realized she wasn’t questioning my abilities, as much as what the title meant. The title I’m referring to is, “Performance Consultant.” What ensued was a quick, down-and-dirty, five-minute explanation of the performance consultant role, and how it’s both different and similar to a traditional training role. They both begin with a job performance need, usually in the form of a request for training. Something’s wrong, and someone’s got to fix it. Performance consultants use a systematic approach to evaluate employee job performance, and then recommend the appropriate solution.

Since the title, Performance Consultant, seems to be a buzzword in our industry right now, I thought it might be fun to share my “take” on training versus performance consulting (PC), and why a PC approach can make you a valuable asset to your company.

A traditional training approach:

  • Has a (mostly) reactive response to a performance issue, and almost always involves training as the answer.
  • Can be viewed as a cost center.

In contrast, the performance consulting approach:

  • Has a proactive response to a performance discrepancy.
  • Identifies undesired performance and its root cause and then partners with management to resolve the discrepancy in a manner that best supports the organization’s business objectives.
  • Provides both training and non-training solutions.
  • Is seen as a strategic business partner.

If your only tool is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail! If performance consulting is something you’d like to investigate further, attend Langevin’s Consulting Skills for Trainers workshop – coming soon to a city near you!



Melissa has been a course leader with Langevin since 2000. She graduated from the University of Nevada where she studied broadcast communications. During her college years, Melissa worked as an on-air personality for several radio and TV stations in Las Vegas. She’s always been a bit of a performer, which is probably why training is such a good fit for her. Before coming to Langevin, she was a senior training specialist and course developer for an organization based in L.A. Melissa knows the challenges trainers face, as well as the rewards that come with improving job performance. Her training mantra is summed up best by something she learned during her very first Langevin workshop, “Never do for the learners what the learners can do for themselves.” When not in the classroom, Melissa loves travelling, relaxing at the beach, cooking, and hosting dinner parties.

Topics: performance consulting

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Our very own world-class course leaders share their experiences, tips, best practices, and expertise on virtual training, instructional design, needs analysis, e-learning, delivery, evaluation, presentation skills, facilitation, and much more!

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