Press Release

First-of-Its-Kind Troubleshooting Manual for Trainers


(Alexandria, VA) October 6, 2020—In Troubleshooting for Trainers (ATD Press, October 2020), training and coaching expert Sophie Oberstein offers a first-of-its-kind troubleshooting guide developed to help all trainers—new or seasoned—tackle in-the-moment fixes and longer-term solutions for common training challenges.

Problem- and solution-centered, this book is practical and organized much like an instruction or troubleshooting manual for an electronic product or appliance.

“Pull it out when you’re in a predicament, flip to the related challenge listed in the table of contents, and find some immediate solutions. Better yet, use it to find troubleshooting tips and strategies to help you proactively avoid the crises new trainers face,” Oberstein explains. “I’ve collected the challenges addressed in this book from new trainers I’ve spoken to at ATD’s Core 4 conferences, from the Learning Design: Fundamentals class I teach at NYU’s School for Professional Studies, and the 20-plus years I’ve coached and mentored people entering the field.”

In each section, Oberstein incorporates quotes representative of the situations new trainers have faced and labels them as “The Problem.” She then draws on her vast experience to present solutions, which are supplemented by literature in the field and discussions with her colleagues. Sections focus on common challenges that trainers encounter:

  • Lack of Credibility: Building trust and assuring people you add value when you lack experience is a major issue for those just starting out in any field.
  • Training Isn’t Well Regarded: Like other organizational support functions, L&D is sometimes misunderstood or less visible. In addition to making learners aware of the resources you can provide, you must demonstrate how training adds value.
  • Lack of Resources: New trainers work in various department sizes and focus areas. Learning how to make the most of limited resources to cover multiple areas is paramount.
  • Limited Learning Design Experience: Many trainers have never been exposed to fundamental principles of how adults take in and retain information, which can negatively affect the design of their learning programs.
  • Uncertainty Around Measurement: Tracking and reporting on metrics is a core requirement of most organizational functions today, and that is no different for the area of L&D.
  • Live Training Surprises: Awkward situations often arise during synchronous training events like limited time and limited seats, technology that doesn’t work, participants who aren’t engaged or look lost, and questions you don’t know the answers to.
  • Challenging Participants: Among the participants who are a joy to interact with are some who are less so, including the monopolizer, the rambler, the late-comer, and the quiet type.

“How I would have loved a guide in my first few months and years in the L&D field to turn to when I fell into situations that arise for anyone newer to training,” states Oberstein. “And, even with more experience under my belt, I often turn to my network of professional colleagues to refresh my thinking on different scenarios. That’s what I was trying to recreate in a troubleshooting guide for both new and experienced trainers.”

About ATD and ATD Press


The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is the world’s largest association dedicated to those who develop talent in organizations. ATD’s members come from more than 120 countries and work in public and private organizations in every industry sector. ATD Press publications are written by industry thought leaders and offer anyone who works with adult learners the best practices, academic theory, and guidance necessary to move the profession forward. For more information, visit

About the Author

Sophie Oberstein is an author, coach, adjunct professor, and L&OD consultant. She’s worked in the field of learning and organization development for years at public and private organizations, including Weight Watchers North America; Columbia University Irving Medical Center; the City of Redwood City, California; and Citibank, N.A. Oberstein holds a master’s degree in human resources management and postgraduate certification in training and development. Her certification as a professional co-active coach (CPCC) is from the Co-Active Training Institute (CTI). She is on the faculty of the NYU School of Professional Studies leadership and human capital management department where she developed and conducts both the fundamentals and the advanced courses in the learning design certificate program. Her previous books, 10 Steps to Successful Coaching, Second Edition (2020), and Beyond Free Coffee & Donuts: Marketing Training and Development (2003), are available from ATD Press.


Troubleshooting for Trainers
ISBN: 9781952157165 | 360 Pages | Paperback
To order books from ATD Press, call 800.628.2783.

To schedule an interview with Sophie Oberstein, please contact Kay Hechler, ATD Press senior marketing manager, at [email protected].

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