Sunday, 17 May 2009

Practice what you preach

This week I learned that there is more to being a good trainer than meets the eye. Or at least, more to being an excellent Goals UK Trainer than meets the eye.

Goals UK provides a motivational package aimed at getting people back to work (and then some). When I took the course last week I was skeptical at first. I had seen all of this material before - I thought I knew it all: affirmations, goals, yeah, whatever. But by the end of Day 2 I was sold and emerged refreshed, invigorated and Rah-Rah-ing over positive language and positive thoughts. The course is very cleverly designed and highly choreographed so that it can be delivered consistently by all of the trainers. So learning to train the course is a little bit like learning how to perform a two day soliloquy. Well, almost.

This week I ended up with a double dose by attending the Train the Trainer course. And to train the course, you need to be walking the walk AND talking the talk - which means catching every negative - I mean, less than positive - phrase by the tail as it launches itself out of your mouth, drag it back in and reword it.

Harder than it sounds. Or should that be: Not as easy as it sounds. *sigh* See what I mean?

At the end of Day 1 of the trainer course, the team were told to pair up and prepare the delivery of what we had covered so far. I was aghast (or is that 'not very happy'?). I mean, I know that this was a Train the Trainer course, but they didn't tell me I would actually have to train anything! I had only been invited along for Day 4 - surely I shouldn't have to take part? I had been a participant on the course only once, had heard the material once more, and now was expected to train it to a room full of people who knew the material backwards and would be able to spot every single mistake that I made? Like, Hello?! Does anyone else see the injustice in this? Life suddenly became very unfair and I found myself making excuses. And excuses are simply not allowed in Goals. Excuses are what children make in a whiny voice. And as I re-read the paragraph above, I think "Good point, well made".

So I built up a raft of excuses to float on - to myself, to my presentation partner and when that didn't seem to let me off the hook, to the chap who ran the training. It made no difference - I was told to do the best I could and advised not to do any preparation either. "Well that is just fucking ridiculous!" my Ego whispered, "you're going to look like a complete tit!" and in its best Catherine Tate's Nan voice: "What a load of old shit!"

And it was at this point that I stopped myself and thought 'What am I worried about here? Everyone knows that I have seen this only once. They know I don't know the material, so, who gives a shit? In the grand scheme of things to fear, this shouldn't be that high on the list. If all else fails, start singing "I dreamed a dream" from Les Miserables, and really make a fool of yourself'.

And so I turned up the next day feeling completely relaxed (which is totally unusual for me - perhaps I have been abducted by aliens?), and only started to feel slightly sick when the first couple performed brilliantly.

And then it came to my turn. And what happened? I was amazing, word perfect, stunning and innovative. They were floored by my abilities and begged me to train every course available for the next six months!

Oh don't be silly - I looked like a complete tit. I went blank as soon as I stood up and had to claw my way through the material, stopping midway through sentences, losing track and having to re-deliver the points from the start. It was the most disastrous -*ahem* least successful - presentation I have ever made. Or so I thought.

According to the feedback I didn't come across that way. They said that despite the fact that I didn't know the material I held it together well and came across as really confident.

Rookie: 1 Ego: 0

On Day 3 I presented material with which I was more familiar, and so the challenge was then how to train well, how to keep the participants involved and engaged. Much better - even though I have never trained a classroom session. Or should that be even though until now I have not trained a classroom session (Never is - as Supernanny says - "unasseptable", and should be replaced with 'until now').

The entire week was pretty intensive and I have a lot to think about - like where the Universe is going to take me next, and how to formulate entire conversations with positive sentences before I open my trap. (I'm not complaining - sadly I love this stuff!)

In the meantime, I am trying to relax a little this weekend, as I am absolutely knackered.

*sigh* What I meant was: In the meantime, I am enjoying a relaxing weekend although I could really use some more energy....


  1. Happy but exhausted? That's a good feeling ;)

  2. So funny! Can't wait to be one of the people that you are training...

    I was going to say "keep the energy going" but you know what? I don't think it matters how slowly or quickly you go down this path. This is it. You are on the path. You can take your time because the light will keep leading the way and presenting opportunities. Just know it and wait for them to show up. This is your journey and you should just enjoy it.

  3. Tried your hand at becoming a cult leader?

  4. Braja: I'll take any type of happy! (except overtly Happy-Clappy....)

    Nicola: Thanks, gorjus! I can't wait for you to be in one of my workshops... Oo, it's CHAOS round 'ere!

    Chairman: Ssshhhh! Don't ruin the surprise! (Got any tips?!)