When I landed my first official job as a Trainer for a large DIY store many moons ago, I was delighted! I learnt on the job, running rousing inductions and traveling the length and breadth of the UK to meet eager (my words not theirs) learners to induct them.
After some time, I realised that if I was going to progress to other forms of training i.e. Management Development, I was going to need to develop my own skills further. Back then the key attributes of a great Trainer were
listening & questioning skills, reading peoples body language and working out how to switch on the overhead projector without blowing a bulb!
I set to work doing my research, but the internet wasn’t at its best back then, and most books where the size of a breeze-block. I needed to see it in action, up close and personal. So, I set to work finding ‘innovative’ ways of capturing these skills.
I went on the London eye and ‘listened’ to conversations. I went to the Crown Courts in Winchester and heard how the Barristers questioned their witnesses. But what about body language? Well that opportunity presented itself whilst visiting my parents in Newark Notts. A beautiful market town which hosted several auctions. Perfect for viewing body language in action.
Of all the auctions I could have chosen, and for reasons that still baffle me, I plumped for livestock. There I was, along with my Dad who I had dragged along for company, or possibly protection, in the viewing area trying to make sense of the waving arms, nodding farmers and mooing cows being paraded around.
Part way through I decided that this probably wasn’t the best decision I’d ever made, I turned to my Dad to convey we were leaving, and at this point the auctioneer pointed at me, said something incoherent, raised his eyebrows and for a split second I was the future owner of a Lincoln Red Maiden Heifer!!!
Much to my relief a gruff cough echoed from across the room. This, as it turns out, also appears to be an indicator of purchase, and I was let off the hook. I remained VERY still till the auction had finished and then Dad and I scarpered.
It can be fun to find ‘innovative’ ways to develop, but it’s not always necessary! The smallest things can spark off interest, a poster as you walk down the street, an overheard conversation as you enter a room, a short video you almost scrolled past on social media. Turning that interest into learning is the real key to self-development.
So, what did I really learn from all this? Well, apart from the fact that you should always stand very still if you don’t want a Lincoln Red Maiden Heifer as a new house guest, I ultimately learnt that learning doesn’t have to be big, it just needs to be welcomed.
(I work with Trainer's of all experience and have lots of difference ways to help you self-develop... and not one of them involves a cow! Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Learning doesn't just happen in a training session. It happens all around us! Follow my ramblings and continue to see the world in a different light!