I’m struck this week by how much of life, and especially the more challenging aspects, we end up tackling with no training whatsoever. And what a difference it would make if we had some.
This theme has come up for me this week as I’ve just completed with my first round of being a coach on a Leadership training course. In addition to being a Life Coach & Couples Coach, I joined a gang earlier in the year who work with public & private sector companies to deliver Leadership training.
(And it's lovely being in a gang again after 9 years as a solo coach - hence the pic of our feet!). The full program is 2 days of in-person training, 2 coaching sessions to embed & personalise the learning, another 2 days of training and a final coaching session. And I have been really impressed by the difference in each of my allocated coachees.
In the space of a few months they have generally grown in confidence hugely, they feel much more empowered to make decisions & take action, they are more aware of their impact and how they come across. They have recognised that everyone can feel like they are winging it, and that’s all perfectly normal. They’ve learnt about their own leadership style and how they might want to modify it in different situations, to influence more effectively. They’ve been able to start making the shift from ‘doing’ to ‘leading’, and much more. And, partly because they got me as a coach, they’ve also considered their own self-care & what brings them joy … I just can’t help myself!
Now I can’t take any credit for the program as I didn’t design it and came to the process with fresh eyes. But it made me reflect on when I had a proper job (I was once an Actuary), many moons ago, and got promoted to my first team leader position - I had no training at all. As most people don’t. I didn’t really know what the ‘team-leading’ bit needed or how to go about it. I just made it up. And this seems to be the case across all industries and companies.
Most of us have worked for a terrible boss at some point or other. How much better team-leaders, managers and company owners, could be with the right training and what impact, in turn, would that make on productivity and the company bottom line? Often people are promoted due to being good at the job. For example, a teacher could be absolutely brilliant at managing a class of 6 year olds and teaching them, with wonderful, creative ideas and a kind & engaging manner. This does not mean that same teacher has the potential to be a great Head of school, and certainly not without training, as it needs many other skills.
It’s not just about the workplace though. Imagine a World where every new parent attended a Parenting course before they had kids? Rather than all the training being about the birth as it so often is. What a difference that could make instead of bumbling through, reading the odd book, gaining bits of advice here and there and mostly making it up as you go along. How much more prepared and confident new parents could feel as they take on such an important role and guide the next generation.
Similarly imagine if we were all given training in how to be in relationship with somebody, before we had any sort of long-term relationship? There is so much that can help people: being aware of how we come across, knowing our own triggers and how to manage them, knowledge of how relationships generally work & what can help them to thrive, communication skills and much more. A lot of heartache & conflict could potentially be avoided.
Or a World where everyone was taught great communication skills. Not just ‘how to convince someone to buy something’ which seem to be the only communication training people regularly receive. Rather ‘how to empathise’, ‘how to be with someone when they are struggling’, ‘how to ask for what you want’, ‘how to speak up and be heard’, ‘how to listen effectively’, and so on.
And yet we often bumble along, making it all up. Now I’m a big believer in training which is no doubt why I’ve had loads of training in adult life, since leaving the corporate World. I’ve had Coaching training in lorry loads (which in turn covers communication skills / listening / relationship skills etc), all sorts of other Personal Development training, at times I’ve had my own coach and relationship coach, I did both NCT & NHS & Yoga birth classes, I’ve attended a 12 week Parenting course, Meditation & Mindfulness training, I’ve had an art teacher, I’ve had excellent fitness coaches in various classes, dance teachers, singing teachers. I’ve also currently got a Ukulele teacher, 2 yoga teachers, a Running Coach, and the list could go on and on. All are in a group setting because my preferred learning style is in-person and in a group … it’s cheaper too! I am clearly a great believer in not reinventing the wheel and learning from experts in the field, and I love learning. All that training that I’ve personally invested in and yet most companies just promote people and expect them to know how to do a job - madness.
And I wonder, is there an aspect of your life that could benefit from some professional help? It might be how to exercise more effectively, to minimise the risk of injury perhaps. Or help with parenting? Or more training for your role at work? Or to learn a new hobby? Where could a helping hand make your life easier or enhance it? An investment now could bring many long-term benefits. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what training you’ve benefited from or could do with.