As I sat in my office prepping to facilitate my first course back after growing our family, making sure I had all of my materials, trainer notes, and illustrative examples pulled together, I realized this return is an opportunity for me to not only facilitate an impactful learning experience but also an opportunity to grow in new, intentional ways.
Maybe it’s the season of life I am in or the fact that in just a few short days I’ll have been teaching this life-changing content for almost nearly 15 years. Whatever the reason, I know that learning is a journey, and I don’t ever want to lose my energy for problem-solving, passion for helping participants, and zest for growth in organizations.
So, as I began preparing for class, I asked a beautiful learning community of fellow certified and master trainers, “What do you do to stay fresh and energized, and to create the most impactful and meaningful connections in the classroom?”
I’ve gathered up what was shared with me, and I invite you to join me in exploring where you’re at right now, what your opportunities are to grow, and how you can continue to have an intentional impact on your participants and organization.
1. Where are you right now?
Think about the last time you were in the classroom. When did you feel incredibly connected to the participants and content? And when during the training did you not feel that same energy? What was the time of day, what was the topic, what are the challenges you faced? Examining where we are right now can help us identify where we feel solid and where we have opportunities to improve.
2. In what ways would you like to grow?
Content: Become a practitioner.
If you’d like to better live the Crucial Learning skills and principles that you teach, check out our webinars and newsletter articles. You may also find new ideas and examples to infuse into your sessions.
Don’t limit your learning to Crucial Learning, either. There are so many amazing authors out there who can provide even more insight as you facilitate parallel content. Reading a variety of authors can deepen our knowledge and generate new insights and perspectives.
Facilitation: Observe and adopt.
If facilitation is one of your opportunities to improve, consider observing a colleague or attend other parallel courses to gain insights into what is working for other trainers. This doesn’t mean you should necessarily do exactly what they do—you also want to show up as your authentic self in the classroom. However, there is lot you can learn simply by watching others. What’s working for someone else that you can see yourself doing? Do they remind you of things you could refresh about your experience?
If observing someone else isn’t doable, do you have a trusted colleague, mentor, or friend that is willing to sit in on one of your trainings to talk you through areas to improve, ask tough questions or offer challenging comments, or identify situations where you can be more agile? This step has been incredibly rewarding for me as I’ve stepped back into the classroom.
Connection: Learning is deepened by creating classroom connections.
Whether it’s connections between learners or to the content, when learners share experiences and see how the content relates to their world, they’re going to be more likely to use what they’re learning. So ask yourself: What new ways can you improve people’s connection to the content? Can you create challenges for yourself to pick up on what learners are sharing with you? Can you use what they’re sharing to deepen their learning experience? Can you tell new stories based on different groups that are present in the class?
3. What impact would you like to have moving forward?
Once you know where you are and how you want to grow, it’s time to look toward the impact the skills you teach need to have on the organization. Can you explore research and/or data that relates to organizational goals? In what ways do you want or need participants to develop?
How can we weave this content into the core of what we do as an organization? What can I do to have a greater impact? What can I do to prevent a stale or stagnated delivery experience? And how can I grow and challenge myself to continually evolve and become better?
The deliberate way in which we analyze where we are currently and how we can grow as facilitators—and then align our work with the long-term goals of individuals and organizations—all determine how successful we are in creating change through learning. As a facilitator, I have an ongoing opportunity to learn and grow and to ensure that I am intentional in the way we explore our growth as individuals, as a class, and as an organization.