A recent post from one of my members in a Facebook group I run got me thinking. Jackie Harder is a leadership and empowerment coach. She has just launched a new training programme that was delivered in-house to a company in the US. Jackie told us about one of the delegates who had an attitude when they arrived at the class. Here’s what she said…
I think we can both relate to finding it difficult to be positive and engaged in a course if your job is being threatened. Even if you’ve not been in that position, I’m sure you can imagine.
It’s easy to forgive a little attitude from a person like this when we know their situation. On every course you go to, you’ll more than likely find other people will similar negative attitudes to learning. The way I like to put it is that you have hostages, vacationers and explorers.
Hostages are like the person Jackie described. They were sent on the course by their manager. They don’t want to be there and they often don’t see their need to learn the material (even though they need it more than most).
Hostages can be difficult and disruptive. They criticise the trainer, the materials and sometimes even their classmates. They don’t take responsibility for their situation and they will learn NOTHING!
If you’re a vacationer, which is often more than two-thirds of the people on any training course, you’re there for a good time. You’re open to learning, but your primary reason is to have a good time and a day out of work. Nobody really likes to admit this, but it’s true of a large majority of people who are on courses paid for by their company.
These folk will generally do well. They will learn from the course.
Then on the furthest end of the continuum, you have explorers. These people are SERIOUS learners. They’ll have fun on the course, but they are completely serious about the learning. They want to find everything there is to find. They want to pick it apart, understand it and devour every morsel there is to be had.
Explorers are the real winners. They will learn the most from the course and there is an excellent chance that they’ll act on their learning and transfer it to real workplace change as a result.
What it means for you
The goal of any good trainer, in addition to delivering the learning objectives, is to facilitate a shift in learning attitudes of participants toward becoming explorers.
Whatever the trainers does, ultimately it’s up to you. You have the choice.
If you want to sit around and be huffy (yes, I have done this myself in the past), go ahead. You won’t learn anything and your world will remain much the same as it is right now. Except perhaps that you’ll have ticked a few people off in the process.
But if you want to gain something, then at the very start of the event, ask yourself,
“Who am I today?”
Make that shift. If you can’t be an explorer, be a vacationer, but try anyway. Your job, your business or your career is paid directly proportionate to the amount of value you bring a business. If you want to make more money from your clients, offer more value. If you want to a pay rise from your boss, be a more valuable employee.
I’m not talking about your inherent value as an individual. No amount of money could ever be enough. I mean the value you offer to a company or your clients.
If you want to be more valuable, you have to learn more ‘stuff’ and find a way of putting into practice.
Never fall victim to that stinking thinking, that are the worst 3 words in the English language…
If you’re reading this Jackie, great job on helping that person think differently. Our inner world creates our outer world. It is a compositive of thought, feelings and behaviours. The change in attitude will likely be considerable.
For anyone else, I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments about ‘difficult’ participants you’ve met on courses. If you’ve been difficult yourself, tell me your thinking. There’s really no judgement here. I just want to know.
Go ahead and leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you.