Helping one another
I’ve done enough presentations now to say I have a favourite pattern. It starts with an introduction of a subject, followed by some combination of the following: the participants doing a little reflection on their own, sharing with each other in small groups, some more reflection and finally the participants get to work applying their new knowledge to helping one another.
This format is one I enjoy most as a participant, as it takes away the forced aspect of networking and replaces it with true camaraderie – people helping people and getting to know each other in the process.
I am also struck by how effective it is. Whatever the subject, I believe there is a limit to how much we should learn before we apply it. The learning comes in the application, not the lecture.
It is human nature (okay, it’s my nature, but I assume this is pretty common) to get good advice and think, “Yeah, but my circumstances are unique so this doesn’t apply.”
This is where the magic of the participants working groups comes in. The source of the advice is a peer who has not just bromides but advice unique to your circumstance.
Picture this – you are hanging a picture. Is it straight? If you have someone around to ask, they step back ten feet and let you know. This is not an admission that they are better than you at noticing if a picture is crooked. It simply takes advantage of their more removed perspective.
And so it is in these workshops. Whether a business plan, a marketing plan, copy for your website or the design of your Facebook profile, the worst person to tell you if the result is crooked is you while you are labouring on it. By working in groups, and advising each other, the participants get the benefit of each other’s removed perspectives.
What is a coach?
I find this line of thinking appealing, as it reaffirms the idea that we all have the capacity to be coaches, to lend a more removed perspective to help one another with challenges.
You don’t need to be x in order to be y. By this I mean that, for example, you don’t need to be better at basketball than LeBron James to be a good basketball coach – you just need to be a good basketball coach.