This Training Course In A Nutshell
We are a small family owned training company, who for the past 4 decades have specialised in a management training course called "Skills with People".
The course teaches people how to navigate their way through some of the more difficult conversations that most people need to have from time-to-time (at work), but almost universally feel uncomfortable about. The course does this by helping people develop two crucial communication skills.
The two crucial communication skills that are based around the theory of emotional intelligence. The first essential communication skill on the "Skills with People" training course is the ability to be able to tune in on the other person’s wavelength so much so that the other person can become completely satisfied that they have been understood. We describe this as listening with empathy. If you can delelop your ability to offer empathy even if you passionately disagree with the other person it can have a profoundly calming effect on the conversation. Showing respect and understanding for what is motivating the other person effects their mood, and in turn their willingness to cooperate.
The second crucial communication skill the "Skills with People" training course teaches is how to encourage the other person to reciprocate and to take what you’re saying seriously. In other words assertiveness training.
Over the years many people have got confused between assertiveness and aggressiveness. They think that in order to be taken seriously they have to become loud, or strident or pushy, and as soon as they start behaving like that the conversation can very quickly deteriorate. When they do this people can get a reputation for being a bit of a bully or an ogre at work. Consequently, in order to avoid conflict they over-compensate. They end up become backwards about coming forwards in an effort to avoid getting a reputation for being too dominating at work. It means they end up becoming gun-shy.
A common behavoural pattern is for people to polorise between two opposite extremes. On the one hand, people can are motivated by duty and responsibly to speak up about important issues at work. They may be aware that sometimes others find them a bit gruff, severe or confrontational, so they jump in with both feet ready to fight their corner knowing they are likely to ruffle a few feathers along the way, because they don't want to avoid voicing their opinion just because other people are a bit (over)sensitive. On the other hand, there may be other occasions when they would love to have their voice heard, and to share their point of view, however they don’t want to rock the boat over relatively trivial matters if it also means they'll develop a reputation as someone who can’t keep their trap shut. So they end up biting their lip, or sitting on their hands in order to avoid a reputation as a trouble maker or a difficult person.
This course teaches people how to be assertive in a way that is very unlikely to be confused for aggressiveness, where they can tell the truth about exactly what they are thinking, and precisely how they are feeling with running the risk of ruffling the other person’s feathers because of the way they word it.
The combination of the two skills (listening with empathy, and speaking assertively) that makes for a very powerful set of communication skills. Over the years this course has helped thousands of clients develop their confidence to apply these two skills to a wide variety of difficult conversations (primarily at work), and consequently be seen as a safe pair of hands.
It is heart warming for us as trainers to see people's confidence grow as they learn how to:-
These skills are difficult to master. This is an advanced communication skills emotional intelligence training course. Even though the principles involved are relatively easy to talk about, being about to reliably pull these skills out of your toolbag in the heat of battle is a difficult challenge. Standing at a flip-chart and drawing a diagram saying “Don’t do it like that any more … do it like this instead” is unlikely to be sufficient when the adrenaline is pumping. The reason is because old habits of communication that most people have picked up over many years, and have become baked into the way people interact when they become stressed by difficult emotions. The way most people react in difficult conversations, when they are under pressure to perform, is largely influenced by the way they learnt how to manage their emotions at a very early age i.e. when they were in the school playground trying to sort out their place in the pecking order with the other kids.
This emotional intelligence training course offers practical training similar to that of a sports coach. We use non-academic, hands-on practice with feedback using a video camera so that participants can study the action replay and analyse their own approach and its effect on others. This is supplemented by discussion of the principles involved so that they have a chance to develop both skill and understanding.
As this is a skills development rather than a theoretical programme, the emphasis throughout is on participants taking turn after turn at practising their skills and receiving feedback about their effect on others. They learn how to give one another constructive feedback, and practice doing it until they are comfortable. This is something we manage very carefully. Most people are a bit nervous about being on the receiving end of bruising critical feedback that has been delivered clumsily. We show people a safe way to do it, and encourage clients to be warm, friendly and generous with praise, as well as courageous with criticism. The feedback training people receive on this course are among the most potent skills our clients say they get from this course. It gives them the confidence to be able to go back to work the very next day knowing that the way they word their feedback to others is far less likely to ruffle the other person's feathers because of the way they've expressed it. It's a great way to win friends and influence people, as well as inspire and motivate a team
The course is made up of a three-day group training session (with no more than 6 participants) bookended by a series of private and confidential one-to-one coaching sessions, typically spread over about half a year.
Over the 4 decades that this course has been running most of our business has been repeat business. We like to liaise with each participant’s line manager both before the training begins in order to gather feedback about their team member’s training needs, and then a few weeks prior to the final coaching session (roughly half a year later) in order to learn what changes they have made. Most line-managers of course participants say that if a change has taken place, and the change has been sustained at least 6 months later, then the course has been worth while and value for money.