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We're recruiting for a Part-time Admin Assistant

We are looking for a self-motivated Admin Assistant to provide part-time support to our current admin team of three.   We imagine this will be 10 hours a week but this is negotiable.  School hours and term-time only considered. 

If this sounds interesting, head over to Total Jobs for the full job description and to apply.  The deadline for applications is Wednesday 12th July 2017.  No agencies please.

Go to Total Jobs

We are presenting at the CIPD Conference next week

The CIPD Learning and Development Show is taking place 10-11 May at Olympia, London.

We are delighted to be presenting with our client Babcock International on 'Driving change through early talent development' at the Topic Taster area on Thurs 11 May at 9.15.

We will also be exhibiting on Stand 453, so if you are there, please come and say hello.

If you can't make it, but would like to talk to us, just get in touch.

Training versus Facilitation... and why you care!

Some practical guidance for recognising the difference, and what happens when you get it wrong!

For those of us in professional HR/ learning & development, this is a well- worn discussion, but I wanted to take a moment to share with a broader audience the difference between 'training' and 'facilitation' and why it matters, especially if you have a hand in designing, procuring or commissioning L&D solutions.

For years now in my practice as a learning and development professional, working with companies large and small and at all levels of seniority, I have tried to put as much distance between myself and 'training' as possible. The accusation that I am a ‘trainer’ has always felt almost demeaning.

However, there really is a place for 'training' and 'trainers', and as I look back I have often, rightly, been in that place. The problem with 'training' is that it suggests a very old-school approach to helping people grow. It suggests that power sits primarily with the trainer as the source of knowledge and answers. The trainer typically has every minute of the session planned and controlled so that it feels 'on rails' and there is very little, if any, room for emergent discussion. It will often look and feel as though the trainer is putting on a show and he/she is clearly the dominant presence in the room. He/ she will often be thinking about things like ‘keeping up the energy in the room', managing the physical space and keeping delegates engaged. Training is the right style where the learning is at the level of facts, knowledge or skills development and/ or the working group size is larger than about 10 people. For many of our graduate development programmes, this is absolutely the more effective and appropriate style.

Facilitation, on the other hand, is the appropriate style where the session needs to be focussed on emergent exploration of a problem or situation. The session will be far less structured - typically the facilitator will have prepared a few models, approaches or questions to help the group explore the question in hand - and the role of the facilitator is to provide direction, focus and 'ways of thinking' for the group dialogue. Unlike the trainer, the spotlight should never be on the facilitator. Facilitation is the right style where the answer(s) to one or a few relatively complex problems lie within the group themselves. Our recent work with the OSCE was more towards the facilitative style.

A lot of good work and investment can be undone very quickly

Perhaps unexpectedly, facilitation is the more complex and demanding skill. There is relative safety in knowing and controlling a day's training schedule, whereas it takes a good degree of confidence in your breadth and depth of experience and ability to manage a complex problem-solving discussion amongst a group of (typically senior) people to help them come to a useful resolution. Facilitation is analogous with group coaching, as training is to teaching. At Interaction, we regularly give each other feedback and proactively develop our skills so that we are able to range across this spectrum effectively, and we have a large pool of associates who are able to operate at both ends of this scale.

Getting this wrong is like to make for a painful and ineffective mismatch

Getting this wrong is likely to make for a painful and ineffective mismatch. I have known many 'trainers' come awkwardly unstuck in front of smaller, more senior audiences, and 'facilitators' fail to have any impact where a more dynamic and controlling style was required. Of course, skilled practitioners are able to adjust their style across the continuous spectrum from facilitation to training to best suit the audience. Just make sure that you have a good match, or a lot of good work and investment can be undone very swiftly.

Register for a FREE place at the CIPD Learning and Development Show

We're looking forward to the next CIPD Learning and Development Show taking place at London Olympia on 10-11 May 2017.

On Day Two, we will be delivering a Showcase session in the Topic Taster Area - click here to read more.

We will also be on Stand 453, so come along and say hello.  See you there.

My first week with Interaction!

On Tuesday this week I joined the Interaction team with the ‘Collaborating in Teams’ module of a prestigious Graduate Development Programme. Over three days, through a mix of carefully crafted experiential activity and guided reflection, we explored ideas including behavioural flexibility, ‘virtual’ teams, and the factors influencing team effectiveness in modern business. We have guided delegates through a strengths-based approach, and looked at some practical ideas around recognizing team dynamics and collaborating successfully as a graduate in today’s workplace.

Take opportunities and get familiar with the numbers

The cohort were lucky enough to be addressed by the CFO during a ‘formal’ dinner night. He encouraged them to take opportunities and to quickly ‘get familiar with the numbers’. At the end of a busy but thoroughly enjoyable few days the delegates spent some quality time committing to some pragmatic actions, with ongoing support in place from colleagues and business mentors.

Where I have seen this type of work failing to have the impact it should is when the learning is not delivered experientially so that learners only conceptually understand the issues at hand but can’t translate that into practice. There is also danger when someone develops a clearer understanding of their interpersonal impact but fails to recognise it as a preference rather than a rigid (often defensive) definition. By really challenging learners this week to stretch themselves in very specific ways, often to an uncomfortable degree but with appropriate support in place, we saw some genuinely transformational results, and had a great time in the process.

So that’s my first week done. I wonder what week 2 will bring…