Let’s all pretend to be a tree

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Which way's left again?
Which way's left again?

Waiting for a tube train in London this week, I saw a great poster from Vodaphone. It depicted some corporate types in the grounds of a conference centre standing on one leg as part of some bizarre management game. The advert was making the point that your team would be better off networking using Vodaphone’s products than it would attending a team building event.

Whether this is true or not, I wouldn’t like to say, but it got me thinking about whether people like me take the time to really set out the reasons for exercises of this kind.

On our programmes we ask participants to undertake exercises designed to illustrate coaching principles. There is no real physical exertion involved and we’re certainly not talking about ‘outward bound’ style activities.

They are not be required to do anything that makes them feel uncomfortable or asked to ‘confront their fears’ by walking over hot coals or smashing a house brick with a Karate style chop.

There are two main reasons we use physical activity:

  • We want to convince you that coaching works. To do this we have to prove it to you. It is not possible to model real business results in a few minutes but it is possible to see how coaching can radically improve a golf swing or a person’s ability to catch a ball.
  • To be truly memorable, learning needs to be impactful and fun. There is only so much you can do with a flipchart and PowerPoint.

For participants with mobility issues we include a variety of other ways to get involved.  All of the exercises require someone to act as ‘coach’. After all, it is coaching we are trying to demonstrate. If people have any problems with the exercises or simply find the idea uncomfortable, then they can always opt to be the coach.

We are concerned that every participant on our programmes should not feel worried about what they might have to do or feel excluded in any way.

And we never ask anyone to pretend to be a tree!

Matt Somers

Matt Somers

Matt Somers is the UK’s leading trainer of managers as coaches. His coaching skills training programmes, books, articles and seminars have helped thousands of managers achieve outstanding results through their people.

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