Friday, 20 February 2009

What makes being a Maven trainer worthwhile?

Or “A Trainer’s most uplifting moment”.
Or even “When is it ok to hug a delegate?”

Read on – this is a true story told by Graham Devine, one of our Senior Training Consultants.

“Part of my life as a Maven Trainer involves duties that go well beyond the classroom, and events which have extreme emotional effects. It’s not just about ‘learning’ and study – and for me this makes working with Maven so worthwhile.

Let me tell you about a recent incident which illustrates the point.

Fidan (to protect the person I have used a fictitious name) had previously taken the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam, after her own self-study for Foundation, but had failed. She was desperate to get the Practitioner Accreditation and so booked herself on a Maven Consolidation course for a second attempt.

With three weeks to go she asked Maven if she could talk with a trainer to help her decide on the best approach for her pre-course preparation. As I was to be the trainer for her Consolidation course I picked up this request. Using her previous exam scores and talking with Fidan we worked out a revision and self-study plan for the next few weeks. I should point out that Fidan’s first language is not English – and whilst she had excellent spoken English sometimes the subtleties and idioms used in written questions fazed her.

Over the next few weeks I coached Fidan through phone calls and e-mail exchanges, I was looking forward to meeting her in the course.

During her course it became apparent to me that she was having difficulties with the written exam questions – she could comprehend what was required but it took a long time, and she was getting stressed by this. During the second day of the course I asked Fidan about her background and circumstances and I realised that the examination board could offer her more time in the exam. She was delighted. I also found out from her that passing this exam was one of the conditions of her continued work-permit – Fidan’s plans and future rested on this one test tomorrow!

Ok, day of the exam – Fidan started well knowing she had an extra half-hour. I checked with her occasionally and offered her some guidance on interpretation of some questions. Half way through the exam Fidan asked to speak with me – I took her outside the classroom. She was much stressed and didn’t believe she could do all the questions in time – this was so stressful for her she broke down and cried – she was in great distress.

As an invigilator I could not offer her more time – the examination board would not allow that – but I could ‘stop the clock’. So, for the next 15 minutes, through the tears, we calmly talked it through – I tried to guide her in an adult way. This seemed to work; at least it calmed her down. I suggested that if she wanted to carry on we could put her into a separate room on her own – a good idea said. So, she settled down again with the exam ‘clock’ restarted. Throughout the remaining time I checked on her regularly – she was still not having a good time but I kept her focussed.

At the end of the exam I could see from her answer sheets that she had missed one or two questions (out of nine) – quietly, I was thinking to myself that it was very unlikely she would get a pass – I was saddened by this; Fidan had put in so much extra effort, she was intelligent, capable and driven – was it fair that she should fail? What about her work-permit?

We said our good-byes, I asked her if a hug was appropriate (partly for her and partly for me), sent her away, she went to see her sister to commiserate (still crying) and I got the train home – I have to say I felt really ‘low’.

Fast forward a week and half – exam results day – imagine my utter astonishment and absolute joy when I saw Fidan’s score – 180. SHE HAD DONE IT!

I have e-mailed and spoken with Fidan since – she is over the moon, and still cannot believe it. What a fantastic way to end the week for me – and by the way, all of the other delegates passed as well. It’s nice to be part of an organisation that cares – welcome to Maven Training!”

Aaawww, hasn’t this just melted your heart? Well, I know mine has! Thank you G.D. for your super contribution to this blog!

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