I’ve passed my PADI advanced which I simply took to try and improve my skills and confidence as I still get a bit nervous each time. So off I go again and on dive number four. I was at last fully relaxed exploring the beautiful coral reefs with Nemo’s popping out of swirling anemones and shimmering shoals of fish 40 feet under.
We then got to a slightly narrow channel so my buddy went ahead in front, suddenly all I knew was I had no air and just water was pouring into my mouth.
All my training flew past my mind and I just managed to pull myself together, stay calm and decide my best option was get to my buddy who was by now quite a way in front to get access to both help and his emergency air.
Very shakily I later got onto the boat and found my regulator which is the air supply had simply broken and the front part had come off.
The next day would have been my last dive and it took me some determination and breathing exercises to go back in again. I did and was rewarded with a wonderful dive with the highlight being a beautiful large green turtle swimming straight towards me. And how does this relate to training and mentoring?
Today on meeting one of our private clients, a senior risk director in Financial Services, for a session, we were discussing the importance of a training project they were working on and it really made me think. My dive ‘trauma’ here really shows the essence of great training, mentoring and life principles:
Behaviours - Training is about helping people behave and think rather than learning a process.
Yes, I didn’t remember exactly the best way to hold my buddy’s arm whilst using his air tank, but all my original training plus refresher training with Colin had taught me: “Don’t panic there are options and if you stay calm you will find the right one.” This means behaviour based training gets the best results and needs to be a natural ongoing part of getting business and personal results rather than adhoc interventions.
Feelings – Fear is a powerful emotion that needs to be taken into account. It can prevent people learning, prevent them reaching their potential and make them give up at the first sign of failure. Feeling fear is OK - it’s how you then decide to react to it.
The more you face fear the easier it is to do it again. Fear can arise from anything someone perceives so it can be something that can be quite minor to someone else. Great training builds in support and encouragement and builds it in at every stage.
Thoughts - The original decision I made several years ago to learn to dive despite being very scared has been life changing for me. I now feel that if I have the confidence to take off my mask and take out my air on the sea bed, which is part of the safety training I had to do then
I can do anything.
It’s been a powerful thought which has helped me navigate through a number of challenges. If you decide you want to learn then that thought, and that focus will get you through.
I’ve seen this so much over the years especially when I was teaching overseas students in Financial Services. It was learning difficult subject areas in a second language to them however the desire to improve their career and support their family made those students extremely hard working and focussed.
Support - Training needs back up. Refreshers and updates are essential in any sector to keep the training alive, relevant and practical to an individual’s circumstances. It’s often in that training follow up where it all just ‘clicks’ for someone and their learning comes to life. That’s why we always offer ongoing professional development modules after our training.
Challenges - Training isn’t about getting it right. The right training is about accepting there will be obstacles and helping the learner know that they are simply that – obstacles and that they are still on a great journey to achieve what they want. In having this kind of mindset, it means you learn from mistakes and take the positives from them and move on rather than replay what went wrong.
Community – Training has greater impact when you are surrounded or have access to people who are on a similar learning journey even if they are way behind or ahead of you. Our membership programme really helps people with that.
On the dive boat one very experienced diver just simply took the time to chat it through with me. A lesser experienced one knew enough to see I was very tired and helped me with unloading my equipment. All said they hoped to see me on the dive boat the next day with jokes about dolphins being my potential reward.
Inspiration - Training needs excellent trainers who build confidence. Colin did exactly that for me. Confidence building is the biggest gift a trainer can share.
Whatever your ‘trauma’ investing in great training and mentoring will help you overcome it. In business and in life, knowledge is not enough, it can be a move in the wrong direction if that does not translate to a cool head in potentially life-changing, or even life-ending, situations.
Mentoring and training create the essential bridge between good theory and good practice through support, positive challenge, insights and guidance.
Wishing you all great training experiences and hopefully I’m moving on to trauma free fun diving from now! If you are interested in our mentoring and training programmes then please have a look at our "How we can help" pages.