This past week, I travelled to Chatham to deliver yet one more session of Business Writing Made Easy. The critical difference this time? I was assessed for my trainer certification. Eeps!
What started my week was the journey to Chatham, some six and a half hours away. Phil dropped me off at the car rental place at 8 am (we only have the one car). Past experience taught me that I’d be in and out in less than 15 minutes, back home to load up my luggage and boxes, and on the road by 8:30 am.
When I walked in, there were four people waiting, one of them had an insurance claim to deal with due to a dent in the rental, and another was returning a car from another rental company. The rental location was two employees short-staffed, and I settled in for a wait.
The first car I was given had some issues. I couldn’t afford to wait any longer, so gratefully accepted an upgrade and was finally on the road shortly after 9 am.
The loveliness of the ETR
The journey itself was great. For the first time, I used the 407 express toll route (ETR). In the time it would have normally taken me to reach the hotel near our regional headquarters from the ETR on-ramp, I was exiting at Halton Hills, not far away from Guelph.
The ETR saved me precious time and allowed me to reach Chatham before the end of the day.
Lusting after the Zzzzz’s
I quickly checked into my hotel (more about that in another caturday quickie to come) and toted my boxes to the office, arriving just before 4 pm. I spent the next several hours setting up the training room with my co-facilitator, Carole. About 8 pm, we gave up for the night, Carole checked into the hotel, and we enjoyed a late supper at the hotel’s rather excellent restaurant.
I rarely sleep well when I’m on the road, but that first night was especially challenging. I don’t know whether it was nerves, the trains that passed by periodically all night, or something else, but from 2:25 am on, I couldn’t sleep. I’d gone to be just after 11 pm, and there’s no way I can function properly with only three hours’ sleep.
Despite that, I met up with Carole for breakfast the next morning, we finished setting up the room and our activities, I met my assessors, and class got underway.
Really, I’m trying not to think about it much, because every time I do, I start thinking of all the things I did wrong, all of the technical difficulties I encountered, and all of the other things that could potentially have done me in so far as certification went.
I started asking closed questions. My SMART Board activity bombed. Toward the end of the second morning, I was exhausted and running on instinct rather than cultivating the Zen awareness critical to my success. I curtailed a couple of side bar conversations clumsily. I forgot participant names. What’s the expression? I sucked so hard …
The assessors were very kind. I’d actually worked with one of them before, delivering workshops in Cornwall a few years ago, but their job is to make sure that I can facilitate in a participant-centered manner in accordance with a set of 18 competencies. They assessed me for a full day, 1 pm to 4:30 pm the first afternoon, and again from 8:30 am to noon the second day. I had to facilitate the class solo.
At the end of the first afternoon, the assessors asked me a series of questions about the competencies that weren’t clearly visible in my facilitation and presentation skills. Things like the room set up, placement of visuals, the joining instructions, utilization of pre-course assignment materials, continuing professional development, and so forth.
At noon the next day, I bid them farewell and was advised that I would be informed of the outcome of the assessment within a couple of weeks.
I’m kind of dreading it. I think that having to go through the assessment again would be a little bit more than I can handle moving into the new fiscal year. Thus the avoidance tactics 🙂
The good parts
I tried not to tell her she was counting my chickens before they were hatched and just appreciated the gesture. Carole also asked me to focus on all the things I had done well in the class. Though I was able to list several things, my mind quickly gravitated toward the negative and I returned to avoidance.
The final day of class, with Carole at my side, went well, and by the end of it, several of the participants not only told us how much they enjoyed the class, and what good resources they got out of it, but also told us that their colleagues were asking how they could get on the list to attend the course.
That kind of validation warms a facilitator’s heart 🙂
After class, we packed everything up, and had an hour or so to enjoy Chatham and some of the quaint shops in the area.
At breakfast on Friday morning, Carole asked me some very helpful questions about the certification process. She has an interest in pursuing it, and was curious about what might be next for me given her expectations for my success.
It was another very helpful way of keeping my mind from dwelling on all of my short-comings.
I dropped the set of posters I’d borrowed for the delivery of the course back at regional headquarters on my way through Toronto, and was home by 4:30 pm.
At home, Phil reminded me that my focus on the negative wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Being conscious of what I did wrong means that I’ll be less likely to repeat those errors since I am, as always, my toughest critic. I get so embarrassed about it that I determine never to fall into the same trap again.
It’s all about doubt, something that plagues me in both spheres of my professional life (training and writing). I constantly question the value of what I do, regardless of the evidence to the contrary.
So … the next you’ll hear about this is whether I have, in fact, been successful or not.
Have you been assessed, or tested recently? How did you feel about the process? What did it teach you about yourself?