Recently, I have co-presented a couple of training sessions with other experienced trainers. It’s an interesting experience, and I asked myself why I felt more nervous that I normally would. Is it because I found myself suddenly under a spotlight – possibly being judged (and found wanting!) by a fellow professional? Or because I feel obliged to stick to the training “script” instead of improvising as I often do?
Actually, it’s a very enjoyable experience; watching others I respect presenting information or facilitating discussion in their own way always brings new ideas. Seeing how someone else handles a difficult question, or chooses to structure a session is part and parcel of my own learning – and it’s free!
In business, this is one of the cheapest forms of training there is; yet many businesses never take advantage of it. I’m not suggesting that busy executives spend half their lives shadowing each other or duplicating effort; what I do think is worthwhile is the odd “refresher” day, built in to everyone’s CPD plan, where we simply watch another professional at work. The advantages could be:
- If you’re the one shadowing, you will inevitably learn something new
- If you’re being shadowed, you will up your game, and be conscious of how you do things
- Working with a peer can provide some of the best feedback you will ever have – if it’s given and received in the right spirit.
Of course, there has to be a degree of trust and respect built in; at the same time, this process of peer mentoring helps to build trust and can improve communication, for example, between whole departments. At a time when training budgets (what are those again?) are so tight, it could be very well worth making the time for in your business.