So there I was nearly at the end of my terminal leave and edging rapidly closer to my Discharge date and I heard about the APMG International’s Facilitation Course via the company Explosive Learning Solutions on Twitter – There were some last minute places going on the course and was I interested? My first thought was – 3 day course, decent price and another qualification to add to the CV…I was sold!
Then a few days later whilst I was tootling down the M1 to Oxford I started to actually think about what I was going to be doing? What was a Facilitator? What exactly was I going to be learning? I thought about what Facilitation meant to me…To facilitate meant to enable something, to aid where possible and support something to happen. Mmmmm, I worked in a customer facing role, I did that all the time right?!?!
Monday morning came and I arrived at ELS HQ. The building is modern with great facilities and is ideally located at Harwell Science and Innovation Campus just off the A34. I settled into the classroom of 6 students and we started our introductions. I was pleased to find that there was a good mix of ex-Military and Civilian personnel on the course and also on the ELS team. I felt instantly relaxed and knew the outcome of the 3 days would be extremely positive.
As it turned out this was the first EVER Facilitators Course to be run…in the entire world!! I was excited…So, I wondered, what was it all about? After a post introduction cuppa we then got down to our learning and over the next 2 and a half days we covered a vast amount of information from the text books we were provided. There was an excellent mix of presentations, discussions and exercises with regular breaks for refreshments. A fantastic lunch was also provided daily. Without giving too much away of the course material it is all about the thinking behind being a facilitator, the different models, tools and techniques that a facilitator can employ when assisting a CEO/MD/Manager with a Meeting, Event or Workshop. The emphasis on the course is all about Process or ‘Green Thinking’ and getting to the bottom of that ‘wicked problem’. The course also covered a lot of other things that can be applied in other forms of life, be it professional or personal, such as identifying Conflict and the Management of Conflict, Personality Profiling and how to be a good Active Listener. It was all interesting stuff!
Before I knew it Wednesday afternoon was upon us and it was exam time – 50 multiple choice questions to be answered in 40 minutes….Exam done and after an agonising wait whilst our instructor marked the papers we were called back into the classroom and all informed that we had passed. We were 6 newly qualified Facilitators armed with a fundamental knowledge of facilitation, we were all ecstatic.
For me this course was so intense and so very different to any other course I have ever been on in my life, there was so much information to take on board and the civilian terminology made it all the more difficult BUT I had passed, I had done it! I had passed the most challenging qualification I had embarked on during my whole life and it made me feel so proud of myself, not only that but it gave me an increased level of belief in myself and gave me a renewed level of optimism that now anything was really possible. I had met some great people and worked with a great company, I would thoroughly recommend Explosive Learning Solutions to anyone whether you are a Service Leaver embarking on a new career or whether you are just looking to do some professional development.
I’m already looking forward to booking my next course!!