The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Learning to trust the process

When planning a training one of the things we do, is design a plan we see fit to help the participants get the most out of the event. It’s the strategy we will be using to help them achieve the goal of the training. That strategy serves them to learn what they hoped for when committing to the training.

Putting this strategy to work during the training means to follow the designed process. It also requires to watch what it creates. How do the participants react? What do they learn? Where is it easy? Where do they struggle? It is these reactions which help to see how well the training unfolds for that group of participants.

Any learning we do is based on our ability and willingness to integrate the information shared. We transform this information into knowledge we have. To do so we either allow ourselves to make this information our own or to experience the learning on our own. In both cases, we find a way to integrate this new knowledge with the rest of our knowledge. Only the participant can be aware of this integration. Usually, they will not even be aware of it in all of its details. Sometimes the dots will only be linked later, may it be along the training or even after the training.

Watching the process unfold is one of the main sources of information a trainer has. It allows assessing if participants are benefiting from the work they do in the training.

To be able to watch the process as trainers or coaches, we have to trust the process we designed. By following the strategy we decided upon we enable ourselves to see if things work as expected. Based on this we can adapt some details of the plan to adjust. We’ll rarely change the strategy.

Thus part of our work will become to help participants trust the process too. We help them take up the exercises and the learning as we designed them. Participants want to know that we have a plan and know what we do. As they learning something new they don’t know if what is happening to them is normal if not expected. Sometimes it means to invite participants to accept that the learning is not immediate. That things take time to become clear. That it is ok to learn some details first before being able to see the whole picture.

For participants, training is a place where they meet their own doubts. The doubts that they will be able to understand the instructions. The doubts that they can achieve the learning needed by doing the exercise. The doubt that their work will be understood as they intend it. The doubt that other participants will like their work. The doubts that they have understood the information well. The doubt that their work is ok when they aren’t sure about it.

Helping participants to trust the process helps them to deal with their own doubts.

I have been using this idea of “trust the process” for years after hearing it from one of my teachers. But it has now also become a more general idea. It happened based on the work Sam Hinkie did as general manager of the 76ers. HIs strategy was to give process precedence over outcome. As fans took up the idea and supported it, they exemplified how the idea works.

As fans and team trusted the process they built momentum thus making sure inspiration stayed with them.


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