I have spent the weekend walking in Snowdonia. This time, not to bag any peaks, or to do any long distance route, but to do some training for being able to take my Scouts up the mountains safely. Despite having many years experience walking and climbing, it really is a different game when you are leader and responsible. Not only did you need to understand exactly where you were without using GPS (to within 2-3 meters) but you needed to be able to use different techniques to help get the party off the hills in case of emergency using ropes and party management. As our instructor said – if you need to get down quickly, you need to get down safely. We needed to be prepared for the unexpected, and be able to work quickly when conditions change. Some of this is down to experience and some is down to observation of the party.
We are finding many people starting to embark as a coach in the workplace. They rely heavily on their experience and are often very keen to share this experience as a ‘coach’ with their clients. For me, this is more about being a mentor than being a coach. I believe that being a coach needs the skill of an individual to get you from A to B using your observation, challenge and in some cases tenacity. Just as in the scouting training, we hold our clients in a safe place – doing no harm, and understand where they are on the journey. Sometimes unforeseen challenges obstruct the path ahead, but our skill and training helps them to overcome that obstruction by either pushing through it or manoeuvring around it. Sometimes we need to get the rope out of the bag to provide reassurance, but it is the energy and knowledge of our clients that help them to get to their destination.
The weekend re-itterated the need for continuous development in everything we do. I did not learn anything new. What I did learn was the importance of being safe in my method and being a provider of a safe (although challenging) route that matches the capability of the group that I am with.