After selecting our 11 South Asian Associates through a vigorous and exhaustive selection workshop back in June of this year (a process akin to the X-factor finals, but with games involving sweets, lollipops, card shapes and marbles), this September we returned to the beautiful Indian city of Hyderabad to deliver their first training workshop.
The first three days focused on our business coaching methodology. On the first day, the Associates competed in teams to satisfy the demands of buyers who needed reliable suppliers of paper bracelets.
From this experience of running their own simulated (and at times, chaotic) business we began to unpack what indicators healthy and unhealthy businesses display.
On the second day, we then moved on to examine the whole process of business coaching, as well as the key skills around questioning, listening, rapport building, and summarising and paraphrasing.
Day three involved working on some of the key tools that are useful for gathering and analysing information about a business, including the all-important problem areas that the small and micro enterprises that Traidcraft works with often face.
On day four, it was time to put it into practice. We worked with the Associates so they could understand how we had designed and delivered the training on Business Coaching, and specifically, how the whole process is underpinned by adult learning methodology.
On the evening of that day the Associates were all busy beavering away in pairs to design their own training activity that followed the same training methodology.
For the final morning of the workshop we hung-up our training hats and became participants in the activities the Associates had prepared.
We had some excellent activities that involved, for example, popping balloons to illustrate the power of Fair Trade, and transporting water in our hands to understand group dynamics and team strategy.
Now we are looking forward to our next workshop in January. Once again we will be working with the South Asian Associates to further their understanding of the adult learning methodology, and to introduce them to the intensive planning process that we undertake to ensure our workshops meet the precise learning objectives we set.
In the intervening months, the Associates are all busy undertaking some business coaching with a small entrepreneur in their locality, putting into practice the process and skills we focused on for the first three days of the workshop.
Meanwhile, we are busy initiating the same process in the East Africa region: another X-factor style selection workshop is being designed to help us select the best consultants to work with in Kenya and Tanzania!
The feedback from the South Asian Associates has been really motivating for us: one of the described the workshop “one of the best training programmes I have ever attended.”
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