Training in real life

Michael Herman reflects on his approach to training (specifically for Open Space) which resonates strongly for me.

thinking back on the trainings i’ve attended hosted designed and led, the single most important criteria is not what we as ‘trainers’ or ‘teachers’ bring. rather, just like in any other open space (cuz what we’re really doing is just opening a space for learning and exploration of open space itself), so just like any other open space, the thing that matters is the complexity, diversity, urgency and passion that comes in with the participants.

to increase or at least encourage these things, i used to ask early and often for them to bring real situations to work on and wrestle with. then during the sessions, it seems important to keep looking for those situations… not only where “ost” might be used in a meeting, but where each participant may have encountered open space somewhere else in their lives.

I’ve become vary wary of getting into a teacher trance; I think the work is to aim for creating the space within which people learn, not to set about telling them things.

1 thought on “Training in real life

  1. Chris Corrigan

    It’s a balance for me. Even when Michael and I worked together delivering these trainings, we still had some teaching bits, and a workbook full of stories and maps. I think there is always room for story telling, map sharing and information exchange. I think there are multiple modes for doing this, but there is always room for sharing something you know that others are curious about.

    These days when I facilitate, I often offer frameworks for understanding realities, or maps for decision making or sense making. These frames help especially in complex and unknown territory to at least help us navigate before making some decisions about which way to go. They don’t have to be prescriptive or come from me – sometimes the group itself goes on a learning journey to become teachers to themselves – but I find that frameworks help a lot.

    Having said all that, yeah, teacher trance. I know that state. Anyone with an ego knows THAT state.


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