By: Joe Brodnicki
I think we all know the value of benchmarks and have experienced the value in our Neuro-Semantic trainings. But have we accepted the “apply-to-self” criteria and accepted the challenge of putting them into practice. I want to share a story about how this not only improved my performance, but helped me understand my task and task and what’s important in a real time crunch.
I’ve been piloting a project that benchmarks correctional trainers and, after giving feedback for two days, I got called into service to do a module that I had never seen with less than 10 minutes to prepare. Talk about time to walk the talk.
As I looked through the material for the first time, I was mentally ticking off what I needed to do to reach the benchmarks. My biggest challenges were to create rapport with the group, run two group exercises, and create learning. The last two items were critical, since the trainers I was benchmarking had rated quite low in these areas.
Rapport came under platform skills, so I scoped out the stage area to determine where I wanted to be to deliver lectures, facilitate discussion, and the like. Eye contact and playfulness came easy, but I had to draw a few stories and some forced rapport questions. Got ‘em!
Running the exercises was another matter. As I was giving an incomplete set of instructions that created some confusion that needed correction during the first exercise. As I was doing it, I smiled inwardly as I heard Lena Gray’s voice in my ear at Trainers Training saying “At a one point zee-ro, . . . .” Okay, so now what? Clean it up and get it right next time. The next set of instruction were for a fairly complex role play and step-by-step instructions executed one-at-a-time resulted in we got 100% participation right from the bat with no questions about what to do, meeting our benchmarks intentionally, rather than by chance. This was a great example of a good design and competent facilitation creating a great learning experience.
The benchmarking model used questions from an experiential learning cycle and went well, so much so that my co-facilitators who hadn’t asked these questions before got involved. Well, we stepped all over each other and didn’t do so well on co-facilitation, but that’s an idea for another set of benchmarks next time.
My lessons? When I know how competence actualizes itself, I can use these benchmarks as a guide for my own behavior. If I’ve mind-to-muscled this, both through practice and benchmarking others, I can rely on them to get me oriented and guide me through the unexpected surprises that seem to find all of us. While I may not be masterful in these situations (yet), I can create a great learning experience by having the guidance of benchmarks as a performance improvement and growth tool.
The next questions: How else can I use these ‘apply-to-self’ criteria (I’m doing it with some buddy coaches, but we both know there are more possibilities) and how can I help my clients through benchmarking their key competencies to help them self-actualize.
Author: Meta-Coach, Neuro-Semantic NLP trainer, and organizational development consultant, Joe Brodnicki works with teams leaders, organizations, and individuals who seek to create excellence. He can be reached at email@example.com