If you were given a tool which helps you navigate through your professional development as trainer, what would you do with it?
When I started my path as trainer, we were given what can be considered a map. It was composed with a timeline with the starting point being the end of my train-the-trainer event, no end point, which is cool, and several milestones presented as events a trainer can attend to develop knowledge and/or skills with no particular structure.
Then, many years later, Mirna Šmidt and Goran Kelečić developed a self-assessment tool for Youth Trainers Academy with the aim to support professional growth using regular self-assessment structured in a way that encourage exploration: the Trainer’s Compass.
The Trainer’s Compass has been created to provide structured self-reflection, to help facilitate the understanding of trainer’s attributes, and provide insight on trainers’ development.
The Compass is composed of 4 main areas guided by 4 main questions: Who am I? What do I know? What can I achieve? and What do I do?
Trainer’s attitude represents the foundations of a trainer’s practice. It holds the structure for knowledge, skill, and behaviour. It is the core of the trainer, the first and most important thing the trainees will see, feel, connect to, and what people will remember.
The knowledge a trainer needs can be divided into knowledge regarding how people work and learn, the knowledge essentially needed to facilitate the learning process, and knowledge related to the content of the training being delivered.
Next to knowledge, trainers also need some well-developed transferring skills – group of skills that can be roughly put under two umbrellas of communication skills, as main tool for knowledge exchange, and delivering skills, making it accessible for the audience to master the skills related to the content.
No matter who one IS and all the things that one KNOWS and CAN, it is not worth much if one doesn’t DO something with those experiences, skills and knowledge. The impact of a trainer is only as far reaching as the actions and behaviour that s/he exhibit. Walking the talk and demonstrating what (s)he is teaching in her/his own behaviour, both in training and everyday life, is absolutely essential for a great trainer.
Using Trainers Compass
Trainer’s Compass was developed for TTT (Train the trainer) and that context still remains one of the most applicable places to use it – in presenting trainers’ competences to new trainers, but also in facilitating their self-reflection and planning of their own development path.
Another great place to use Trainer’s Compass is in any sort of event that aims at developing trainers’ skills – such as Train Old Trainer, Trainers’ Meeting, Train Advance Trainer and similar events. In these contexts, the Compass will likely be used as a framework for self-questioning and to explore own strong and weak sides as a trainer, as well as to find focus on what would be the most impactful next area to focus on in own self-development as a trainer. It could also be used as a structure for receiving feedback from trainer colleagues.
The way I personally use the tool, is that few times a year, I pick one or two slices and dedicate time to develop the related aspect of my compass. Like the time when I started a quest to develop my understanding of Neuro-Linguistic Programming basics, more the advanced communication aspect. I discovered the topic through fellow trainers and some parts of it seemed to respond to attitude elements I was receiving feedback on and wanted to improve (attitude related).
Some months later, I got my hand on a cool introductory book which had quite many activities related to the topic. After reading the book and discussing with my trainers’ colleagues to develop my understanding of the topic (knowledge acquisition). I chose some exercises and decided to spend 2 weeks developing the skills related to each of them (behaviour). About 2 months later, I delivered a session to which I included some parts from the topic for the first time (skills).
Building your own Compass
As one can see, all the mentioned elements are part of a life-long process, to be achieved through a lot of personal work and numerous training hours. The tool is not fixed. Some elements might be added or changed in each quadrant though what is important is the reflection associated with it. Adapting it to the context, situation, audience and goals of the activity is absolutely recommended and encouraged. What is important is that every trainer should develop a vision of his/her future trainer self, and invest energy in change to develop individual skills for personal and/or professional use.
Similar approach with Compass can also be developed for leaders, coaches, or any other role that would benefit of clear framework of competencies as a guidance for reflection and planned self-development.
About author of the article
Herve Tunga is an IT Development Engineer, Life Coach and Freelance Trainer with broad experience in managing IT technical projects, strategic development and organisational transformation initiatives in international environment.
Created by a child psychiatrist, Dixit is a communication game with beautiful artistic cards. The goal of the original game is to choose associations for the cards that at least some of your co-players will guess, but the real beauty of the game lies in its versatility, making Dixit cards a great tool for many trainers.
Each pack of Dixit cards includes 84 evocative images and they can be used in many creative ways. Some of the more straightforward ones are in storytelling, presentation skills, self-awareness development and team building. They can also be used for goal setting, personal planning or anything else where the power of visualization and imagination can be beneficial.
Dixit cards are also great for getting-to-know-you and icebreaker activities, encouraging sharing with a visual prompt. Because of their dreamlike artwork, the cards can be inspiring, playful, stimulating and even relaxing.
Ideas for application
Have participants pull out a random card and tell a story about it. You can set a time limit for the story (e.g. 3 or 5 minutes) or give complete freedom to the storyteller.
To make it more challenging or encourage more creativity, the same can be done with 3 random cards.
If you prefer to make it a team effort, have each participant in a group of 3 or 4 pull out a random card. Their group goal is to collectively build a story using their cards. For an additional challenge, they can do it in silence, using only non-verbal communication. After a certain time (set by you) or once they have agreed on a story, they line up according to their story order and tell their part of the story one after another.
good for: storytelling, icebreaker activities, teamwork
Answer a Question
Each participant chooses one card and shares why they chose it as an answer to one of the following questions (depending on your goals, training topic and timing of the exercise):
"How am I feeling at this very moment?"
"What would I like to be?"
"What do I fear the most?"
"How was/is this event for me?"
"Which card do I relate to the most?"
good for: icebreaker activities, getting feedback, sharing
Prompt a Solution
When faced with an issue, use one or several of the cards as random stimuli to generate more ideas. You can pull out a card and think of ways it is related to the problem, or think how the card can be presented as a solution.
good for: brainstorming, problem solving, ideation
Storytellers & Artists
Choose one person who will be the «storyteller», with all the other ones taking the role of «artists». The storyteller chooses or is given a card and has to describe it for the artists to draw the image following the description. You can allow or forbid the artists from asking additional questions. This activity can also be done in pairs, with the storyteller and the artist sitting back to back.
good for: teamwork, communication, challenging assumptions
When used for closure of a training or an event, participants can choose a card representing them or their actions in the future, creating anchors for their action plans.
good for: goal setting, inspiration, visualization
Dixit cards can also be used with agile teams during retrospectives. Each team member chooses a card representing something that happened during the sprint, and other team members write what they think the card represents.
Find more instructions by Chris Sims at the link: http://www.agilelearninglabs.com/2013/07/dixit-sprint-retrospective-game/
good for: creative thinking, goal setting
Where can you get the Dixit cards?
You can buy the cards at most places stocking board games, either online or in a physical store.
Currently there are three editions that include the whole playing set for the actual game (Dixit, Dixit Odyssey and Dixit Journey) and additional expansion packs containing 84 cards each:
Dixit Odyssey (expansion) (same cards as Dixit Odyssey)
Dixit Quest (Dixit 2)
Dixit 3: Journey (same cards as Dixit: Journey)
Dixit: Origins (Dixit 4)
Dixit: Daydreams (Dixit 5)
Dixit: Memories (Dixit 6)
Dixit: Revelations (Dixit 7)
Alternative similar tools
Many of these games can be done with a set of diverse printed photos or even art personally drawn on cards.
P.S. Not sure which edition to start with?
Our personal favorites are the Odyssey and Origins editions – just beautiful!
About authors of the article
Eva Simona Kulenović
A psychologist by trade and organization enthusiast by nature, Eva's mission and hope is to help others bring more color, play and joy into their everyday lives. In this quest she draws inspiration from her experience working in higher education, managing the HR department of an IT company and delivering youth trainings.
Founder of Trainers Toolbox, trainer passionate about learning, getting things done, creating great training content and delivering it in an enthusiastic and energetic way. Being trainer since 2008, Mirna developed rich knowledge in positive psychology, NLP, evidence based training, coaching, and many other innovative trainer's tools and techniques. Next to Trainers Toolbox, she is also a founder of Happiness Academy, project aimed at educating and inspiring people to lead happier and more fulfilling lives. Read more about Mirna at www.mirnasmidt.com.
Points of you® tools are innovative, inspiring tools for training and development grounded in principles of working with photography as a “vehicle” for expanding perspectives, opening possibilities, inspiring action.
The Coaching Game is an easy to use tool that brings a fresh spirit of creativity and out-of-the-box thinking to every encounter. The game contains 65 cards, a 165-page book with stories, quotes and coaching questions, 4 process charts and a focus-notes pad.
Punctum uses colorful and stunning photos, life topics and powerful questions to create a playful atmosphere of learning and exploration. This game includes 33 photo cards, 33 word cards, 33 question cards, a cloth process-chart and a user guide.
Why to use it?
“Viewing any photograph begins an associative and emotional process in each viewer, and each viewer sees a unique reality inside the photograph’s borders. Thus any single photograph can hold numerous meanings simultaneously. The borders of every snapshot form both a window into the image and also a window into the viewer’s mind” (Judy Wiser, “Photo Therapy techniques”)
How to use this tool?
What I love most about Points of you® is the wide variety of potential uses. It’s magic works effectively both in one-on-one setting and in a conference environment with hundreds of participants. Those are different processes of course, and require different facilitations skills and styles – but the tools never fail in energizing the group and inspiring insights buy inviting and embracing multiple perspectives.
The Points of You® method is a four step process that starts with an invitation to participants to first meet themselves in a Pause, then Expand their perspective by exploring one or multiple photos (typically guided through an unexpected but precise conversational process), Focus on their most important insight and conclude the process by designing their next steps - the forthcoming Actions.
Let me share couple of examples of how I use the tools:
If you wish to check the tool in action, see the video with pictures from diverse workshops using POY:
Where to get it?
On www.points-of-you.com you can experience playing with Points of You cards; buy The Coaching Game and Punctum; search for Trainer Certification program information, and also find numerous inspiring “goodies” (Journals, downloadable Postcards, inspirational quotes, music … and last, but not least - several ready-to-use workshop facilitation manuals, downloadable for free)
About author of the article
Adrijana Strnad, PCC, CPF, Points of You® Certified Trainer
Adrijana works as an organizational development consultant, coach trainer and facilitator. Specializes team coaching. Works globally, supporting leadership teams leading their organization through large scale transformation. Adrijana is most passionate about innovative experiential training design.
Mirna , initiator of Trainers Toolbox, is a trainer in love with training tools and innovative games, positive psychology, NLP, and everything that makes learning more impactful and engaging.