As a coach one of the things I run into a lot is the limited budget that companies have these days for training.
I’m always looking for tricks (let’s call them hacks) that will allow my clients to get more value out of their limited budget.
When I ran public training with PairCoaching.net (Before I gave the domain away), I quickly discovered that hiring public training rooms upfront was not smart for my business. Either the rooms were not needed, when I could not sell a certain training. Or they were too small when I had a huge success.
The hack I discovered at the time was to not book a room and then a week before the training was due, to contact a company I knew, and ask them if they had a training room available for that day and offer them a free place in the class in return.
I discovered this hack, when totally unexpected, I received new subscriptions for a training a few days before it was due. I had no idea what to do with the request. I was ready to send an e-mail to reject the subscription. As a last crazy idea I ask the question on twitter, does anyone have a room available on this date? And less then 5 minutes later, Jo replied to me: I have a board meeting in 5 minutes, let’s talk tomorrow (it was 8 pm at the time)
My luck had turned, instead of rejecting an interesting order, I now would do a training, in an office that is close to my home.
Even better, their office was at 300 meter of my children’s school. I could park my car with my training stuff on their parking lot, take my kids to school, and come back and install myself for the training. But wait, that was just the start, it got even better, during the break of the training, I started talking with Vincent. Vincent had started to work agile at OneAgency. We stayed in touch -remember I give free life time support on every talk I have- and a few years later One Agency became a client.
I’m telling this story because I want to turn on the heat on this way of working.
I know that when I deliver agile training, it’s best to take a team offsite. Teaching a team in an offsite location, changes the dynamic totally.
1) Everyone takes the training more serious
Managers think that when they do a training in-house, they can find the people when there is an emergency. That is 3589% true. Unfortunately in most occasions the interrupts are not emergencies. Sometimes, they are urgent, yet not important. Sometimes important, yet not urgent. Over the 15 years that I give training, the times that an interruption was urgent and important I can count on one hand. And I’m sure that in these rare cases, the people would have been able to contact the people in the room if we would have been offsite.
2) part of an agile training, is also building the team together. An offsite helps in creating such a team.
3) With some of my training, we do crazy stuff. Play with lego or blow up balloons, even -dare I say it-, even talk about emotions. All that stuff works so much better offsite. People are not afraid that the CEO will walk in and ask what they are doing. Especially if the training room is a nice glass room.
Now in the current economics most companies can’t afford an offsite training anymore.
As a change agent, I understand this dynamic and I want to see if I can’t turn these disadvantages on it’s head.
What if one company would offer their training room for free to another company, that would in return do the same thing for the first company?
It’s like professional CouchSurfing …
What do you think? Are you interested in this?