Where Is That Tropical Island?

Certified Instructors in the Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training program come across a variety of perspectives that can be difficult to deal with. Participants sometimes have the view that the training won't work, is a waste of their time, or is redundant.
People in general have different perspectives on just about everything in life. The same is true of training. While Certified Instructors view training as important and essential, participants may have a different view. Where trainers may see a beautiful, tropical island with ocean and palm trees, participants sometimes see a back alley with parking spaces and nondescript buildings. This post addresses some of those different perspectives and how we as trainers can influence sometimes negative views. There are several ways to motivate your staff in actually applying the skills that they learn.

  • Practice what you preach. There is no greater motivation for your staff than you as the Certified Instructor using the techniques not only in your day-to-day interaction with students and care receivers, but in the actual training environment. By setting limits with difficult participants, rationally detaching when staff ask challenging questions, and being Supportive to staff anxieties, you will demonstrate that you actually walk the walk and talk the talk.
  • Benignly confront staff when they have difficulty using what you have taught them. This can be done in different ways. For example, mirroring with them what they do when they interact with your population can shed some light on how they behave. This has to be done very carefully, however. If I saw a coworker intentionally hurt a student during a physical restraint, I would never duplicate that with a coworker who did that. However, if you see a staff member struggle with limit setting, you can then duplicate that with that particular staff member so that they can look in the mirror and see how to improve their approach.
  • Have a heart-to-heart talk with them. This can work with just about any coworker that you know well or not. The idea is to be as nonjudgmental as possible and display empathy for their struggles. A story or two of how when you've made mistakes it resulted in unfavorable situations can ease the message and demonstrate to them that everyone makes mistakes.
  • Finally, show some excitement when you train! This is the Integrated Experience in action! Enthusiastically greet your participants at the door and thank them for coming. Share your desire to help everyone stay safe during crisis moments. Communicate how improvements can be acquired not only over a period of time, but immediately as soon as participants leave your training. Encourage participants to use learned skills as soon as they walk out the door. Recognize and acknowledge the sacrifices they are making to be at your training. And simply accept differences of opinion and motivate them to apply the program because you know that it works. Be realistic. Strategies don't work every time and with everyone. But the program is productive most of the time, with most individuals, under most circumstances.

I hope this post will help you attain a better training environment and improved acceptance of the program. Please comment in the section below with your own ideas. Thanks!


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