“The brave may not live forever – but the cautious do not live at all”

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Nr 101. Training on catamaran in Mallorca

When we left Ibiza to sail to Mallorca end of February, I was mainly looking forward to 1 thing: the 4-day Train-the-Trainer from 6 to 9 March on the catamaran in Palma da Mallorca! This has been a dream of mine since 2017, when we started talking about making a world trip by catamaran. It would be so great to welcome Trainers from the Netherlands on the boat in a beautiful surrounding abroad to do a training with them. To be fully focused on yourself as a trainer and your development, away from the daily to do’s at home. And my dream came true in March 2023!

Since October 2022, I have offered the 4-day Train-the-Trainer in Palma da Mallorca for March 2023 in the Expert Trainers Academy. There would room for a maximum of 8 people and we were with 7 Dutch people onboard when March 2023 arrived. I am very thankful for the trust of these trainers to fly to Mallorca and work together with me and other participants abroad! It’s a unique concept, having a training course ‘on water’, unknown territory for most of our participants!

For us, we have done trainings on the catamaran in the Netherlands from August 2019 to May 2021. During that time we have received 24 groups aboard to have a training or teambuilding. So Gilles and I had a good understanding of what it was like to work with a group onboard (preparing the catamaran, lunch and healthy snacks during the days, doing exercises in subgroups onboard). Receiving people abroad, who will work together for 4 days in a row and stay in a hotel in between, was new to us as well!

It turned out so great, even better than I could hope! Nice sunny weather, enthusiastic group of people and even dolphins swimming by twice during the training in the bay of Mallorca! You wouldn’t see that in a conference room in the Netherlands :).

This is the after movie of how the 4 days Train-the-Trainer looked like:

I am very thankful for the positive reviews the trainers! Now 1 week later they are still bubbling with ideas for their profession as a trainer in our WhatsApp group. They mention that they look with a new view at how they have trained and are starting to implement already new teaching forms. They were surprised how much they remember of the trainingmodels and group exercises we have practiced on the boat during the 4 days!  We even joked about it: I have to put a disclaimer for participants of the next 4-day Train-the-Trainer group abroad: ‘Pay attention, you will remember a lot more than you think!’

Looking behind the scenes of the training in Mallorca

How did we organize these 4-day training? What did we prepare before and in between the days? What kind of topics and exercises did we address? Let me give you a look behind the scenes!

One month before the training started, the participants received an e-mail with all the practical information they needed to know prior to the training. For example the meeting point for the first day, tips about clothing, food, the program, other participants, etc. They received the books and e-books and the assignments they had to prepare upfront. One assignment was to fill in a quickscan to collect your current skills as a trainer and also ask 3 other people to fill in this for you as well.

With each of the participants, I had an personal check-in session online to get to know each other better, understanding their learning goals in their work as a trainer, ask for specifics for instance about a diet, etc. During this online ‘onboarding’, the anticipation was noticeable! The participants were trainers in personal skills, communication, Social Media, Marketing, IT and coaching. They worked for example as a trainer in a hospital or other organizations or they were entrepreneurs. The Quickscans were very useful input during our check-in and the 4 days of training.

The program is structured as follows with these topics over the 4 days:

Gilles and I prepared the training location 1 week for the participants before they arrived: cleaning, buying pens and notepads, sticky notes, flip-over, TV-screen, etc. The training hours were from 9.30h to 17.00h and the participants stayed during the evening and night at a hotel, Airbnb or hostel of their choice in Palma da Mallorca nearby the harbor. Participants usually arrived around 9.00h on the catamaran, having had a nice walk in the sunshine to the boat in the harbor of ‘Real Club Nautic de Palma’. We welcomed them with coffee, tea and every day another local cake or fresh fruit.

During the training times, I was the lead trainer and Gilles did all the catering (coffee, lunch, snacks). Outside the training times, the both of us were ‘location managers’: we cleaned up the boat, toilets and handtowels, did grocery shopping for the next day and in the morning get fresh breadrolls.

‘Practice what you teach’

I have been in training for 25 years now, so I know in a Train-the-Trainer session, you have to be a good example being the lead trainer! The training is about delivering a good training, so I am very much aware of my role and role model as a Trainer. My exercises should be creative, innovative, fresh and to-the-point. We did a lot of exercises on the boat, in small groups or as a group as a whole. And of course we talked about why I choose the different teaching forms as a Trainer.

The great thing about having a training on an outdoor location, is that you can use that environment in your training. We did a few exercises on the jetty (a quiz, competition, reflection assignment). Or during the training, the participants grabbed a cappuccino and set on the fore deck to fill in the questions of a case study.

During 1 of the exercises, a group of participants saw dolphins swimming by in the bay of Palma de Mallorca! Twice even.

During lunchbreaks, participants could walk in the harbor, sitting onboard in the sun or chatting with family on the phone. Also during exercises, we made sure there was enough fruits or vegetables to eat.

One of the participants asked if she could make a picture with me, because she had told her 8-year old daughter she had to go away for 4 days ‘to a school abroad’, so the girl wanted to see the teacher and the boat in a picture 😉.

At the end of trainingday 3, we used the training location as a sailing catamaran. We had short sailtrip in the bay. We anchored and had a BBQ with the group. Which was a lovely moment, everybody chilling on the boat surrounded by the turquoise water of the Mediterranean Sea.

The afternoon of day 4 was the Moment of Truth: every participant had to give a mini-training in which they demonstrated a part of a new training design that they had made during the 4 days. They had to show us what they had learned and experiment with new teaching forms.

After each mini-training, we filled in an evaluation form for that trainer about the quality of his/her training and gave every trainer feedback. This was of course an exciting moment for the participants! It turned out to be informative for all trainers: to see each others end results and progress!

So it was with great pride and conviction, that I could give the trainers their Certificate and the open Badge of this 4-day Train-the-Trainer program.

With an informal drink and music, we talked about the training and how special these 4 days were to all of us. Unforgettable!

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