20 May, Monday
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The library of essays of Proakatemia

One training session, many winners

Kirjoittanut: Kamil Wójcik - tiimistä FLIP Solutions.

Esseen tyyppi: Yksilöessee / 2 esseepistettä.
Esseen arvioitu lukuaika on 6 minuuttia.
As I’m writing this essay, I’m on the plane to Geneva for my final project at Proakatemia. For me, time before graduation is filled with uncertainty, excitement, and a little stress. My studies are almost finished and I’m not quite sure what to do next. At least I wanted to give back to the community my extra time, support new international teams and share a bit of my journey with them – it has not been always easy to be in the first English programme at Proakatemia. Thanks to our team’s mutual understanding and coach, Taru Nurmala, who always supported us, we managed to blaze the trail. A lot of work is still to be done, but this short reflection was just a reminder to myself why I want to support younger teams. I warmly recommend this to all graduating teams to make the journey a little smoother for the penguins.
Here I would like to show an example of how one training session can be used in different situations. This benefits others as well as me, in the search for my new path after Proakatemia.
At this moment I have facilitated multiple times 3h training session about the dialogue and nonviolent communication. The audience of the sessions has been diverse, from my team at Proakatemia during the third year of our studies, first-year international students, an unemployment office project group and a private company. Even though the content of the training session was almost the same, the goals were different. Depending on the group dynamic, situation, and team goals sessions took slightly different forms.
The content of the session itself is simple:
– What is dialogue and how can we place it among other forms of conversation?
– Pathway towards the reflective and generative dialogue which is desired in teamwork vs the decisions that lead to controlled discussion.
– Structure of the Nonviolent communication.
– Exercise.

A few selected slides from the training session:

Training sessions for first-year students at Proakatemia aimed to introduce a much-repeated concept of dialogue. The group consisted of around 40 students who knew each other for about a month. It’s fair to say that the idea behind the dialogue is not understood and part of the reason could be simply too little practice at this stage of the Proakatemia journey. The additional goal of the session in this case was to get familiar with the NVC method, and how and why to use it. Before wrapping up the session with a reflection small exercise takes place where everyone gets a chance to put NVC into practice and gives peer feedback.
There has been a lot of question regarding the dialogue itself and the realization that it doesn’t simply mean conversation. In dialogue, we communicate to create new ideas and build on our strengths. There’s a deeper meaning and reason to use it. It was not an easy task to give each other feedback after such a short time in the team, but it sparked the opportunity to simply get to know each other a little more and speak to people who they didn’t say more than “hi” before.
When the session was run for an unemployment office project group, the goal was to create a sense of unity and mutual understanding and show gratitude towards each other in this very specific life situation. Approximately 8 people. (For privacy reasons more information about this project will not be provided). At this point team knew each other quite well and team members had enough trust to give genuine constructive feedback. Tears and emotional conversations were very much part of this session resulting in an even deeper connection between people.
In the case of a private company, the session was part of the team building and new strategy development day that aimed at trust and unity building in the company. In some cases, people met face to face for the first time and the previous interaction was an email exchange at best. This session was attended by 12 people and their goal of participation in the day itself was to meet other employees from the company. The session started with a reflection on how we communicate in comparison to the dialogue concept presented on the slides. It woke up some serious thoughts and much of our time went to talking about our means of communication. Due to the fact that participants didn’t necessarily know each other it was not possible to give personal feedback, but the NVC tool was utilized to express our emotions and needs regarding the company, position, or colleagues in our day-to-day activities. The point was not to express bad feelings but to truly look into the mirror and understand the underlying causes of our assumptions, and behaviours and think about the opportunities for positive change.
To run the same training session a few times was rather easy and even when I got paid to do it, I had to do minimum preparations since the session was prepared decent since the start. Most valuable personally were training sessions I did in the Proakatemia community out of the desire to help younger teams.
I often hear that people are too busy to do anything for Proakatemia’s community during the last months because they are writing theirses, and essays, planning final camp or seeking work opportunities. It’s true, that can be a busy time, but giving back is a two-way deal, a little bit like a dialogue and it benefits the facilitator as well. How facilitating and sharing the knowledge have served me and my interests?
Training sessions are a space to share thoughts, experiences, and emotions, as a facilitator I can do that as well. In fact, it helps to build trust with the group and what’s better to have someone hear you out? Again it works both ways, as a new student, teampreneur to be, a person has little idea what they signed up for. Everything is kind of new and a little strange, similar to how it might feel to leave Proakatemia after 3,5 years. Once again, everything is kind of new and a little strange.
Hearing each other’s experiences helps. I could cope better with my worries. Additionally, when people feel that they really learned something new, are inspired and are filled with new ideas, they also tend to be generous in feedback. In the case of this training session, I’m happy to share that the feedback has been very positive, and it had a good impact on my performance and feelings about the future. Who doesn’t like to receive positive constructive feedback?
I would warmly recommend hosting the same training session more than once and considering what positive impact we can have on the community. I would take it further and suggest that the Final Camp, Thesis could be done in the spring of the third year and the very last semester students could use time like team Flip did, giving back to the community, organizing training sessions, helping with different events like Sprint or Global Business Challenge, assist during first classes and share their experience, the good and the bad. The next generation is here to make the trail a little bit better.

PS. Thank you WordPress for not keeping spaces between paragraphs. </3

Dynamic and entrepreneurial developer of new ideas. Focus on coaching and sustainable development.

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