Monkey See NOT do

Have you ever ‘trained’ someone where part way through the conversation you take hold of the mouse, the keyboard and start driving? ‘You just go to this menu, click this, say ok, double click that box, and Bob’s your uncle!’ Then the person you’re training looks at you with that ‘I half got that’ face.

Today I got a very real example of why sometimes the best training, is leave the person to make their own mistakes and in turn, find their way.

This example comes not from my usual data monkey database repertoire but rather from my partner.

This morning the two of us eagerly set off to pick up a new wheelchair. My partner’s old chair is a bit like Barry – the bloody useless database. When you first met Barry he was quite good. He helped for a while. You never really LIKED Barry but he was ok for a while. Then, over the years, Barry became antiquated. He no longer met your needs. It was time to take a peek around the marketplace and find something better.

And so it is that you wait with anticipation for the day that Barry’s replacement arrives. There’s excitement tinged with nerves.  In the moment your new equipment arrives there’s a celebratory feel. It’s shiny, new and customized to your needs.

A few hours go by and you’re confronted with the reality you have to learn how to use your new piece of equipment. Had it been a computer, I would have been reaching over my partner to grab the mouse and drive. By instinct, when putting the chair in the car and seeing my partner struggle to maneoveure it, I stepped forward to ‘help’.

My assistance was refused and rightly so. He had to learn to ‘drive’ this lime green triffod on his own. So I stood and watched as he figured it out. I watched as he dropped his new chair and gave it the first scratch. I watched as he tried every which way to get the ‘beast’ in the car. While this was awful, it made the moment when he found a way to make it work all the better.  He was triumphant!

I hope that if I start to struggle with my new database next week that I can have even a smidge of the grace and determination I witnessed today. I also hope, that should my colleagues struggle, I will refrain from ‘fixing’ the problem, sit back and watch while they find their own way and delight, when they too, are triumphant.





Posted on August 23, 2011, in Data, Disability. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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