ABC of Training – A for Adaptations

A – Adaptations

Many years ago, Keith worked as an Associate for a global consultancy.  The trainers didn’t produce their own materials but were required to deliver the course using the pre-prepared course notes written by the consultancy. In the middle of the first day for a well known Travel company, the trainers realised the content included the name of a national media organisation, who had recently also had the same training. 

The Consultancy sold their services as being “totally unique and everything written from scratch” so whilst the Travel company had been told by the Training provider that the course was designed specifically for them and had been charged for the privilege, the fact was the consultancy had just swapped the names in the content – except for the pages they’d missed!

It is true that the majority of training courses use a basic framework of content for individual subjects – management theories, communication skills, PowerPoint layout is universal.

But your business has its own complexities and whilst the generic content will be included, it is important that your training provider isn’t lazy and just rebrands the name of the course for your day!

You should expect to have detailed discussions about the issues and problems your people are facing and the provider should then adapt the content to include these identified specific topics.  

The trainer doesn’t have to be an expert in your field – indeed sometimes it is more helpful that they aren’t – they then ask questions of the delegates to understand in more detail the issues they face in your industry, but by you having an in-depth conversation with the trainer beforehand means you can highlight any difficulties or particular areas you need covered during the day.

A great trainer and provider will flex the content to your needs, and research in detail what materials and models will help the delegates to fully engage and enjoy the day.

ABC of Training

Later today we start our new weekly series on the ABC of Training.

We’ll be looking each week at a different topic around the training room and learning.

Our #wednesdaywordsofwisdom kicks off this week with A for Adaptations.

We’ll look at the importance of getting your provider to be flexible in their approach to content & how they work with you. Keep an eye out later today.

Face to Face is back!

Fantastic to be back in the training room and actually able to see the whites of the delegates’ eyes 🙂

All done in a Covid safe environment so everyone feels secure.

We cannot thank clients and Associates/Coaches enough for their flexibility and adaptability over the last year and a range of blended courses (some online and some in house) will no doubt become the norm.

A busy week ahead again next week which is brilliant with a mix of Zoom, MS Teams and on site training – so hope everyone has the weekend to recharge the batteries and get those arms ready for hugging!

Demonstrating leadership

The Parks Department of Canada sent this email to their staff at the start of the pandemic in 2020 – we would all like to think that we said the same to our people ….maybe some did, but there will be a large proportion who didn’t.

However as we start to see a relaxation of some restrictions, we can revisit this and ensure that we put our people first.

  • you are not working from home, you are at your home during a crisis trying to work
  • your personal physical, mental and emotional health is far more important than anything else right now
  • you should not try to compensate for lost productivity by working longer hours 
  • you will be kind to yourself and not judge how you are coping based on how others are coping 
  • you will be kind to others and not judge how they are coping based on how you are coping
  • your team’s success will not be measured in the same way it was when things were normal

Reminiscing about Athelbrae

We were contacted via our website this week by Trevor Booth who is writing an article on the shipyard in Cheshire where the Athelbrae was the largest vessel ever built there. He wanted to know if he could use the bronze ship’s nameplate in the article that many of you will have seen on our course notes.

We had promised to look out some further information for him from the handwritten notes of the sea trials, conducted in 1956 by Kate’s father, John Nicholson, before he took the “Brae” over the Atlantic to her new home in the West Indies.

We are very grateful to Trevor for sharing some pictures of the Athelbrae under construction which you can now view via our FAQ page of the website. FAQ’s (

It has also been an opportunity to reminisce going through all the documents we have on file including the passbooks from his career at sea (apparently he was considered conscientious and sober!) together detailed information on his time in a lifeboat, aged 19, in 1942 after being torpedoed in the North Atlantic whilst serving as an apprentice on the Athel Knight.

The last time Capt John Nicholson wore his uniform in July 1988

World Book Day 2021

This year for World Book Day we asked our Trainers to send us their “good read” recommendations, whether this be business focused, wellbeing, coaching, sales or inspirational.


Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes by William Bridges

“A thought provoking and helpful book when navigating any change in life that helps guide the reader through coping with the inevitable changes in life – whether welcomed or not.”


Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Map by Alan and Barbara Pease

“My reasons are that they used brain scans to show how men and women’s brains are wired differently and how they react to the same situation. Explains a lot and is fascinating, and I use this in training that it’s good to have differences. And it’s very funny when read with your partner…”


The GO- GIVER by Bob Burg and John David Mann

“Not a fan of massive books with small type so this is a quick and easy read, told in the style of a story about a guy called Joe chasing business success. In many ways, it’s like a parable about what true success really is and how to achieve it. I read this in one day on holiday and loved it!”

BLINK by Malcom Gladwell

“From the very first story about ‘the statue that didn’t look right’, this book ‘had’ me. I literally couldn’t put it down! For someone who is a self-confessed perfectionist and hideously risk-averse, this was a really inspiring and challenging read about what would happen if we started to truly trust our gut instincts. Awesome … and I’m still working on it!”


Emma and I by Sheila Hocken 

“An autobiography that details her growing up as a blind child, her relationship with her chocolate Labrador guide dog, Emma, and then regaining her sight as a young woman through surgery. Hocken and Emma go through many different obstacles together, both sad and happy.  An inspirational read about resilience, acceptance, loyalty and overcoming adversity.” 


Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy

“I found this book inspiring on so many levels. One thing we often see/hear is how people end up where they are. We often don’t know that we make things happen, even if we think we don’t. Our subconscious is extremely powerful because it is the driver of our behaviour (our habits) which mean we get certain results. Unfortunately, many of our habits have been formed (through certain experiences) when we were young, like during our teenage years. And too many adults keep those habits even when they aren’t serving us. However, we do have the power of choice and can change those habits in adult life if we choose to. This book highlights, in a nice way, how we can take control of that process.  I believe this is one of those books that will stand the test of time and will be talked about as a classic, if it already isn’t.”


The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

“Really good for understanding how much happiness benefits especially in the work place.”

Character Strengths Matter: How to live a full life by Polly and Britton

“Brilliant for a positive approach to developing employees rather than looking for weaknesses which is demoralising.”

Permission to Feel by Marc Brackett

“Normalising emotions, especially childhood development.”

Anything written by Brene Brown

Letting Go by David Hawkins

“wow. Just wow!”


Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr Seuss.

“Read the first 6 or so pages at the beginning of a leadership workshop and it captures people’s imagination, creates a ‘fun’ culture for the workshop and a good foundation to refer to regularly.”

7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

“Should be on everybody’s list”

101 Hints and Tips for Amazing Presentations by Steve Torjussen

“a best seller on Amazon by yours truly!”


The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy

“Not sure what you’d classify it as other than lovely!”

Close to the Wind by Pete Goss

“Relates to resilience”


7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

“Good to dip into and useful strategies such as 5 levels of listening, circle of influence and concern and think win win.  Always make great discussion starters and useful for action planning.”


Youtube – Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are by Amy Cuddy

Sarah A

Sapiens: History of Mankind by Yuval Noah Harari


Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl

“Maybe one for kids but great stuff”


The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

That’s Not My Duck by Fiona Watt & Rachel Wells

Sign & Singalong – Incey Wincey Spider (BSL) by Annie Kubler

Sing & Singalong – Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star (BSL) by Annie Kubler

“While the majority of my reading is currently with my 2 year old, these books represent wellbeing ensuring we have daily one on one time together before he goes to bed”


In the Morning I’ll Be Gone – (plus others in the Detective Duffy series) by Adrian McKinty

“Crime novels set in Northern Ireland during “the troubles”.  All are a good read and give an insightful look into the conflict from an author who has experienced challenges and disappointment at one time causing him to quit writing.”


Time to Think by Nancy Kline

“Her encouragement and guidance of how important it is to listen is key, especially now: ‘the quality of your attention determines the quality of the other people’s thinking.’  It’s powerful stuff”


The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

“A very provoking modern look at a counterintuitive approach to living a good life”

Sun Tza The Art of War for Executives by Donald G Krause

“Takes Sun Tzu’s thinking, planning and strategy’s and reframes them into modern business and life”


The Book of Joy by the Dalai Llama and Desmond Tutu

The Happiness Track by Emma Seppala


How To Be F*cking Awesome by Dan Meredith

“Gives you a right kick up the backside”


Who Moved My Cheese by Dr Spencer Johnson

“Short and thought provoking”


Our Iceberg is Melting by John Kotter

“This is great at dealing with change”

Relentless by Eddie Hearn

“Colourful language but is all about being resilient”

Legal commentary on the importance of up to date training

This article on the HR Director site highlights the legal requirement for employers to ensure that training is up to date and relevant.

Set around a harassment case, it makes clear the responsibility sits with the employer organisation to invest and provide suitable training for staff.

As so often is the case, sending employees on a “course” after the event in order to address an ongoing issue, is a bit like trying to retrieve that horse bolting down the road with the gate swinging behind it!

Many training events and courses around management and personal development build on-going knowledge, but some, like Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Employment Law, Health and Safety, GDPR, Board Governance, need to be revisited at regular intervals to ensure everyone knows the rules and regulations.

Using the defence that training has been given in the past is no defence at all, if the training content has become out of date or been updated.

Can an employer rely on the ‘reasonable steps’ defence to harassment where it provided training to the perpetrator of harassment and other employees? | theHRD (

Being a friend vs Being a Manager

The most common enquiry we have regarding management training is for those who are trying to balance the demands of the role especially when they are friends with their subordinates.

It’s a difficult balancing act and one that was well demonstrated in January by new football Manager, Wayne Rooney.  Having moved from being a player/coach to the role of Manager he was asked about enforcing the “no hugging” rule and setting an example to fans.

His response was that he understood the need for the rule and he was advising his players to adhere to it – BUT he understood how excited they get scoring a goal, so he wouldn’t be penalising them if they broke the rule!

It’s a classic example of a manager wanting to be friends and remain one of the team, whilst still being in a position of authority.

At some point you have to get off the fence and accept that some decisions, taken for the right reasons, are not always popular with the staff and as a Manager you have to weather the storm of moans and groans. 

Others can challenge your authority, pushing the boundaries to see just how far they can get away with ignoring what they are being asked to do.

Having tools and techniques to know how to remain friendly within the confines of your operational role is something we cover in all our Management training programmes.

To discuss how best to support your inexperienced Managers in their development, do contact for more information.

Reflections on the past, inform our future too

Today is the 30th birthday of our eldest, Adam. Not sure how that works when you still think of yourself as 21, but there’s no escaping the fact that we’re getting on in years and the next generation is maturing too!

An abiding memory of our first night home from hospital was listening to the start of the first Gulf War, with the radio on in the early hours, hearing the RAF bombers leaving on Operation Desert Storm to expel Iraqi troops from Kuwait, with naval and aerial bombardment which continued for 5 weeks.

I well remember thinking “what world have we brought this baby in to?” and the worry that he’d have to face challenges that we couldn’t protect him from forever.

Perhaps this is a natural part of becoming a new parent, realising that you’re responsible for another human being (at least until they’re teenagers and know everything anyway), and that there are things beyond your control that may affect their long term health and happiness. Never has this been more noticeable than in the current crisis.

Who would have thought that 30 years on (and with his own little baby just passing her 3 month birthday) that we’d be asking the same questions with pandemics, political unrest and humanity’s hopes being pinned on a vaccine?

The opportunity to take time reflecting on our past can be both a positive and negative experience.

Looking back now, I wish someone had told us not to stress that for a while all he’d eat was Crunchy Nut cornflakes and he’d still grow up healthy, and become a qualified Personal Trainer with an interest in nutrition; or that just because he had a love of art and creative skills in design and technology, that didn’t mean his parents’ expectation for him to be an architect was the path he’d choose, but he’d still use those talents to build his new baby an integrated bedroom storage unit from scratch!

As parents and grandparents, aunts, uncles, godparents and the like, we can become paralysed by our own aspirations for our young charges whilst worrying about all the things we cannot protect them from. In reality, the sooner we accept they’re individuals in their own right, with the ability to make their own decisions, mistakes and successes, the more we can support them.

They will face challenges and change throughout their lives – whether that’s having to be home-schooled during a pandemic, or facing action if they go into the military.

Today’s reflections on that momentous day 30 years ago gives an opportunity to see a true picture of life’s ups and downs – the great times and the testing times and especially in the current climate where we can’t celebrate together as a family, it reminds us that better times will return and there is much to look forward to in the future.

Free Webinar on GDPR changes with Brexit agreement

Now we have some information on the Brexit agreement, there are some new guidelines on protecting both our personal and business data.

We are running 2 free webinar sessions in February. These 60 minute sessions delivered by our Data/GDPR specialist Andy, he’ll outline what you need to do (if anything) and what the changes to our place within Europe means to previous agreements and contracts.

To book your FREE place, contact

9th February

9.00 – 10.00 am

1.00 – 2.00 pm

Free webinar via Zoom