Epic Fail at My First Staff Training

Hi. So, an old client of mine has a café. He’s fascinated about the model and the way I teach, he’s tried all my programs and also one-on-one coaching with me, so I guess he had great trust in me when he hired me to train his staff not being so reactive and so much in victim mentality with their customers.

I’ve never done anything like this before – talking live, to a cold audience, but I was fascinated and confident to do it.  We agreed in a full day training.

I knew these people have never heard of me or the model, and I was also aware that I need to build up a rapport, and pretty much “sell them” on the model. My strategy was to show them how much better their mood, work environment, and well, whole life could be if only they stopped thinking that circumstances create their feelings. Asked for examples of typical situations that trigger them, to put them all in the model and demonstrate to them, how much energy their automatic thoughts cost them.  I sent him my plan, and he loved it. We both looked forward to the event.

I arrived in time, prepared, professional.

My audience (8 men and 2 women in their early twenties) seemed present and attentive.  Two of the guys were very active, talkative, actually quite argumentative. I thought I responded well to their arguments, didn’t take anything personally, but yes, I was sticking with my plan teaching them about the model and doing my best to sell them these super new concepts in an empathetic way.

In the second block (3 hours long) I started to feel like I’m losing. Not sure exactly why, but I started to feel exhausted, and a bit falling apart, but did my best at focusing and delivering the remaining of my plan.

When it was over, we smiled, took photos, and as I was packing into the car to leave, the owner came to ask me if he could call me later. I said sure, but instead he started to tell me, that he just talked to one of the participants (one of the argumentative ones), and the guy was not impressed to say the least. He said the model is bullsh*t, and anyone can come up with something like that. I’m pretty sure he said some not so nice things about me too.  I wasn’t offended, or anything. I just felt failure. Like, I knew I wanted to sell them on the model, and they didn’t buy it. I thought it was on me.

I had many thoughts about what I did wrong, how else I could have done it, how I would do it in the future.  I had thoughts about how I must have disappointed the owner of the café, my long-term client, for not being able to deliver the result he hoped for.

Later I asked them to fill up a feedback form for me. Only two of them completed – the two guys who argued a lot – and they both gave me extremely negative feedback. (Like, my thought is that it’s actually “mean”). Only one of them wrote any comments, other than just rating 1-10, and he wrote that I was pushing my agenda of my own “method”, not leaving space for anything else, and referred to much to other speakers’ work, but not enough to academic studies, which he didn’t like.

As I was reading, I was thinking… well, yeah, I was teaching the method I studied and I am certified to teach, like, what else am I supposed to teach?

Again, I do not take this feedback personally.
I have around 300 customers in my two ongoing programs, I receive amazing feedback every day from people who feel like I changed their lives with the help of the model – so I for sure don’t doubt the model or my abilities to deliver it.

My thoughts are more like, I’m trying to find the thoughts that help me move on with some useful lessons from here.

Some of my thoughts:
1. The audience was too cold, and I knew nothing about them.
2. Maybe I should always research my audience before I’m trying to teach them about the model.
3. Maybe I should never think that teaching is a good idea, when the audience did not choose to learn from me on purpose.
4. Maybe the model isn’t for everyone (random audience), and I was wrong to believe that I can just teach it in a few hours in a usable way
5. Maybe I sucked as a speaker/teacher/trainer (which is OK, considering it was my first attempt)
6. My client had a strong agenda that these kids should quit being so easily offended and reactive, and I had an agenda, to please him and deliver him that. So, this “double” agenda might have come across as pushy/desperate/creepy from me, which affected delivering the message
7. Training wasn’t effective, because the trainees were not there by choice, and it was free for them. They might have even had a negative mindset about it because it was on their day off.
8. I should have shown them more examples instead of teaching them. I should have had them try and role play their client’s models. That would have been more effective.
9 I should never agree to this again. It’s almost like being hired to train someone’s husband or mother-in-law out of victim mentality.
10. Is it correct to charge my client the full fee, even though I haven’t delivered the expected result?

I know I wrote a lot. It’s been almost a week, and my brain is still all over the place about it, because there’s just too many thoughts.
Thank you in advance if you help me have some clarity and also, I’d be super grateful for some tips for supportive thoughts I could think to help me move on.