Discoveries, Learnings, Aha”s for Certificate programme: Intercultural Business Trainer/Moderator (IBT/M) ® 2010/2011

Vita Solutions : Claudia Meichelbeck, Avenue du Globe 43 / Boîte 20, B-1190 Brussels – Belgium

It all started in 2007 when I decided to enroll myself for the IBT/M joining the 1st group of novices doing this programme. The basic seminar proved that it was the right thing to do, however, my personal IBT/M start was a bit bumpy. My husband and I were right in the middle of relocating to Brussels and I felt tired, exhausted and not at all me. Gary as a careful observer addressed this during the 2nd module and suggested to do the programme whenever it fits better into my life. I decided to stop half way through and parked the idea of becoming a trainer for some time. Meanwhile I feel pretty integrated in Brussels and I love this city which is a melting pot of nationalities and various different cultures. And when the new dates for the IBT/M in 2010 were communicated everything felt right.

Mid November the 1st module started and it was all about our “individual training style” and us being “on stage”. The first day was challenging. Sitting in a room, listening, getting tasks, doing group work, presenting results, being video-taped, receiving feedback, getting trainer input and reflecting on the intercultural aspects involved before the next round started. What a contrast to my normal life. It took me a day to adjust to the learning environment, but from the second day onwards I really felt at ease, discovered my style and started to fine-tune it and on the last day I simply enjoyed it. At first glance that was magic, but today I am fully aware of the clear and structured process behind.

Right before Christmas the 2nd module took place and this time the focus was on “training design”. We looked at goals, participant groups and started via a 7 step approach to create our own training concept. We also looked at openers, exercises and activities fitting into the intercultural context and enriched our repertoire step-by-step. I already was aware of the 4-Mat system, but doing the training design according to the suggested template helped me tremendously to internalize it and meanwhile the “4-Mat” became part of my life. I wonder why nobody teaches it at school – it”s so simple, clear and super effective.

The 3rd and 4th module took place in January – 4 days in a row – a long and intensive sequence about “moderation” and “simulations”. The first 2 days concentrated on moderation, the process + cycle, we learnt all about the tools and tried them out: mindmapping, brainstorming, card survey, call out gathering – we tested dot selection and looked at how to deal with tricky and dangerous situations. And during the entire moderation part we always kept a close eye on the intercultural perspective; what will work in cultural mixed groups and what could become difficult. In the past, I intuitively would have been able to moderate a workshop – today I am rather confident and relaxed to smoothly run and moderate whatever type of meeting/workshop. These 2 days were like an eye opener to me as we can apply and use these skills universally in almost all situations in life; from business to private life, within families, schools, kindergarden – in mediatation, coaching, mentoring just to name a few more.
The following two days on “simulations” allowed us to test three popular ones – Barnga/Ecotonos and Rolex. We had again lots of opportunities to practice, practice and practice. Using the 4-Mat to frame the simulation or activity – followed by running it plus a proper debrief/incl. learnings at the end. We experimented with various activities, looked into exercise design and continued carrying them out. We quickly discovered the fun parts and enjoyed as well the idea of designing our own “simulations”. Not to forget the intercultural point of view. A tough 4-days agenda, long days, a lot of group work, trial and error and this way I learnt so much about how to effectively use moderation skills and on top of that – had fun. Great stuff!

And the last module in February concentrated on our “exam”. The task was to demonstrate our moderation skills as well as to present our individual training concept in the intercultural context. Gary and Susanne nicely created an exam frame which put us all at ease from the very beginning. I never ever had such an experience before. These last 2 days of the IBT/M programme were the most touching and moving ones for me and it was difficult to say “au revoir” to everybody later in the afternoon.

At this point I want to thank all three expert trainers – Brigitte, Susanne and Gary – for a wonderful, beneficial as well as challenging IBT/M training programme and I really enjoyed every minute of it! What makes this programme so unique? One aspect is the behavioural training approach plus an excellent combination of mixing scientific background, intercultural content, comprehensive trainer expertise and own cultural affiliation with a lot of passion, commitment, caring and a good sense of humor which creates an extraordinary learning environment. The trainers are truly authentic and identify themselves with their IBT/M programme. They love what they are doing and one can feel it. This way all three personally inspired, touched and moved me.

Thanks also to our extraordinary group which made this training a lively, fun (especially with “baby shark” and yoga), productive as well as an emotionally intensive one. We all had our ups and downs, however there was always a supporting hand around.

What”s in for me as a coach? I already was culturally aware, but over the last 4 month I gained a very deep and profound intercultural understanding putting me at ease in my interactions with people whatever culture they are from. Personally, I grew as a trainer and I am attentive to my style. I experienced the biggest AHA in the design of my own training concept regardless of which topic and I know that I am capable to enrich the content with lively learning activities. That way learning becomes easy, fun and sustainable. And last but not least – I do have my rounded product – an intercultural awareness training day – in my hands which is ready to be sold.

Details of the IBT/M programme can be found at
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions:

assist GmbH
Abteilung Pressemitteilungen
33100 Paderborn

assist GmbH
Gary Thomas
Technologiepark 12
33100 Paderborn
05251 875432

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