When we launched in the Middle East, we recognised the importance of establishing networks in the GCC region. This includes short courses and workshops as well as facilitation, coaching and mentoring. One of the greatest areas of impact has been our delivery of GCC training.
Our first GCC Learning & Development experience was when we delivered open training days in Dubai in 2011. These training events were in soft skills to public and private sector organisations, specialising in attitude and mindset. If we are honest, we were no different to any other training company in the region and this drove us to develop something new. We wanted to be recognised for making a difference.
We knew that, for real impact to be made, we needed to refine our learning & development model. The merger between Spark Global Business in the UK and Spark Najah in Lebanon was the perfect opportunity for us to review our working practices and to build new solutions for a growing client base.
We prepared for the launch of Eskil Middle East Learning & Development in 2016 by speaking with clients, associates and partners as well as carrying out competitive analysis.
What was missing from GCC Learning & Development?
When we took a look at the market, it felt as is there were areas for improvement with training in GCC.
First is training itself. Many participants and suppliers considered a workshop to be the end-result – that the workshop itself was the ultimate goal. In 2014, we surveyed 3,600 people who had attended different workshops and short courses around the world, and 36% of the people who replied said that they had attended workshops as they had been told to go by bosses but the workshop had no relevance to their job.
In fact, of this 36%, more than half of them felt that training was a punishment rather than an investment.
Within the survey, over 60% of the people responding were either in the boardroom (CEO, Director) or Senior Management.
Of these c. 2,000 people, 73% of them wanted to attend courses where only other board-level people were attending too.
In addition to this, 48% of the boardroom respondents admitted that they would agree to attend a workshop and then, at the last minute, send a subordinate (in most cases, the subordinate found very little value in the course as it was not entirely relevant to their position).
In 2016, we ran a similar survey but, this time, we had one dedicated to the GCC region. Through our LinkedIn networks, as well as social media streams of Twitter, Facebook and Google, we issued a survey to 3,958 business professionals.
2016 Survey Statistics
- 44% of the respondents were in the boardroom
- 23% of the respondents classed themselves as ‘senior management’
- 83% of the respondents had worked mainly in the private sector in 2015 / 16
- 79% of the respondents who had attended workshops or courses in 2015 / 16 rated the experience from ‘very poor’ to ‘fair’ with the majority (61%) of them stating that they used very little of the knowledge from the sessions
- When asked the question, “do you feel that this is the right time to introduce a different type of learning & development experience to GCC?”, over 90% of respondents stated either ‘yes’ or ‘absolutely’ whilst 10% stated ‘not sure’ (no respondent stated ‘no’ or ‘definitely not’)
- Specific to people in the boardroom or senior management, we asked, “would you be more likely to attend short courses where only board members or senior managers attended?”. 92% said yes.
So what can you expect from us, that you wouldn’t get from other organisations?
Our GCC Learning & Development programmes include:
- Local & International Facilitators
- Bi-lingual delivery (Arabic, English, French, German, Spanish)
- Serious Play, Serious Games, Business Games
- Scalable Learning from 1:1 through to Academies
- Building training that suits the capability of your people and the strategy of your organisation
- Use of psychology, communications, and behavioural learning modules
Your GCC Learning & Development
The six principles of an Eskil workshop
Eskil Middle East Learning & Development bases all of its workshops around a set of guiding principles as set out by the International Association of Facilitators.
- Create Collaborative Client Relationships
- Plan Appropriate Group Processes
- Create and Sustain a Participatory Environment
- Guide Group to Appropriate and Useful Outcomes
- Build and Maintain Professional Knowledge
- Model Positive Professional Attitude
- Clarify mutual commitment
- Develop consensus on tasks, deliverables, roles & responsibilities
- Demonstrate collaborative values and processes such as in co-facilitation
- Analyse organisational environment
- Diagnose client need
- Create appropriate designs to achieve intended outcomes
- Predefine a quality product & outcomes with client
- Contract with client for scope and deliverables
- Develop event plan
- Deliver event successfully
- Assess or evaluate client satisfaction at all stages of the event or project
- Foster open participation with respect for client culture, norms and participant diversity
- Engage the participation of those with varied learning or thinking styles
- Achieve a high quality product or outcome that meets the client needs
- Arrange physical space to support the purpose of the meeting
- Plan effective use of time
- Provide effective atmosphere and drama for sessions
- Apply a variety of participatory processes
- Demonstrate effective verbal communication skills
- Develop rapport with participants
- Practice active listening
- Demonstrate ability to observe and provide feedback to participants
- Encourage positive regard for the experience and perception of all participants
- Create a climate of safety and trust
- Create opportunities for participants to benefit from the diversity of the group
- Cultivate cultural awareness and sensitivity
- Help individuals identify and review underlying assumptions
- Recognise conflict and its role within group learning / maturity
- Provide a safe environment for conflict to surface
- Manage disruptive group behaviour
- Support the group through resolution of conflict
- Draw out participants of all learning/thinking styles
- Encourage creative thinking
- Accept all ideas
- Use approaches that best fit needs and abilities of the group
- Stimulate and tap group energy
- Establish clear context for the session
- Actively listen, question and summarise to elicit the sense of the group
- Recognise tangents and redirect to the task
- Manage small and large group process
- Vary the pace of activities according to needs of group
- Identify information the group needs, and draw out data and insight from the group
- Help the group synthesise patterns, trends, root causes, frameworks for action
- Assist the group in reflection on its experience
- Use a variety of approaches to achieve group consensus
- Use a variety of approaches to meet group objectives
- Adapt processes to changing situations and needs of the group
- Assess and communicate group progress
- Foster task completion
- Be knowledgeable in management, organisational systems and development, group development, psychology, and conflict resolution
- Understand dynamics of change
- Understand learning/ thinking theory
- Understand problem solving and decision-making models
- Understand a variety of group methods and techniques
- Know consequences of misuse of group methods
- Distinguish process from task and content
- Learn new processes, methods, & models in support of client’s changing/emerging needs
- Engage in ongoing study / learning related to our field
- Continuously gain awareness of new information in our profession
- Practice reflection and learning
- Build personal industry knowledge and networks
- Maintain certification
- Reflect on behaviour and results
- Maintain congruence between actions and personal and professional values
- Modify personal behaviour / style to reflect the needs of the group
- Cultivate understanding of one’s own values and their potential impact on work with clients
- Demonstrate a belief in the group and its possibilities
- Approach situations with authenticity and a positive attitude
- Describe situations as facilitator sees them and inquire into different views
- Model professional boundaries and ethics (as described in the IAF’s Statement of Values and Code of Ethics)
- Honour the wisdom of the group
- Encourage trust in the capacity and experience of others
- Vigilant to minimise influence on group outcomes
- Maintain an objective, non-defensive, non-judgmental stance
Facilitators within Eskil’s network are former CEOs / Directors for $50m+ organizations or leadership experts. The majority of the facilitators are multi-lingual and have a background in applied business psychology.