I was actively looking for a professional development leadership course and had been referred to Rural Coach’s Ignite course by others who had experienced it and said it was awesome.
The course I enrolled in was held in Ashburton in October 2021 where the facilitators were Matthew Pickering and Sarah Barr. From the get-go I was really impressed with both Matthew and Sarah, particularly how well they worked together, bouncing off each other, and sharing their own experiences in each session.
They were also fully present for the break-out group work, which meant we could ask questions directly, and cement our learning in real time.
The course was divided into a series of main sessions, interspersed with group work where we mixed with other attendees and brought real pre-worked examples to the table for further discussion in a safe and confidential setting.
I found the main sessions to be of immense value, with the key messages all delivered simply and concisely. The examples given were applicable and relatable, which meant it was easy to see how we could grow in leadership by applying coaching techniques.
Alongside this, I found that it was the group work that added the most value, as it really helped me and the other attendees to consolidate the overall learning experience.
Not only did each group session provide a chance to mix with others, it also gave an immediate opportunity to put into practice what we’d learnt. And because we all came from diverse rural backgrounds, it meant we could put ourselves in the shoes of others, quickly understand the key concerns, flesh things out and work things through. By working on real examples, we could receive or give coaching to each other, and in the process, learn how to achieve outcomes without necessarily reverting to telling someone what to do.
Since the course, I have had follow up sessions with John Redpath, another member of the Rural Coach team. It has been great to have John available, particularly as I was tasked with upskilling two new staff members who had recently joined our team and so I’ve been using the skills I acquired from the Ignite training. I am also really grateful for the handouts and the step by step diagrams we were given at the end of the course. I have them here alongside my computer screen, and so I can reference them when a coaching or personal leadership need arises.
All in all, I found Ignite to be profound. Because of the pre-work and the group sessions, it was practical, real and relatable. On that basis, I would highly recommend it to others.