The Tap Dancing Trainer

Published on March 4, 2017


Last week’s diary contained a nice balance of work and fun.  Dawn and I delivered a leadership course, I met clients for coaching sessions and I burst with pride as I sat in the audience watching friends perform in local musical productions.  And, as I was driving round the countryside, I had a bit of a reminisce about the years that I spent choreographing shows and reflected on the time that went into getting the cast feet perfect and compared that to life now of planning and prepping work for course delivery for MidasWorks and it clicked that these two activities are actually not as different as they might seem at first.   Let me explain ….

Planning – When planning a show, you read up about a certain style of choreography  that is required to ensure that what you produce is in the style that had originally been planned eg Busby Berkeley for Crazy for You or Bob Fosse for Chicago.  When developing a training session, there is a range of background research that goes on to ensure that what you produce on the training plan will meet the needs of the target audience.  Being a member of a professional organisation eg ilm (Institute of Leadership and Management) keeps you updated with new thinkings, trends & publications and being member of groups on linkedin, twitter & facebook also give a huge level of support and meaningful discussion on topics around training and delivery.   So, whether you are choreographing a show or training in managing change, you make sure that planning is carried out as the planning is the foundation to ensuring success.  At one of the sessions last week, one of the delegates reminded me of the 6Ps.  When asked by another what that stood for, we had a bit of a laugh and quietly shared  “Proper Planning Prevents P*** Poor Performance!” 

Delivery – So, you are sufficiently planned and prepped and you go into delivery mode.  Basic must do’s ……. You need to do any pre-delivery checking eg do you need internet?  Do you need speakers?   It won’t give a good impression if you turn up and your training room is locked and no one has a key!  You need to be on time, you need to be organised and have everything that is on your teaching/ training plan and  you need to be mentally engaged for the activity you are about to undertake.  Teaching a dance has to be done in stages.  Teach a section, check understanding, add on a bit, add that to the last section and so it builds up until the cast feel confident that they can do it on their own.  Much the same happens in a training session.  You engage with the delegates through a range of activities, you check understanding and you continue to build knowledge, learning and understanding. 

Evaluation – Rehearsal after rehearsal is evaluated.  Does that move work?  Is that movement natural to cast?  How does the dance look from audience point of view?  And this continues right to the end of the run of the show.  Exactly the same thing happens after a training session.  Yes, there is the formal evaluation that is completed by delegates (which from a show point of view would be the audience reaction on leaving the theatre) but, as well as that, Dawn and I continue to question, revisit, take notes of ways of improving future sessions and we think it is this attention to detail that will ensure MidasWorks goes from strength to strength.

So, whether you are about to embark in a career as choreographer for your local production of Oklahoma or delivering a coaching or training session then the processes of planning, delivery and evaluation are very similar.  

Many thanks for reading.    Well - what else was I going to do on a rainy Saturday than write a new blog post!           

Mina  4 March 2017


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