Imagine every relationship was like a bank account and at the end of the day's business you could see whether you were in credit or overdrawn with the people closest to you.
Relationship counsellors and psychologists often use this image to help people recognise whether they are mainly taking from the people around them or whether they are offering something in return.
The principle says that with every interaction in your life you are either making a deposit with another person or you are making a withdrawal.
Mocking or undermining your friends, even in the name of banter or humour will usually be felt as a withdrawal and will only be tolerated if you have made a few large deposits in other areas of the relationship.
Sometimes you will hear someone who does not understand this principle complaining, 'How come he gets away with saying that and I do not?'
Answer: 'He' has probably earned the right to make comments or take liberties.
In principle negative comments and negative actions will be perceived as withdrawals and positive words or actions will be seen as deposits in the relationship bank.
How does this relate to training?
On the most fundamental level it is fairly obvious: if your words or actions are such that your students feel undermined or discouraged, you will be making debits on their account and therefore your influence as a trainer or coach will be limited.
However, it is important to understand that sometimes as a trainer we will need to say things that can be perceived as negative or hurtful. In order to help a student improve we may find that we need to speak plainly about their work, effort or attitude.
If we have built up a large positive balance in the relationship account, we will hopefully have enough credit to be able to cope with a large withdrawal without the student wanting to 'close the account'
Sometimes circumstances may conspire to make debits to the account that are beyond our control.
For instance; the training room may be too hot or cold; the dinner may be poor; a computer or projector may not work properly.
If the trainer has been building credit with the students through their professional behaviour, their competence, their willingness to help and support, by coming through on any promises made, the students are likely to overlook or forgive any small glitches, because the relationship account with the trainer has been built up.
However, if the trainer lacks competence, arrives late, is disrespectful or indifferent to their subject or their students, then any unforeseen problems, even if nothing to do with the trainer himself will be interpreted as yet another contributing withdrawal from the account with that trainer.
So the point is simple: as a trainer or coach make sure you are making good solid deposits with your students from the outset (that can mean anything from professional demeanor, being open and approachable, being respectful, knowing your subject and being well prepared), because you never know when you may have to make a withdrawal!
Copyright (c) 2013 Vince Stevenson
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