As an Instructor or Trainer, you’re only human! It’s inevitable that there are going to be days when you’re not feeling at your best. Whether it’s because of issues at home, stresses in the workplace, or simply because you ran into traffic on the way in. However, it’s important to ensure that whatever issues are at play, that they don’t impact your ability to deliver effective training.
But leaving issues at the training room door (or the login page of a Zoom remote training call!) can be easier said than done.
What is grounding?
A technique that Instructors can use which may help is ‘grounding’, also known as ‘anchoring’. It is designed to provide (at the least) a temporary way to gain control over your feelings and prevent your mood or external distractions from getting worse, and negatively impacting training.
So if you’re having an ‘off’ day, there are three different grounding techniques you can try before you start training, or throughout the day, to help refocus and ensure that your lift truck, plant operator , HGV driver or Driver CPC training is efficient and engaging. Different techniques work well for different people, so why not give them all a try?
1. Mental Grounding
The first technique is mental grounding, which unsurprisingly is all about focusing your mind. You can do this in a couple of ways.
- Imagine – Bring to mind a pleasant or comforting mental image. Make it as real in your mind as possible. You could say this is about going to your ‘happy place’.
- Use humour – Take a few minutes to think of something funny or a joke somebody recently told you. This can quickly jolt you out of a negative mood.
2. Physical Grounding
This method is all about focusing your senses to bring you back into the moment and help you focus on the job in hand.
A few examples of physical grounding that are easily achieved in a training environment are to:
- Run cool or cold water over your hands or wrists
- Clench and release your fists, stretch or even jump and down!
- Focus on your breathing, noticing each inhale and exhale
3. Soothing Grounding
This is all about being kind to yourself and giving you a positive experience to counter any negatives, in turn enabling you to concentrate and do your job to the best of your ability.
To do this, you could:
- Think of your favourites – your favourite colour, animal, season, food or even TV programme
- Picture the people you care about and how they make you feel
- Plan a treat for yourself – a snack, a catch up with those you don’t see regularly, or even a nice glass of wine (at the end of a day of training of course!).
How to get started with grounding
2020 hasn’t been the easiest of years. Covid-19 is significantly changing the way we live day-to-day, it’s not surprising that some have been struggling more this year than ever before. It has also presented challenges to Instructors in the workplace, some of whom have had to find new ways to train, using new technologies, some who have had to work hard training keyworkers throughout the pandemic, and others who are working overtime to try and deal with training backlogs and peak season all at the same time.
Whatever the challenge, grounding is a great way to help cope with difficult times and days that might normally push you to your limits. It’s simple, easy to remember how to do it, and doesn’t cost a thing. (Unless you go for the glass of wine option of course!)
Grounding, and other mindfulness techniques, might be new to you. So, don’t worry if it doesn’t seem straight forward or beneficial to begin with, practice, practice, practice! Like any other skill, as you well know, grounding takes practice.
What’s more, don’t leave it too late! Try to start grounding as early as possible when you identify that your mood or concerns are interfering with training. There’s no point trying in the middle of the day when things have already got on top of you and your training has been under par. Make time to do it first thing in the morning and consider implementing grounding into your everyday routine. Start before anger, anxiety or other feelings get out of control.