My encounter with co-development
I discovered the method of Payette and Champagne: The Professional Co-Development Group by ViTi. This is the startup that I joined three years ago. ViTi has developed a platform dedicated to remote codevelopment facilitation. At the beginning, I took part in the discovery sessions organized by the founder.
I’ve had enough of co-development! Two to three sessions per week sometimes! With participants that I did not know. They would log in for an hour and a half to experience codevelopment from a distance.
A remote crush
My first impressions were enthusiastic! Without knowing each other and in a short time, the group, helped by the facilitator, managed to move forward on a subject brought up by a participant and to draw strong lessons from the session.
By dint of sessions, I blocked a little on the part “what I remember for myself from the session”. At the rate of three sessions per week, it was demanding and formative for me to continue to question myself about what I had to learn and improve in my professional practice. When it comes to finding topics, it’s not easy to renew your stock of issues. This allowed me to reason not in terms of problematic (fortunately, sometimes everything is fine!), But in terms of learning.
At each session, I reflected by telling myself “what can I improve in my practice and how to make it understandable for the group”. In the end, I found pleasure, interest and motivation in each of these discovery sessions. I learned to live and relive this process each time different according to the people present, their concerns and their needs.
The big jump
One morning, after about fifty sessions for me as a participant, Jean-Baptiste (founder of ViTi and usual facilitator of these sessions) calls me to tell me “Can you replace me to lead, we have a group listed for discovery that can not postpone “.
Panic on board. So I found myself projected into the important role of the host for the first time, from a distance. I knew the tool well, there wouldn’t be the difficulty. But the animation, the stages, the concern of the group and to bring it to work in all benevolence and responsibility, will I be capable of it?
Feverish, I welcomed everyone “Hello everyone, I am delighted to welcome you for this online co-development session!”. Faithful to the method, and copying what I had observed from Jean-Baptiste for six months, I carried out each of the stages: (presentation of each, choice of subject, presentation of the situation, clarification, request and contract, consultation , commitments, learning). I hung up, out of breath after an hour and a half.
I couldn’t believe it! As usual, the participants expressed their surprise at the quality of the session, the closeness and the confidence they felt, the help in concentration produced by the platform, the feeling of having learned and progressed together, without seeing each other and without knowing each other.
Training: the essential
Enthusiastic, I signed up for the next training session to lead Professional Co-Development Groups. It lasted nine days, including a lot of practice. There were ten of us and I have fond memories of all the sessions we led with the group of learners, acknowledging our mistakes, keen to perfect our practice and bring value to our future codevelopment groups.
On my come-back, I took over the role of facilitator of the discovery sessions. I continued to learn, to have fun, to make rich and motivating encounters, until I was asked for a face-to-face animation with a client. What I had never done before apart from the training where each participant had been able to facilitate to practice. Gloups.
Animate in person and get out of my comfort zone
I was afraid: afraid of losing my means, of being impressed by the ten pairs of eyes fixed on me. Fear of my young age in their eyes, of not being credible and of not being able to gain the group’s confidence, yet a guarantee of the success of the session.
Today, I smile when people I have trained in remote co-development facilitation share these same fears with me when they had their first virtual session. As I understand! I especially understand that it is not so much the modality that destabilizes (face-to-face or distance) as the novelty!
From this first face-to-face session, I learned a lot. Emotions were more muddled than at a distance. I felt a lot of different things. In particular the tension of the group where the participants were at loggerheads. The place of the non-verbal destabilized me at the beginning. At a distance, in fact, it is the para-verbal that takes precedence and that is easier for me to decode.
I have learned to continue no matter what and to trust the method. Indeed, its executives are real benchmarks for moving forward. The participants were very satisfied. For my part, I noticed that the distance allows a distance from others and to refocus on oneself. I think it can be useful in complicated contexts like it was that day for this group.
What I learned from this reverse experience
Today, I am happy to have experienced the opposite of co-development facilitators who start with face-to-face contact before moving on to distance learning when the need for this complementarity arises.
Having learned by distance, I made it my comfort zone. Also, today I can best share with the people I train in remote animation the resources that this requires: how to develop them and rediscover the pleasure of animation.