It was a rainy day.
Just two days before the Training of Trainers (ToT) workshop, I was informed by my HR at Ufone that I have been selected for this training. The management thought that my communication ability, especially the coaching skills, could be utilised internally to train, develop and groom resources as an additional assignment for me, so I should attend this training to further enhance my skills.
I did have a bit of experience of training the sales channel with my previous employer, the then Paktel Ltd, as a sales manager, but I never thought I could do it in a better way. Rather I would say I considered myself an average trainer who should be considered only as a backup or assistant in training programs.
I had heard about the popularity of Wali Zahid then as an outstanding trainer from British Council. Some of my senior colleagues and friends have had experience of attending his workshops and majority of them had commented that unlike many other top trainers at that time who did have some sort of attitude issue, Wali had a soft and pleasant personality.
A parallel script was running in my mind: I was a bit confused on how a person with such a soft and humble personality could train the potential trainers for an intensive TOT program which, as per my perception at that point of time, should be facilitated by someone who somehow should have a dominating personality and drive the show with an utmost serious attitude and only focus on the content so that the objectives of TOT could be well achieved in a short three-day training session.
While driving to the training venue on April 16 morning, I was not sure whether I would be able to really benefit from this intensive training program or it would turn out to be a traditional company-sponsored training session whereby a participant, especially a sales manager like me, relaxes out of his over-hectic daily work schedule, and spends the whole day in interaction and networking and carries a heavy training manual back home with a commitment towards the trainer that he/she will revise all contents and implement what he/she has learnt.
I was a bit late in the session and a bit hesitant too but Wali welcomed me a warm smile. I didn’t find any sign of irritation and this was the first surprise for me. And then, trust me, I don’t know how my three days of training started and how they came to an end. His charismatic personality, the way he pays attention to minor details and encourages each and every participant to express themselves was exemplary.
He instantly noticed a few gestures of mine when I couldn’t understand a few concepts and he rephrased it for me in a simple manner, ensuring that none of the other participants could notice it; rather, they feel as if it’s a revision.
I enjoyed each and every moment of the three-day training session. I not only learnt a lot there in a true sense but also have retained a lot as we speak.
Wali broke two long-held myths about successful trainers: one, they don’t need to come with an attitude or domineering personality; two, they CAN be sensitive to each learner’s needs, creating what we know today ‘mass customisation’.
Since the TOT, by the grace of Allah, I conducted several workshops. These were TOT’s for NGO sector or public-run workshops on stress management or communication skills or even teaching subjects like leadership and communication skills at local universities being an adjunct faculty member.
I can proclaim that whatsoever training sessions I have had conducted thus far it was always Wali Zahid’s training style and his taught lessons which drove me and helped me give my best output up to the satisfaction of the target audience and a client.
Thank you Wali Zahid for the excellent coaching. I feel privileged to have been your trainee. God bless you!
Dr Asim Awan | Training of Trainers | 16-18 April 2006 | Islamabad Marriott
Dr. Asim Ahmed Awan is Director Key Accounts (Asia-Pac) IBEX Group of Companies (UAE), a multinational technology & VAS company, with HQ in UAE, footprints in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Suleimanya (Iraq) and Kenya. Actively involved in social welfare, a member of Rotary Club (Rotary International).
Asim is based in Islamabad and look after the business and operations in Asia Pacific Region. Born in Libya. B.Sc, M.B.,B.S, E.M.B.A. Ex-Employers: Pharmacia & UpJohn, Amson Vaccines & Pharma, Paktel & Ufone. 14+ years of experience in pharmaceuticals and telecoms.
Trainer in Stress Management & Communication Skills. Adjunct faculty at a few Islamabad universities. In 2011, Asim was a course facilitator on ‘leadership and team building’ for ‘Business Management Certification’ program, a joint venture of Sanofi-Aventis and IBA Karachi for employees of Sanofi-Aventis.