"A charismatic and creative trainer who encouraged everyone to take part." Essential Collaboration

Greetings one and all,

Wow, it’s scorcher out there and no mistaking. We dear old Brits are not used to this, don’t worry though, we’ll be moaning about the cold soon enough, so I’m just getting on with it.

Last week I was wall to wall training with various training courses. I’ll be posting about the murder mystery event later… Seriously the funniest day ever! Plus 90% of the staff guessed correctly.

Tuesday and Wednesday I was working alongside the troops from Birmingham City Council (BCC), delivering my ‘Essential Collaboration’ course and I really think I’ve hit onto something really special here. The feedback has been some of the best I have EVER received and it’s incredibly rewarding knowing that the staff recognise how much time and effort I have put into their bespoke training.

The day’s training is based on my research and anecdotal interviews with staff from BCC. I think the managers who attend the training enjoy hearing their voices and the voices of their peers, especially as BCC have been at the forefront of listening to staff and not only listening but acting on their needs and wishes for a more collaborative council.

Sian, who attended the training was concerned about joining in with the group activities. Sian is on the autistic spectrum and this can mean she sometimes experiences communication difficulties. As you can see from her feedback, which I have included below, she was especially grateful to my approach and how I tailored the training to her needs. Those thirteen years in education really haven’t gone amiss.

Here are Sian’s words along with the other learners who attended the training. As you can see it’s 100% positive feedback and certainly leaves me knowing that what I’m devising and delivering is both gratifying for me and more importantly rewarding for the staff at BCC.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the training today, which left me feeling included, engaged in developing my knowledge further and like I had added some skills and improvements to my “management arsenal”.

Steven was welcoming, enthusiastic and it was clear he captured everyone with the way he delivered this collaborative working session. It was great to have so much interaction in a session. I say this as a person with neurodiversity who would normally fear and shy away from workshop interaction due to a lack of social skills.

I felt that I could answer questions in the group setting comfortably, with no worries regarding humiliation for being “wrong”. As someone that often struggles with this particular subject matter, the workshop was of huge benefit to me and really helped me improve my skillset, which will benefit others as I continue my career journey going forwards.

Steven’s passion and knowledge became obvious from the outset and the amount of effort put into the training materials was really appreciated. I had made a note of Steven’s name within the first two hours to ask my line manager if we could consider booking him for a session for a team, I work with who have struggled with team dynamics and low morale for years, where nothing has worked.

I always feel when I am completing any course or workshop that the best kind is one where I don’t even have to consciously attempt to learn or absorb information; only on reflection do I realise how much knowledge or the skills I have been given. I believe that is certainly true here.

Thank you ever so much Steven for an informative, thorough and brilliant session, you have left me with some food for thought and an appetite for more knowledge!”


“Very enjoyable learning session with a charismatic and creative trainer who encouraged everyone to take part and contribute via a flurry of interactive breakout rooms. Learning was broken down into manageable segments. Content was infused with the right amount of humour to make it interesting and encouraged conversation beyond the superficial to enable a variety of perspectives and insights from a spectrum of attendees from across Birmingham City Council. Informative and fun. Many thanks.”


“I enjoyed that we had tasks to do, some workshops are just a presentation and that can get very dull very fast. Steven was very good at bringing us back to attention when we came back from the breakout rooms, he would almost shout to snap us back into concentration mode which was good. The session was very interactive which I enjoyed, I would attend another workshop like this again! Thank you.”


“Really enjoyed today’s session – in relation to the practicalities of the day, there were well timed breaks throughout the day. The way in which the breakout rooms worked was excellent, very smooth transition from one task to another. Got the opportunity to work with different people from the group, which I enjoyed. The handouts were excellent, and I really enjoyed the videos which were used throughout the day. In relation to what I learnt – having the opportunity to work through a feedback model (D.E.S.C) was very useful and one which I will be added to my toolbox. Learning more about the 5 stages of collaborative working was also extremely useful. It’s important to me that I am aware of the range of methods which can be used to work with people in a more effective manner, today’s session provided me with the opportunity of not only learning a method, but also using it in a practical way. So, pleased no ‘role playing!! Loved how the session ended with mediation – refreshed me to begin to catch up with messages and prepare for tomorrow. Many thanks again for an informative, reflective, and most enjoyable!!”


“Great session with a lot of engagement via breakout rooms. I liked that the breakouts contained different people in the group so that we all got a chance to work together. Steven is very knowledgeable and friendly and allowed the group to be open and honest. I liked the way Steven made sure that each person participated by way of directing who would answer certain questions, this stopped it being the same people that were always talking/ presenting group answers. Overall very friendly and informative session and I would happily have training with Steven again.”


“Excellent course, made me think about how I could manage myself and others especially in difficult situations in a positive way.”


“I really enjoyed the session today – at the start of the session I thought I didn’t need any more training in this area however I thoroughly enjoyed today. The trainer was really engaging and informed. I learnt a lot that I will be taking back to my work area. I enjoyed being with different working groups and also the interactive videos rather than a death by PowerPoint slide. The slides were creative which I enjoyed too. I was engaged all day – despite the blistering hot 30 Degree day we had!”


“Very informative, well-paced session. Enjoyed the mixture of break out activities.”


“Five stars!”


“This was a great session with Steven with lots of group exercises that embedded the learning. We within BCC have a greater need to work collaboratively now that most work from a home environment. TEAM’s has provided a great platform to keep everyone connected and to work as best as possible to an “office” feeling environment. I’ve learnt a lot and will be utilising these new techniques in my day-to-day work as well as my personal life”


“Good variety in the workshop content– videos to demonstrate scenarios, practical exercises to put knowledge into practice, use of breakout rooms to encourage collaboration and interaction. Presenter delivered with enthusiasm and humour. Reading list in presentation useful for those interested in personal development. Preparation of resources in advance of practical exercises in breakout rooms is useful.”


“Having the group work kept the training engaging. The day didn’t drag like some all-day training sessions, thank you for that.”


“There was a lot of food for thought and tips and tricks I can apply to improve my practice and our team culture. It was a long session but very interactive to keep it interesting and reinforce learning and the videos were very entertaining as well as good learning tools. Thank you!”


“Steven is very knowledgeable about his subject matter and manages to keep his learners engaged throughout the whole training session/day.”