By Carmel Vandermolen
This is a story of two people who live over 2000 kilometres from each other, but despite the distance have become very important ‘critical friends’ in both a personal manner and as Partnership Brokers. These two critical friends have both had to deal with the challenges of post PBAS – the Partnership Brokers Accreditation Scheme which is the Level 2 option for practitioners seeking accreditation
This journey starts in September of 2010 when these two critical friends meet for the first time while attending the Level 1 training, and like many before them had a whole new world open up to them. Now for everyone who has been lucky enough to participate in the Level 1 training you will know that part of the program is to set you up with a critical friend to support you in reviewing your action plans developed during the training for implementation upon return to your work. While neither of these critical friends was purposefully set up in the training, the connection that was made meant that it happened anyway.
These critical friends have since completed PBAS Level 2 training, one at the end of 2010, and the other at the start of 2011. The PBAS Level 2 training comes with a very knowledgeable and supportive mentor who helps you question and improve your skills in the area of partnership broking. Over the three month period of PBAS the connection made with the mentor and the support that is provided goes a long way to improving both your skills and confidence. And then comes that black hole at the end of the three months when the training finishes and you no longer have access to the wonderful mentor and the big question of “how do I keep up the important practices that I have developed and implemented in the last three months?”
One of these important practices is the development and use of a log book that helps you to identify patterns and supports you to evaluate your own skills. What is improving?, where could I improve?, what went wrong that time? All the important reflective practice skills put into a format that can help you to expand your brokering skills. After getting used to having to write up and submit a log book, now you have no need to for a training purpose, but for a growth purpose and to continually learn and improve there is every need. But life gets busy, you skip a week, you have more meetings this week than you can handle, you skip another week of the log book. Soon you realise that you have not used it for over a month, and then it is so much harder to get back into it even though you know how beneficial it is for both yourself and the partnership(s) that you are involved with.
Then comes another important teleconference with your critical friend, and a discussion that is focused on the same issue, how to deal with the challenge of maintaining your reflective practice after completing PBAS! In the discussion between the critical friends an idea forms, and then the idea turns into action. The idea is in the form of reporting to each other at the end of each month, in just one page, of the challenges and successes faced in that month. The information should come from your log book that you have kept over that month. No longer do you have your mentor from the Level 2 training, but you do have each other and a commitment to each other to be the best you can be. And to be that important someone in another’s partnership life that can be that support for both the good and bad times, for the frustrations and the highlights when it all goes right.
The role of a critical friend can never be overlooked, and in meeting the challenges of post PBAS Level 2 it can be essential in making sure you get the best out of the training you have just completed.
Carmel says thank goodness I have Roxanne as Roxanne says thank goodness I have Carmel.
To be continued….