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THE MYTH OF THE SHINY HAPPY TRAINER

Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.—African Proverb

 

YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING, I thought to myself. Did that guy just walk out? Every trainer has a list of what they don’t want to have happen in a classroom. A participant storming out was near the top of mine.

He was tall, mid-40s, with bushy eyebrows and a gray beard. He was sitting in the middle of the classroom and in all honesty, I hadn’t really noticed him until then. Now, I’ll never forget him. We were two hours in—25 participants and me—cocooned in a dingy Moscow classroom.

I had begun explaining the theory of interaction when he pushed back his chair, dragging its feet across the cold, tiled floor, and stood up. Hastily pulling on an overcoat—one ...

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