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Review back, feed forward

On Sunday, I drove to the South end of Loch Lubnaig to meet and guide a group of people up Ben Ledi. I was working as an ML (Mountain Leader) for the day, on behalf of Abernethy, and the group were 4 people who had signed up to do the walk with the charity Christian Aid.

It was a pilgrimage of sorts, to raise awareness and some money for the refugee crisis in the country.

We stopped at a few points throughout the afternoon to read a short paragraph and contemplate its challenges. The path is well maintained on the main route to the summit, and it must be that the majority of summiters turn around and descend via the same track. I say this because, once we were past the summit and on our way down to Glen Stank, the footpath was, well, not as major.

On our ascent we had walked up into the wind and cloud, and stopped for extra layers and some food, and now we were on our way down the four people in my group were relying on me to find a safe and manageable route off of this mountain despite the cloud and poor visibility.

We made it! The walk out through the woods and by the streams was beautiful and a lovely end to the day. It was great to spend a day in the hills, using my qualifications and conversing with four other Christian adults about a variety of topics.

On Monday I was on a centre day, meaning, I’m in work but not on sessions. This was handy as I was coordinating for the group we had in this past week. As a coordinator, you are the main point of contact for the group and liaise with them frequently to make sure everything is going to plan.

I spent the morning preparing for their arrival, printing out the relevant paperwork and putting it in all the places it needed to go. When the group arrived, the plan was to let them have lunch, move bags to bedrooms, say hello and send them out on sessions as quickly as possible.

On the way to the gorge on Thursday, Phil and I were talking about feedback. We were discussing a recent instructor meeting where Dave W had said that we should ask for feedback more often, but not get sucked into the expectation that the person watching you will only tell you what you did well and pat you on the back.

Instead feedback is more about pros and cons, looking at the whole picture. Praising the good, but pointing out the bad and areas to improve too.

Phil said that he had heard recently feedback being renamed to feed forward, as that was a more apt phrase, more inline with what should be happening.

It’s a simple idea – with someone who was watching you, review back your performance and discuss the good, the bad and the ugly.

Then you use that information to feed forward and create a plan and action points to grow and develop in the areas you need to. This could be a little polish or a complete change of tactics.

Either way, with regular input from others we should, as individuals and as a team, become better at our jobs, being both encouraged and always improving.

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