With special thanks to Rick Macpherson for sharing his story

Imagine my surprise when the rationale behind Rick’s decision to become a facilitator became clear, a parking space. A symbolic analogy of course, but one that helped me to understand his reasons for wanting to pause and reflect, to consider where he was in his professional life and whether he was ready for a new challenge.

Let me explain.

Rick found he had been parking in the same space at work for 12 years. He had walked the same route to and from his car every day, comforted by a routine that was familiar and safe. His professional life felt somewhat similar. Still driven and enthused by his love for teaching, Rick simply felt he wanted a change, a new challenge that would stimulate a passion for something different. Interestingly, his journey to becoming a facilitator was not pre-planned or even expected. It was driven by a willingness to explore beyond his comfort zone, to keep an open mind about opportunities that presented themselves and experience the joy of building relationships with colleagues across the Trust.

It was clear from our conversation that Rick’s enthusiasm for facilitation stems from the opportunity to learn as much from his colleagues as they would from him. His genuine care and passion for supporting delegates and helping them realise their potential was evident. He described it as an honour, to be able to provide a safe space for colleagues in a way that can positively shape their own thinking and self-belief. Perhaps the statement I have directly quoted below sums it up perfectly, “People put their trust in you to help them grow. I find that a real privilege”.

The impact of Rick’s facilitation journey has been quite profound. He has enjoyed success in becoming an advanced facilitator and is very open to the idea of developing his skills further. Being able to commit to both teaching and facilitation has been a sheer joy for Rick, who feels ‘the more you learn about something new, the more interesting it becomes’. Yes, he admits that time (or the apparent lack of it) can be viewed as an obstacle but certainly, not in his case. The time he has given to develop his facilitation skills has only served to complement his teaching and reinvigorate his professional life.

Rick’s favourite programmes to facilitate are the Creative Teacher Programme and Olevi Train the Trainer. Both offer the opportunity to engage participants in a deeper level of thinking but at varying degrees of intensity. Such contrast provides Rick with enough interest and intrigue to continue as a facilitator, despite the ongoing pressures that many professionals face in and outside the classroom.

When asked for his final thoughts on facilitation, Rick was clear on what his journey had taught him. That it’s not about trying to be like someone else, it’s about finding your own way and realising that you have something unique and extraordinary to offer. Sometimes the smallest change can have the biggest impact, leading you down a path that is as much about self-discovery as it is about learning something new. Rick was brave enough to change his parking space and discovered a passion for facilitating. His journey since has been remarkable. I wonder if you would consider doing the same.

Written by Emma Hudson-Cave, BSc Hons