I don't think I'm overstating things when I say that the caba courses I attended had a profound effect on me. Not only did they change my attitude to my work, they genuinely made me feel better about my life too.
About 8 years ago I was working in a small hedge fund. Although my employers were supportive of training in principle, they were simply not big enough to offer much training at a senior level. I was feeling quite stressed at the time, and I've always been interested in self-development, so I had a look at the caba courses.
I was pleased to see that the courses were less about learning particular regulatory details or picking up IT skills, and instead focused on mindset and a person's ability to challenge their own patterns of behaviour. It was exactly what I needed.
I felt that there was quite a bit of stress in my life, I had a lot of weight on my shoulders as I was in the process of building a team. I also felt that perhaps the way I was going about things wasn't the most time-effective. I was working day and night yet still not achieving what I felt I should be. I kept thinking 'What am I doing wrong?' Looking back, I'd say that my inner voice was quite critical - I was focusing on what wasn't working out and being quite hard on myself about it.
I went on a range of caba courses and found them to be of a very high standard. One of the things I valued was the other delegates. Because it's just chartered accountants, we all spoke a common language. There were a lot of people in the same boat as me, and actually, some were struggling more than I was. The courses cover a lot of different topics - from time management to mindfulness. As I moved through the courses I rapidly realised that I had been dealing with a completely unrealistic workload. I learnt to accept that I couldn't do everything, but I got a lot more adept at prioritising.
I've taken a lot from the courses. I'd say that I've always been a reasonably confident person, but I have now become more secure not only about what I do know, but what I don't know. I'm happier dealing with - and expressing - uncertainty. No one can possibly know everything - you just need to have the right attitude to finding out.
The caba courses have encouraged me to build a solution-focused culture within my team. We treat success and failure in the same way - look at it, learn from it, move onto the next thing.
I'd recommend the caba courses to anyone who is interested in taking a fresh look at their situation and thinking differently. The course trainers are really interesting, they share a lot of great information but they're also able to respond to individual needs. And because they're all free to ICAEW members, they're very easy to organise. All you're asking your employer for is time out of the office, and they will see real results. I'd say about half the chartered accountants in my firm have been on at least one caba course. The value is plain to see.
*Some personal details of this client have been changed to protect their identity
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