27 March 2020

In my experience, what you get out of the Edinburgh Award largely depends on the effort you put into it. Here are the areas of the award that have benefitted me the most.
Students listening to discussion in seminar room | Photo by David P. Scott

Coaching

The Edinburgh Award is wrapped around a variety of activities. Personally, I found 1-to-1 coaching probably the most helpful and effective way to get advice on my personal growth. We are allowed, or even encouraged, to dominate the conversation in a completely safe and open environment.

More often than not, I would do some preparation for the conversation, such as organising my confused mind beforehand and identifying the problem that worries me most. By doing so, I was able to form a reasonable expectation of the conversation and obtain targeted and differentiated feedback from my coach, which truly helped to direct my future efforts.

A great deal of benefits can be derived from proper use of our coach's expertise and getting a fresh perspective on our own circumstances. A coach works like an onlooker who can observe the situation we are stuck in more objectively than we can ourselves.

Reflective Journals

The heart of the Edinburgh Award lies in reflective learning. I didn't realise that reflection was such a key component in developing skills until I was forced to write reflective journals. This confirms the saying: you never know until you try it for the first time.

Now when I sit in front of my laptop and reflect on what I've done to develop a skill—how much progress I've made, where there is room for improvement, and what else I can do in the future—I consider it a wonderful opportunity to review my past behaviour and assess myself. The alternative is to carry on doing things as I have always done them without being aware of their existence.

From my experience, reflection is a process that requires patience and persistence, by which I mean it might take a few months to start to notice small improvements. I suppose this explains why we were asked to write a reflection journal at each new stage of the programme. The three reflection journals we wrote for the Edinburgh Award actually record our growth and track the journey of our learning.

Online Resources

There are a bunch of great resources the School has access to, including LinkedIn Learning, My Development Hub and so on which perfectly complement our skills development as they usually cover a range of skills and provide much more in-depth perspectives. A full exploitation of these online resources will definitely be of benefit. Loads of fresh ideas and insights available online can help us avoid detours on the road to our goals.

The benefits of the Award may vary from person to person. As someone who has benefitted greatly from it I can only say the Award is a great opportunity. So take it, make full use of it, and enjoy your unexpected achievements!

Zixuan (Julie) Zeng, Marketing and Business Analysis