We use the IACRCv skill development model as a tool to help us assess where we are on our skill acquisition path. It provides a simple yet flexible approach that can be used for both self-assessments and more formal evaluations.
These are the steps along with the implications for guiding:
Initiation: this is the first introduction to a skill. Guides at this stage can assist other guides but are not ready to lead on their own.
Acquisition: the guiding is still mechanical and inconsistent but the key components are executed properly. Guides at this stage can guide simple tours on their own, following a detailed itinerary with scripted stories.
Consolidation: the guiding starts to have a more natural rhythm and flow but is still inconsistent under pressure. Guides at this stage can guide more complex tours following a detailed itinerary or simpler tours with a more general itinerary.
Refinement: the guiding is consistent, even under pressure and the guide can facilitate an established tour without relying on a detailed itinerary.
Creative Variations: the guiding reflects a personal style that can be performed in a variety of conditions. Guides at this stage can adapt tours in unexpected situations in a way that feels seamless to the participants.
Keep in mind that as guides we can be at various stages of skill development for various tours or competencies.
Adventure tourism happens in an open environment and requires customization based on the guests. That’s why we prefer a model that aims toward guides gaining the skills required to adapt to unexpected situations rather than one that is focused on refinement as the end goal.