In my profession, developing others is what I do. Whether it’s development of leaders at the senior level, or managers just beginning their careers. I am responsible for creating an environment that is a safe place to learn. Students can experiment, test theories, and practice what they are learning. In the end, they leave more knowledgeable, more skilled, more confident in their abilities, and if I did my job really well, more aware of who they are as individuals.
So, yes, it’s my job to help my students learn. But it never ceases to amaze me how much I learn in the process. Last week, I taught four days of WIAL action learning certification courses. My students left more skilled in their action learning coaching skills, and I left with new insights. As an action learning coach, and a member of the WIAL board, I am knowledgeable and skilled in the use of action learning. But that doesn’t limit what I can still learn.
So, what did I learn? As always, I’m in awe of the action learning process and how powerful a tool it is. Not only do people solve real, complex problems, but they learn, they develop leadership skills, and together, they become a stronger, more cohesive team. While this was not new learning for me, during our time together questions were asked that I’d never thought of and insights were provided that I hadn’t heard before. All of these required critical thinking and creativity. Together, we created a shared understanding and new learning for all of us. I also learned more about myself as an instructor and facilitator of learning that I will take with me to future engagements. Yes, this teacher learned from her students as much as they learned from her and I hope it will always be so!