Questions really do make all the difference

I had the opportunity to meet with other action learning professionals. Even though I’ve been coaching action learning for more than 7 years, served on the WIAL board of directors for almost that long, and have worked with countless people, I am still in awe when I hear other practitioners share their stories. The seemingly boundless potential that action learning provides is astounding.

You see, action learning at its core, is a problem solving tool that uses appreciative inquiry to get to the root cause of the presenting problem. It delves deeper than people usually do when faced with a ‘big hairy’ problem. And it’s not a ‘package’ that someone delivers and then fades away. No, the various elements of action learning teach people to engage and converse differently – through questions, not statements or assumptions.

It builds teams by helping participants first work together in a respectful and thoughtful way, but also because everyone is included. Everyone’s opinion counts. Everyone has the opportunity to share knowledge.

It breaks down silos and increases systems think because its power is in bringing together people with different backgrounds and perspectives. Through the problem solving, people work cross-functionally with others and gain trust and respect with those often thought of as ‘them’.

And finally, it’s a powerful leadership tool, used by organizations around the world to enhance the leadership skills of their employees. I’ve worked with these organizations and seen, first hand, the difference it can makes in the development of a leader. They learn to seek others opinions and not simply rely on their own knowledge. They learn to question assumptions and long standing ‘unwritten rules’.

It’s no wonder this is one of my passions. My goal in my work, as well as life, is to help people reach their dreams. Action learning allows me to help individuals, who then strengthen their organizations.

I can’t wait for my next engagement!


About Andrea Cole

Four years ago, I followed my dreams and my heart by quitting my job, selling my home, and moving myself back to Seattle from Washington, DC. I didn't know how things would turn out, but I knew whatever life held in store for me, it was going to be in Seattle. And what a ride it has been! I now help others live their lives through rewarding career and meaningful retirement coaching. My website is
This entry was posted in action learning, adult learning, career, coaching, development, education, leadership, mentoring, passion, questions, teaching. Bookmark the permalink.

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