People always notice how passionate I am about action learning. It’s true. Since being introduced to it in 2005, I have been entranced by its power to impact change and improve organizations.
My initial interest in it, as I’ve told countless audiences, was its central focus on asking questions. As a child of New England, we were taught not to ask questions, not to pry, to be seen and not heard. As an adult trying to function in the business world, I was not equipped with the ability to ask questions. So, action learning became a route for me to change this.
And, it’s worked! As a coach now, asking questions is central to my work. Whether I’m working with a group or an individual, knowing how to ask questions to encourage participation or tease out thoughts and ideas, questions are the vehicle that make it happen.
And, action learning is much more than just asking questions. It is a powerful organization development tool that can:
- Build leadership capacity. Show me a leadership competency and I’ll show you a skill that requires asking questions.
- Break down silos. The process of action learning, bringing together people from diverse areas of an organization, allows them to learn about and from one another, leaving with a better understanding of one another.
- Solves problems. The objective of action learning is to solve real, urgent problems, and I’ve seen this happen time and again. Whether it’s a personality issue between team mates, an organization struggling to reach its goals, or a business trying to capitalize on an opportunity. Action learning addresses all of these
- Bring together people in a safe, trusting environment where they can learn to respect and work with one another.
I’ve seen amazing outcomes from teams working with action learning. From the leader who realized they were the problem, to the organization that wanted to transform how their leadership team interacted, to an organization that wanted to transform their culture. Each achieved their goal through action learning.
For more information about action learning, its origins and how it’s used all over the globe, check out WIAL’s website HERE.
In two weeks, I’ll be certifying a new group of action learning coaches here in Seattle. I love empowering others with this wonderful skill, knowing that the organizations they touch will be enhanced through the power of action learning. If you’re interested in joining the group, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206.658.7919. For more information, check out http://www.andreacoleconsulting.com/action-learning-certification.html
Andrea Cole is a Senior Action Learning Coach, career and entrepreneur coach living and working in Seattle, WA. More information can be found at http://www.andreacoleconsulting.com.