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Action Learning

  /  Action Learning

Solve your leadership dilemmas whilst learning from others

Action Learning provides a safe space in which to share your current leadership challenges and dilemmas and find solutions in partnership with others who are in similar roles or positions.

KP&A have been successfully running public sector and corporate Action Learning groups across the UK for the past 15 years: separate groups for CEOs and C-Suite Leaders, new and aspiring women in leadership, Executive Head Teachers, Heads of Departments, Heads of Service, HR Directors, Deputy Heads and Social Workers.

Action Learning is about solving your complex and difficult leadership problems. It is a powerful adult learning environment where colleagues learn through interaction with each other. Leaders have found that it is useful now and again to take a step back and reflect on what they do, why they do it, whether it serves a useful purpose and how they might do it better. Action Learning encourages an ideal forum for reflecting and acting on issues because it fosters a challenging yet supportive atmosphere for learning and development.


What is Action Learning?

There is no one definition of Action Learning as it is a flexible way of learning. However, there are some essential characteristics:

A well-established, proven method of solving complex and difficult problems through mutual co-operation in a supportive group. It provides an ideal forum for ownership and responsibility for problems and challenges within a friendly and supportive group. Everyone within the group has equal status, equal opportunity to contribute and benefit.

All ideas are welcome within the group and given an airing without being “put down”. Challenge happens constructively, as group members encourage each other to overcome obstacles. It is a safe way to challenge the thinking of others and have your own thinking challenged in return – without offence being given or taken. This can be particularly productive for those who have reached positions within an organisation where you are seeking to influence others, or where colleagues may find it difficult to challenge you towards achieving your potential.

Self-managed learning is a high value and cost-effective way of learning – in this setting one can look at real issues to do with work, career and life. It’s a way of learning a lot about yourself, at a much deeper level than mere training courses allow. It is also different to other group solving methods, or simply learning by doing, because it focuses on mutual challenging enquiry, from those you respect as colleagues.

Typically, a group of 6-8 people meet together regularly to attack problems of concern to group members. The first set of meetings are facilitated by an independent facilitator, expert in the process of Action Learning. Groups may continue without facilitation once well established, but many prefer to retain this help. There are a regular series of meetings where thoughts and ideas are discussed and challenged in an atmosphere of trust and confidentiality.

At the end of each session, group members each make a commitment to achieving or solving something before the group next meets. A between-meetings mid-point ‘momentum’ phone call between the facilitator and each group member will be arranged to offer support and coaching.


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