Action Learning – facilitated peer coaching

A trusting exchange of knowledge and experience, and joint reflection

At conferences and workshops, we notice again and again how participants seem most eager to have an exchange of experiences with each other and are looking for peer advice. Most of the time, however, little or no time is planned in around these events for such peer exchange to take place. Here Action Learning, a facilitated and confidential peer consulting approach, can be a welcome solution. 

Action Learning ist a facilitated, supportive peer coaching that is all about a trusting exchange of knowledge and experience and joint reflection. Openness and trust, respect, mutual learning and joint creation of the coaching process are key elements of Action Learning. 

An Action Learning group typically has six members and a facilitator.

Each session starts with a catch-up phaseduring which group members share their current news or just let the others know how they are currently doing.

The catch-up phase is followed by some members putting in own bids for help with issues they would like to talk through. In one Action Learning session, typically more than one person will bring her/his topic to the group.

An issue holder then shares her or his issue, for about five minutes. After that, the other participants will ask questions for clarification only.

After that, group members can:

o   Ask open questions

o   Offer feedback

o   Challenge and support

o   Offer suggestions

o   Offer theories and ideas

o   Offer advice

One Action Learning round typically lasts about one hour (sometimes a bit shorter, sometimes a bit longer). Several issue holders can each get an Action Learning ‘round’ during one session/day.

After an Action Learning session/day, group members go back into their organizations and experiment further with the topic they talked about, the consulting they received, and own new understanding and insights. 

They meet again after six weeks – altogether about four to six times — to share learning experiences, and to start another round of talking through learning and development issues.

Audio Action Learning – trustful exchange via telephone

Instead of meeting face to face, Action Learning can also effectively take place via telephone, as ‘Audio Action Learning’.

An Audio Action Learning call typically lasts 2.5, 3 or 4 hours on the phone, as previously agreed by group members, including a break. That might sound long, but time actually passes quickly in this trusting exchange.

The group facilitator will pay particular attention to the dynamics of a virtual group, will support group members with maintaining good presence in the virtual space, and will help create and maintain an atmosphere of mutual trust and confidentiality in the virtual space. 

Audio Action Learning offers itself especially in times of budget constraints or when additional travel is a challenge.