Action Learning Set/Peer Advisory Group
Action Learning Sets are useful to help retain the knowledge and practical gain a leadership workshop or coaching has provided. They further develop the participant´s competencies to deal with their daily challenges, to listen, to reflect back and to ask powerful questions, therefore enhancing their communication competency. The framework for their discussions is provided by a set process that is to be followed during the session.
In an Action Learning Set participants are able to raise sensitive issues, reflect difficult questions and find new solutions in a supportive and confidential environment. Learnings are shared and valued.
Three different roles define Action Learning/Peer Advise: a person presenting an issue to the group to be worked on (client/process owner), expert group and facilitator. The process owner presents his issue, which is being analysed and worked on by the experts. A variety of solutions or ways to tackle the issue are found in a brainstorming. The process owner chooses some ideas to put into practice and commits to the next steps. The facilitator holds the structure and notes all ideas and input of the group during the process. He is responsible for the group following the rules and staying focussed on the task.
Three levels of learning are provided by the process. The first level deals with the presented issue, the expert group finds ideas, solutions and valuable insights around the client´s/process owner´s question. The second level adds to the expert groups experience - they gather tips and information for dealing with similar situations in their own work environment. The third level refers to the consulting competencies of the participants. They all refine methods such as Systemic Questions, Active Listening, feedback and the creation of hypothesis. The structured process provides the framework to stop our spontaneous reaction to immediately offer a solution we think is the correct one. Instead of jumping to conclusions the participants train to analyse, build various hypothesis and make sure they understand each others point of view. These are competencies which can also be valuable in their daily work.
As a facilitator I support the group in two ways: I have to make sure the process is followed through all the steps, and I help develop the competencies by reflecting back and giving feedback. When appropriate, I add some theoretical input.
Usually Active Learning Sets/Peer Advisory Groups meet every 4-8 weeks for two hours. Ideally there are 4 - 9 participants.